Cats love getting high on catnip almost as much as humans love getting them high on catnip—and it's totally legal and sold in stores everywhere! But what causes cats to get rolling-on-the-ground-and-drooling stoned when they rub all up in that nip? Basically, it overloads all 5 senses at once, turning your cat's brain into an over-excited pinball machine. Here's where it gets weird, though: there's also a sexual element to it. Yeah. It simulates cat pheromones.
It's kind of like if you took a drug that made you believe there were a ton of really hot people in the room who all wanted to sleep with you. Your cat is basically not only tripping but momentarily feeling like the sexiest beast on earth. Then it wears off and it won't work again for 30 minutes (right, fellas?). There's probably a more scientific way to explain it, and that's exactly what SciShow does in this video: