How Does Catnip Work? A Whisker City Investigation - Cat Crack Catnip

How Does Catnip Work? A Whisker City Investigation

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There was a time in this city when a hard-working cat could go a day without hearing about the green stuff. A time when cats had decent values and worked hard for their families. A time before Kingpin, or Bumpy, or whatever he's called, came onto the scene.

It was a time when a by-the-book detective like myself could feel good about living in Whisker City. It was the kind of city that purred along purr-fectly, like the divine hand of the Man Upstairs was rubbing our belly, and we were having the time of our lives.

But, as with all belly rubs, the claws came out, mistakes were made, and now, the city is hissing like a back-ally stray with nowhere to go. I kind of lost the point of this metaphor, but you get what I mean.

There was a time when Whisker City was a stand-up place to live. But now, with Cat Crack catnip flooding the streets, I don't even know which way is up anymore. It's all anyone can talk about, and the conversation is getting muddled and confusing. Cats meowing over each other and trying to get a word in edgewise. It's all noise to me.

"How does catnip work?"

A simple question posed by my boss, Captain Fluffy. A tabby with a short fuse and an even shorter tail (accident with a lawn mower when he was a kitten). I could still smell the tuna on his breath when he asked me. Well, not so much asked as yelled as he slammed his paw on the desk.

"I want answers! Get to the bottom of this catnip fiasco, or so help me, I'll throw you in the showers!"

His fur was always ruffled, but with Cat Crack on every corner, he was twitchier than usual. Knocking over papers, mugs, you name it. The floor of his office looked like the aftermath of a tornado in a trailer park. But his mention of the "showers" was enough to wake me from my midday cat nap. I don't like to get wet. No one does. Even the thought of water pouring over me gives me the willies.

All I had was a name: Dr. Scratch. As I walked over to the doc's lab, another question rolled over in my mind like a tussled ball of yarn. What is catnip made of?

How Does Catnip Work? A Visit With Dr. Scratch

"Look, I got about 30 minutes before my late afternoon nap, so if you could indulge me and hurry this whole thing up, I'd appreciate it." The elevator wasn't working in his building, so I had to climb up three flights of stairs. It's enough to put any feline in a bad mood.

"Of course, detective. What was the question again?" Dr. Scratch pushed his glasses up onto his face. What a nerd.

"I just told you, how does catnip work, and what does catnip do to cats?" I growled. I don't like repeating myself. I'm hoping his ears work perfectly from here on out.

"Oh, yes, I remember now. Catnip is a herb, and it's part of the mint family," Dr. Scratch explained.

"I don't care about no mints! What do I look like, a bartender?" I snapped. Mint leaves belong in a Mint Julep or a Moscow Mule, not in a discussion about how catnip is dragging my city through the mud.

"Well, my point is that catnip is all-natural. It grows like any other plant, be it mint, roses, or cucumbers." His voice was so matter-of-fact that it almost sounded like he was mocking me.

The mention of cucumbers put my fur on edge. The last time I saw a cucumber, I wasn't right for a week. That vegetable is downright evil in my book. Maybe the good doc is, too.

"But how does it work? What is catnip made of?" I asked.

"The secret ingredient is the oil Nepetalactone," Dr. Scratch explained.

"English, doc! What the heck is nepeta-whatever?" I retorted.

"It's a volatile oil found in the catnip plant. For whatever reason, cats are naturally drawn to it. It's a genetic condition passed down from our ancient ancestors."

I was getting sleepy and angry. A dangerous combination. I grabbed the doctor by his coat and pulled him close. He didn't seem too afraid of me, though. He just readjusted his glasses and continued.

"Catnip activates glands in our olfactory-"

"What? Our What?" I pulled him closer, baring my teeth.

"Noses. Our noses, I mean. The oil binds to receptors-"

I glared into his eyes.

"Triggers-"

"Um, the oil makes us act silly." Dr. Scratch finished. Satisfied with that response, I let him go. Any word with more than two syllables is nothing but dog barks to me.

"You're telling me." I sat down and rubbed my temple. My fedora threatened to fall to the floor, but I grabbed it just in time. "I've seen just how silly we can get."

How Does Cat Nip Affect Cats? Underground Tails of Mayhem

My mind flashed back to three nights ago at the Frisky Club. I was a regular there, and everyone knew my name. The club used to focus on the three D's: drinking, dancing, and drama. Now with Cat Crack on the scene, everyone inside was acting all loopy.

"Care for a free hit?" A sexy calico swung a bag in front of my face. I knocked it away like so many cat toys in my youth. "Is that what I think it is?" I replied.

"Sure thing, sugar. Don't you want to feel the real deal?" She leaned in close. Her breath smelled like heaven‚ÄĒwhiskey mixed with sardines. It was almost enough to make me forget all about the catnip.

"No thanks, toots. I may be off duty, but I'm not about to break the law." I flashed my badge, and she saddled off to find some other poor sad sack. Under different circumstances, I would have followed her home that night.

"Um, not to interrupt, but is this story going anywhere?" Dr. Scratch pulled me out of my flashback.

"My point is that catnip is a dangerous substance, which is why it's illegal!" I glanced at my watch. My nap time was dangerously near.

"Actually, it isn't. Yes, cats can go a little nuts for catnip, but the positives far outweigh the negatives. Catnip can lead to a calmer demeanor, less stress, and more playfulness. Plus, since it's all-natural, it's also non-addictive!"

"Who are you, a Cat Crack spokesperson? The law is the law!" I snarled. I stood up, getting ready to leave.

"Maybe it's time for the law to change," he replied. "Here, try a free hit."

In a flash, he tossed a handful of catnip into my face. In one second, my whole life was turned upside down. I wanted to ask, "How long does it take for catnip to kick in?," but I got my answer immediately.

Suddenly, I was ~free~. I've never felt so happy in my entire life. A sizzle reel of joyful moments played out before me, like I was sitting in a movie theater, munching on popcorn.

*Christmas when I was only eight months old. My parents bought me one of those mice that move around on their own.

*My first crush from elementary school. I forgot her name, but I'll never forget how bushy her tail was.

*That pastrami sandwich on rye from the deli by my house. It closed down a few months ago for health violations, but I've never had a better sandwich before or since.

"How do you feel?" Dr. Scratch stood over me, grinning.

"Purrfect," I purred.

All Roads Lead to Cat Crack

As I look out at my city, my whole worldview has changed. I lied and told the captain that Dr. Scratch was a dead end. He was peeved, but then again, when isn't he?

I clutched the bag of Cat Crack in my trenchcoat. Hard to believe I was anti-catnip not even 100 words ago. A lot can change in an instant. Especially when a scientist throws a non-addictive substance into your face without warning.

Kingpin, if you're out there, I need to find you. If my mind can change, how many other cats are waiting to have theirs blown away? Maybe 10,000? 20,000? I don't know. It's a big kitty. I mean city.

Maybe I need another hit to clear my head.

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