Cat owners very well know how catnips affect their companion animals.

Catnip is a perennial herb from the mint family labiatae. It has an active ingredient called nepetalactone that is an essential oil which alters the behavior of domestic and other cat species.

A cat’s typical response includes sniffing, chewing, licking, head shaking, followed by body rubbing. They may also be stretching, drooling, jumping, licking, and hyperactivity. The “high” will usually last between five to ten minutes.

An international team of researchers studied the effects of catnip and newly found that a more potent herb found in the mountains of Japan and China ward off mosquitoes.

Masao Miyazaki, a professor at Japan’s Iwate University and senior author of the paper, told AFP in an interview that he and his colleagues applied for a patent to develop an insect repellant based on their findings.

They found that fewer mosquitoes landed on cats that engaged with that sort of catnips.

They wrote that it was an example of “how animals use plant metabolites for protection against insect pests” which is seen for example with some bird species that rub citrus fruits against themselves.

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