A chemical compound in Nepeta cataria and Actinidia polygama — better known as catnip and silver vine, respectively — activates cats’ opioid receptors and repels mosquitoes when cats rub against the plants and get the compound on their faces. In a study published in Science Advances, researchers found the iridiod nepetalactone repelled mosquitoes when rubbed on cats’ fur and stimulated the production of beta-endorphins, but cats whose opioid receptors were suppressed were not attracted to the plants.
Click on title to watch the 10 second science experiment video.  Understanding chemistry in action.