If you are lucky enough to have a cat this is what you should know. There are a few plants that drive these cats crazy. How does the drug work on cats? It’s about catnip and silver vine. They exert a strong attraction on these cats. They rub against the leaves and bite them voraciously, which gives the animals a state of incredible euphoria. But there is a practical sense in rubbing your fur against these herbs that goes beyond the psychotropic effects. Japanese and British researchers have found it to be an excellent mosquito repellent.
“The first appearance of the silver vine was pursued as a magnet for cats. It’s in Japanese literature. It dates back more than 300 years. An 1859 ukiyo-e (Japanese print) shows a group of mice trying to tempt some cats. As? With a silver smell of wine, ”says Masao Miyazaki. It belongs to the University of Iwate, the head of the research project.
The group analyzed nepetalactol, a substance found in the silver vine. They say it induces the characteristic behavior of cats in front of these herbs more strongly. “We use Nepetalactol on paper filters. We tested 18 laboratory cats and 17 wild cats. We have come to the conclusion that nepetalactol is responsible for the typical reaction of cats to silver vines, ”explains Reiko Uenoyama. She is the lead author of the article published in Science Advances.
There is a second important finding. They hypothesized that the plant activates the opioid system in cats. ‘We tested the endorphin levels before and after the nepetalactol-induced response in cat blood. The silver vine activates the nervous system, which is responsible for the euphoric reaction, ”says Miyazaki.
Nepetalactol repels mosquitoes. This could indicate that cats are deliberately rubbing against plants to transfer the substance to their fur. To check this, they placed paper filters containing this substance in different parts of the cat’s cage. The cats rubbed their faces and heads against the paper no matter where it was. This apparently explains the friction behavior in cat fur. Researchers believe this plant helps cats defend themselves against mosquitoes. And maybe against parasitic viruses and insects.
Knowing how the cat medication works is the first step. Now the team wants to identify the gene that is responsible for this reaction. You want to understand why it is limited to cats rather than other animals. In his view, the results of this study can be used in a variety of applications. Including the development of new mosquito repellent products.