Catnip is feline's mood raiser

Section: Medical News From Around The World DAVIS, CALIFORNIA:

Cat-lovers have often witnessed the erratic behavior of their pets when under the influence of having eaten catnip, a substance that seems to affect them in the manner that marijuana changes human behavior.

An animal behavior expert at the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine explains: The active substance of catnip is a chemical called nepetalactone, which sets off in the cat's brain various stimuli leading to pleasure.

Dr. Benjamin L. Hart, the researcher, explains that various brain circuits are involved which stimulate the animal's playing, hunting, feeding, and sexual impulses.

Pet owners have been known to give catnip to their animals to create such extraordinary behavior, not knowing the long-range effects of the hallucinatory drug. Many veterinarians caution against such activities.

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