Cats Help Catnip Release Natural Insect Repellent

When cats damage the plant, higher concentrations are released

Researchers in Japan found that when cats damage catnip, higher amounts of strong insect repellents are released. Catnip and silvervine are believed to have feline-intoxicating properties, and the leaves contain the compounds nepetalactol and nepetalactone, which protect the plants from pests. The researchers found that the physical damage of silvervine by the cats promoted the immediate release of these compounds in high concentration and that the broken leaves encouraged the cats to continue to play with (damage) the leaves of the plant. The researchers state that these compounds effectively repel some types of mosquitoes.ν

Reiko Uenoyama, Tamako Miyazaki, Masaatsu Adachi, Toshio Nishikawa, Jane L. Hurst, Masao Miyazaki. Domestic cat damage to plant leaves containing iridoids enhances chemical repellency to pests. iScience, 2022; 104455 DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.104455. Science Daily.