Economic Botany

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 214-231

First online:

Catnip and the catnip response

  • Arthur O. TuckerAffiliated withDepartment of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Delaware State College
  • , Sharon S. TuckerAffiliated withParallel Program, University of Delaware, Delaware Technical and Community College

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Fourteen chemical compounds from diverse biological sources elicit a unique pattern of behavior in most species of the family Felidae. These chemicals may be grouped into 7-methylcyclopentapyranones, 7-methyl-2-pyrindines, and 4-methylbenzofuranones. They may function as either hallucinogens or cross-react with naturally occurring social odors.