Cats Go Nuts for Olives. Why? (Videos)

March 22, 2016 Updated: October 5, 2018

If you’re not a cat person in particular, this may come as a surprise: Cats love olives. Well, probably not all cats, but a lot of them do and in a very strange way.

What so strange about the cat-olive relationship? For starters, cats may not want to primarily eat the olives, but rather… Well, see for yourself:

“She’ll roll all over it. But she won’t eat it,” the lady in the video comments.

And if you think, “well, that’s just two cats,” check out this cat just getting a sniff of olives:

And if you’re still doubtful, here’s a two-and-a-half minute compilation of cats freaking out to olives:

So, yes, there’s something going on. What is it? As far as science is concerned, olives contain chemicals called isoprenoids, according to an article on the subject by Tracie Hotchner of the Radio Pet Lady Network.

These chemicals possess a similar structure to the chemical in—you guessed it—catnip. Specifically, the chemical nepetalactone in catnip that cats react to. It just makes them go nuts.

There seems to be no known adverse effect of olives on cats.

So if your cat gets affected by catnip (the majority do), perhaps it would also react to olives.

There seems to be an opinion out there that catnip affects cats in the same way pheromones do. But according to a 1985 article in the Behavioral and Neural Biology journal, cats actually process catnip by their olfactory organ, not by the vomeronasal organ dedicated to pheromones.

There seems to be no known adverse effect of olives on cats. But it’s more like a treat than proper food. Also, you may be uncomfortable with turning your cat into an olive freak.

But since many people already did the experiment, here are some more cat/olive videos:

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