C 10 H 14 O 2
g·mol 166.220 −1
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their
(at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
( verify what is ?)
Nepetalactone is an organic compound, first isolated from the plant catnip ( Nepeta cataria), which acts as a cat attractant. Nepetalactone is a bicyclic mono terpenoid, a ten-carbon compound derived from isoprene with two fused rings: a cyclopentane and a lactone (a modified δ-valerolactone ring). It belongs to the class of iridoids. The structure and the effects of the compound are similar to those of valepotriates. A number of isomers of nepetalactone are known.
Nepetalactone was first reported in 1941 after it was isolated by
steam distillation of catnip.
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 isomer in
Nepeta cataria and has a characteristic effect on cats. Around 67–80% of cats are affected.  Susceptibility is  gene-linked. The chemical interacts as a vapor at the olfactory epithelium.
Nepetalactone has effects on some insects: it repels
cockroaches and mosquitos. 
Robert B. Bates and Carl W. Sigel (1963). "Terpenoids. Cis-trans- and trans-cis-Nepetalactones". . Experientia 19: 564.
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.
"Catnip (Nepeta cataria) – Everything You Need to Know About Catnip!". Cat-World.com.au. Cat World. 2014 . Retrieved . 2015-01-02
Turner, Ramona (May 29, 2007). "How does catnip work its magic on cats?". Scientific American . Retrieved . February 14, 2009
Hart, Benjamin L.; Leedy, Mitzi G. (July 1985). "Analysis of the catnip reaction: mediation by olfactory system, not vomeronasal organ". Behavioral and Neural Biology. 44 (1): 38–46. doi: 10.1016/S0163-1047(85)91151-3. PMID 3834921.
Kingsley, Danny (September 3, 2001). "Catnip sends mozzies flying". ABC Science Online . Retrieved . 2009-02-14
"The Cats Might Bite Harder Than the Mosquitoes". ENS / Ameriscan. August 28, 2001 . Retrieved . 2012-09-01 (scroll down page to last article)