|Jmol-3D images||Image 1|
|Molar mass||166.22 g mol−1|
| (what is: / ?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
Nepetalactone is an organic compound, first isolated from the plant catnip (Nepeta cataria), which acts as a cat attractant. Nepetalactone is bicyclic monoterpenoid, i.e., it is a ten-carbon compound derived from isoprene with two fused rings: a cyclopentane and a lactone. The structure and the effects of the compound are similar to those of valepotriates. A number of isomers of nepetalactone are known.
The compound is also present in the wood of tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica), shavings of which are often used in cat toys.
Effects on animals
4aα,7α,7aα-Nepetalactone is the active chemical in Nepeta cataria and has a characteristic effect on cats. Around 80% of cats are affected; susceptibility is gene-linked. The chemical interacts as a vapor at the olfactory epithelium. The compound only mildly affects humans: it is a weak sedative, antispasmodic, febrifuge, and antibacterial. In high doses it also has an emetic effect. Nepetalactone also has effects on some insects: it repels cockroaches and mosquitos.
- Samuel M. McElvain, R. D. Bright and P. R. Johnson (1941). "The Constituents of the Volatile Oil of Catnip. I. Nepetalic Acid, Nepetalactone and Related Compounds". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 63 (6): 1558–1563. doi:10.1021/ja01851a019.
- "How does catnip work its magic on cats?".
- Kingsley, Danny (September 3, 2001). "Catnip sends mozzies flying". ABC Science Online. Retrieved February 14, 2009.
- "The Cats Might Bite Harder Than the Mosquitoes". ENS / Ameriscan. August 28, 2001. Retrieved September 1, 2012. (scroll down page to last article)
- "Catnip and Catnip Effects".