Out of Tampa, Florida is the Big Cat Rescue.
They provide a safe haven and sanctuary for lions, tigers and leopards. A common question posed to staff is whether or not the big cats like catnip like the domestic cats do. So they decided to once and for all find out the answer to this question! Nepetalactone is the essential oil in the catnip herb which causes the cats to get a little crazy! Though the reaction is not fully understood as the Humane Society states the following in regards to catnip: “researchers aren’t sure what the neurological explanation is, but it’s thought that catnip mimics feline ‘happy’ pheromones and stimulates the receptors in the brain that respond to those pheromones.”
But it turns out that only about 50% of cats have a reaction to catnip. It’s actually an inherited trait which causes the sensitivity to the herb. The ones that do have the trait can get a little bizarre! Cats roll around in it and rub their face in it! They also act kind of drunk while on it!
Now what happens when you take a big cat and have him sample the herb? They end up reacting in a similar fashion as the domestic cats! It’s really a sight to see!
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