Design inference Intelligent Design

Cats do catnip a favor by chewing it

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Another instance of design in nature:

For many cats, a mere whiff of catnip can send them into a licking, rolling, plant-shredding frenzy.

That destruction amplifies catnip’s natural defenses against insects and its appeal to cats, a new chemical analysis finds. Compared with intact leaves, crushed-up leaves emit more volatile compounds called iridoids, which act as an insect repellant, researchers report June 14 in iScience. The higher emissions also seem to encourage cats to continue rolling around in the remains of the plant, effectively coating themselves in a natural bug spray (SN: 3/4/21).

Anil Oza, “Cats chewing on catnip boosts the plant’s insect-repelling powers” at Science News (June 23, 2022)

3 Replies to “Cats do catnip a favor by chewing it

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    I bought some catnip-infused toys for Daisy and Duke but the kitties didn’t react euphorically to the toys.

    Andrew

  2. 2
    News says:

    Some don’t, asauber at 1. There are different theories as to why the majority react at all.

    I just find it an interesting example of how the world of life reinforces itself through species consuming each other. Cows eat grass down – but the process keeps grassland from turning into forest, which would kill most of the grass. Cats raise heck with catnip but confer an immunity from bugs. One could doubtless multiply examples.

  3. 3
    asauber says:

    News,

    I’m also a little dubious of the level of catnip infusedness of the toys.

    Sometimes the kitties will flop and roll and grab at any random thing. lol Flighty creatures.

    Andrew

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