What is Catnip Made Of? - Dr. Scratch Learns the Truth - Cat Crack Catnip

What is Catnip Made Of? - Dr. Scratch Learns the Truth

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Nepeta Cataria. A member of the mint family. A common plant native to Europe and Asia that can be found virtually anywhere. How could a regular old plant be so harmful?

Such was my mindset when I started on this project. A simple request from the mayor of Whisker City. Now that Cat Crack has been flooding the streets, everyone is in a panic. Cats acting crazy at the drop of a hat. Kittens meowing for their parents, begging for food. Litter boxes sitting full, waiting to be emptied.

These were all problems in the city before catnip became a thing, but now they're all supercharged. Now, the mayor is struggling to figure out why a city of cats is so topsy-turvy with no end in sight.

Enter me, Dr. Scratch.

I'm not a botanist, nor am I a biologist. Still, I am on the Mayor's advisory staff, and I'm the only one with the title of "Dr." According to him, that's all it takes to figure out the science of anything, be it plants, animals, or politics.

The main question? "What is catnip made of?" There were also follow-up questions, like "How does catnip work?", "Is catnip safe for cats?" The usual melange of queries regarding health and safety.

My only question was, "Why me?" The mayor didn't find that question suitable for a response, simply choosing to ignore it and sit quietly, staring at me blankly. I knew what that meant. I would be working on this project whether I wanted to or not.

Being something of a scientist (my specialty is statistics and probability), I broke it all down into four parts:

  • Step One: Identify the¬†catnip plant¬†and where it grows.
  • Step Two: Witness the effects firsthand.
  • Step Three: Analyze the plant and try to get some definitive answers.
  • Step Four: Share my results?

The Catnip Plant: Dangerous Weed or Healthy Supplement?

Since catnip was still illegal per the Mayor's orders, I couldn't exactly go around asking for some 'Nip. "Got some Minty Winty?" is not exactly a question that seems normal coming out of my mouth. A straight-laced, glasses-wearing, bow-tie wearing cat like myself doesn't usually mix with the Cat Crack crowd. As soon as I approached a single dealer, the jig, as they say, would be up.

Instead, I knew someone who could help me study the catnip plant up close without drawing intense scrutiny and a litany of questions.

My old neighbor, Mrs. Nettles. She's now a widower, and her house is on the outskirts of town. If she remembers me, she should be able to help without raising any alarms.

Even though I was on official business, something about this project made my fur stand on end.

Visiting an Old Friend

"Hello, Mr. Scratch! How have you been?" Mrs. Nettles came in for a warm hug, and I obliged.

She's an elderly white cat with thick glasses and a hitch in her step. She was approaching 15, a ripe old age for any feline. Her husband died two years ago, but she never lost her smile.

"Can I get you a cup of milk?" She led me inside her quaint home. The entire place was covered in fur, but I tried to ignore it. I'm sure she doesn't have the energy or dexterity to clean anymore.

"Um, yes please," I reply.

Photos of her husband adorn the wall, along with pictures of her three children. I never did remember their names.

"Here you go," she handed me a mug with some warm milk inside. Several hairs floated on the surface.

"Thanks," I replied, setting the mug down.

"Don't you want to drink some?" She asked.

"Uh, sure," I stammered. I really didn't want cat fur lodged in my throat, but I was never one to enjoy confrontation. I value other cat's opinions too much.

The milk had more fur than I realized. I could feel the wet, mushy mass sliding down my throat. I'm going to be coughing that up later. "Delicious!" I exclaimed.

"That's nice, dear. Now, what can I do for you?"

"Nepeta cataria. What can you tell me about it?"

She went quiet and turned toward the window. "Nepeta cataria. That's a name I haven't heard in a long time."

She stared out the window for a few moments, not moving or speaking. "Um, is there more to that story?" I asked.

She snapped back to attention. "Wait, you didn't join me on my flashback?"

"No, was I supposed to?" I asked.

"I thought that's how it worked. That's how it is in the movies," she replied.

"Well, I don't think I can 'join' you in a flashback inside your own mind," I explained.

"Nonsense, Victor did it all the time."

"Your husband?"

"Yes, I would reminisce about the good old days for hours, and he would always be right there with me."

I paused. I didn't have the heart to tell her that her husband probably used that time to do other things like watch TV or play crossword puzzles. "Maybe it's because you shared a metaphysical bond as husband and wife?"

"That makes sense." She turned her attention back to me. "Anyway, I used to grow a patch of nepeta cataria in the garden. I liked having it for whenever I wanted to go on another flashback. It was always so pleasant." Her words trailed off.

"Was it dangerous? Would you get hooked?" I asked.

She looked confused and annoyed. "You sound like Channel 4 News. I used to grow it. That is, before Mayor mousebreath banned it. His goons came to my house 10 years ago, demanding that I dig it up and salt the earth where it grew."

"That seems a bit excessive," I said.

"I thought the same thing. Victor protested, but they threatened to chip him and he shut up. He always hated the idea of Big Brother watching his every move."

"So what was it like?" I pried.

She smirked. "When the goons came, they were only interested in the catnip plant itself. They didn't seem to think that I would have some stashed away for a rainy day."

She stood up and went into the other room. I assumed she was going to bring some catnip back, but after about 15 minutes, I got worried.

"Mrs. Nettles? Where'd you go?" I wandered throughout the house, and managed to see her in the living room, sitting in an old chair. She was looking at a photo of Victor, an opened canister of catnip in her lap.

"Mrs. Nettles?" I asked. She snapped back to attention.

"Oh, dear me. I was flashing back again. To the good old days. Here, take a free hit and see what you think."

Uncovering the Truth of Nepetalactone

"How does catnip work?" I asked before tenderly grabbing the canister.

"Sniff and find out," she replied.

"That's it? I just smell it?"

"Yup, that's it." she beamed.

For science. I brought the canister up to my nose and took a big whiff.

Suddenly, I heard soft music playing. It was angelic music, but from a band I've never heard of in a language I didn't understand. And yet, I could feel the vibes. Jangly guitar strings and guttural vocals dance with each other, creating a hauntingly beautiful melody. The song rang through my ears, drowning everything else out.

Once I came to, Mrs. Nettles was standing over me, grinning from ear to ear. "The first time is always the best. I wish I could experience my first time again."

I checked my surroundings. I was on the floor, pawing at a ball of yarn. I haven't done that since I was a kitten. "How long was I out?"

"Only a few minutes. It hits hard and fast, and then fades just as quickly."

As I stood up, I realized I was no longer nervous. The stigma of catnip had disappeared, and all that was left was a feeling of quiet euphoria.

I looked at the canister. "Do you mind if I take this?" I asked.

"Go for it. I have another 200 canisters in the basement," she replied.

What is Catnip Made Of? All-Natural Ingredients, Not Fear

As I made my way back to the lab, I felt like I was awake for the first time in my life. All fear and doubt had left my body, leaving a calm, confident scientist behind.

The mayor was wrong. The whole system was wrong. Catnip isn't dangerous. Catnip is‚ÄĒ

Suddenly, I could feel a lump of fur catch in my throat. I pulled over to the side of the road and rolled the window down.

"Bleeechh!" It took a few hacks, but I managed to get it all out of my system.

That was gross.

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