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Duration:05:24
Uploaded:2016-03-04
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Jessi experiments with catnip! See what a cat, a skunk, foxes, and a mink do when they smell catnip.

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Hi guys, welcome back to Animal Wonders!

Have you heard of catnip? You know, that stuff that makes cats go crazy? Well, I have some, and I thought it'd be fun to give some to the animals and see what they do!

(intro)

Whenever you're giving something new to an animal, you should do some research to make sure that it's safe. I've already done my research, and we can talk more about that later in the video, but let's jump right to the experiment itself.

Okay, first, let's give some to Kiki the cat. She's a cat! It's catnip! This should be pretty good.


Okay, that was pretty cool. Kiki obviously enjoyed the catnip, but I wonder if any of the other animals would like it too.

Let's try Lollipop. Lollipop is a striped skunk. She doesn't belong to the cat family, so let's see what she does with catnip.


Huh. She was interested in smelling it, but she didn't have the same reaction that Kiki the cat did, kind of rubbing all over it. Let's try a different product. How about some fresh catnip? Let's see what she does with that.


That was pretty cool. She seemed more interested in that than she did the dry product, but I know Lollipop, and I know that she likes digging in dirt, so I think it was more digging in the dirt that got her interested than the actual catnip.

Alright, I'm gonna put Lollipop back to bed, and let's try another animal.

Alright, I want to see if the foxes like it. You know, foxes are most closely related to dogs, but a lot of people think they have certain cat-like qualities. So, let's see what they do when I put some catnip oil on their shelves.


So, they smelled, it, and they knew it was there, but they didn't really seem to care. So I tried some fresh catnip, and the same thing, they didn't really care. Maybe we need another obligate carnivore like cats.

Obligate carnivores are not omnivores like skunks and foxes. Obligate carnivores eat only meat.

This is Frasier, the American mink. He's an obligate carnivore just like cats, so maybe he'll have the same reaction. I'm not able to work Frasier free contact yet, so we're going to have to film through the bars, but we can still see if he reacts to the catnip.

I'm going to crush the fresh catnip between my fingers and see if he likes the smell.


So, he didn't really care about the fresh catnip. But he does really like toys, so maybe if he gets a closer interaction with the catnip, he'll have more of a reaction. This is a toy that a supporter got us from our Amazon wish list. It is filled with catnip. Let's see what he does.


Alright, so he obviously loved that toy, but I don't think he was actually reacting to the catnip. I think he was just biting into it because it felt really good to bite into something like that.

You can see that he liked his other toy just as much, so I don't think he's reacting to the catnip at all.

So, what does this mean? Let's take a closer look at catnip. What is catnip? Why do cats react to it the way they do? And why don't other animals react the same way?

Catnip is the common name for Nepeta cataria. It's native to Europe, parts of Asia and Africa, and is part of the mint group. The minty smell attracts and affects cats due to a chemical called nepetalactone.

Interestingly, not every cat reacts to it. About seventy to eighty percent of them exhibit the odd behavior.

Scientists don't know exactly why they react to it, but they have done specific studies to see what is going on. The nepetalactone chemical enters the cats nasal passage and seems to bind to protein receptors that stimulate sensory neurons. The sensory neurons then create a response from the neurons in the olfactory bulb. This response is projected to two parts of the brain: the amygdala and the hypothalamus, which control the cat's emotions and mating behavior.

So, basically, scientists think that catnip is acting as a sort of artificial pheromone, triggering behaviors seen in female cats when they're in heat.

So, no wonder it doesn't work for other animals! They don't have the same pheromones that felines do.

However, some studies have shown that catnip has sedative qualities in other animals like dogs and humans. If studied further, I wonder what else it might do.

I hope you enjoyed out catnip adventure! If you'd like to go on an adventure with me every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel Animal Wonders Montana. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below. And, if you'd like to follow my adventures with the animals throughout the week, you can follow me on Snapchat. I'm Jessikcas. See ya next week!


(preview)
First question comes from tay-gen or tee-gen Tommila, "What is the best treat for my brand new sun conure? Which treat is the healthiest and do you think Mango will love it?"