Kitty Crack

Nepetalactone catnipOver on the excellent Instructables site, talbotron22 (aka Logan Sandmeyer) has found a way to extract the active ingredient, nepetalactone, from catnip (Nepeta cataria, also known as catmint) and so create a product that is essentially skunk for cats. As you may or may not know, half of all cats , are overwhelmingly intrigued by the scent of catnip. No one knows quite why, but the active compound is known to be weakly psychoactive, triggering sedation and euphoria, so it could simply be that kitty wants to get high.

talbotron22 suggests that the use of his concentrated catnip extract could make him something of a cat god. But, if catnip is the feline equivalent of hash, and he is cooking up some skunk, or worse still cat-crack, then doesn’t that make him some kind of pusher? Well, he does provide a safety disclaimer that should keep his name clean:

“Yes, it is safe to use this extract on cats. I have looked into it, and there are a number of studies (very interesting in their own right) using pure nepetalactone on cats in experiments trying to figure out why it causes them to go bonkers. The upshot is that it’s pretty safe. In the last of the references below, the LD50 of nepetalactone was determined to be 1550 mg/kg (about the same as aspirin), meaning you would have to force feed your average 5 kg cat ~8 grams in order to cause it any harm. So as long as you are reasonable with the extract it should pose no harm.”

Moreover, his extraction process produces very pure nepetalactone but only a small yield, even the most determined feline drug peddler would have to spend days on the project just to keep kitty happy.


Author: spinneret

This post originally appeared in full in David Bradley's hosted Spinneret blog (geddit?). Hopefully, any molecular structures and links are hooking up to the Chemspider database correctly, please let us know if you have problems with mol files, InChI code etc