The name ‘Nepeta’ is derived from the Etrurian city of Neptic, where, historically, this catnip plant is thought to have grown extensively. In France, where catnip is called herbe aux chats, it was used to make tea, prior to the arrival of Chinese teas. Nowadays, the most well-known use of catnip is as a attractant for cats. It’s the nepetalactone compound that our furry friends are drawn to – it has strong behavioural effects across the cat family. It’s a little-known fact, however, that only two-thirds of cats are sensitive to catnip. The other third simply don’t enjoy those strange rubbing, rolling pawing, licking and chewing behaviours often seen in catnip-loving felines. What a pity for them!
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