Why Cat's Don't Like Sweets
Researchers think cats genetically unable
to appreciate sweetness
MetPet.com Staff Writer
humans and dogs, cats do not appear to favor the taste of sugar either as
cakes and cookies or in sugar-laden drinks. Those who live with cats
have known this for quite some time but now it seems the gene which operates
the receptor for the taste of sweetness is filled with 'errors.'
Mammals use taste buds on their tongues to taste sweetness. Sweet
substances bind to two proteins on the cell surface. A study of cat
DNA showed that the gene to make one of those proteins is defective probably rendering the sense of 'sweetness' immaterial.
Researchers laid out plain water and sugar water for domestic cats and
found that they had no preference for either. Interestingly, cats did
not prefer the plain water in which case it is likely that cats simply do
not register, or are indifferent, to sweetness. It is not so much that cats
dislike sweets but that they cannot taste sweetness.
As with so many things in the world of cats, the larger cousins to
domestic felines also showed the same lack of interest. Wild cats,
lions and tigers and their kin also displayed disinterest in sweets.
Cats are quite the carnivorous animal and it is reasonable to speculate
that carnivores do not need to taste sweetness in order to appreciate meat.
Interestingly though cats do enjoy chewing on grass so they do have some
interest in carbohydrates but they may simply prefer the bitterness in some
grasses rather than the sweetness of others.
Cats are the original low-carb dieters.
Atkins should have
studied the domestic feline!
How is your cat's sweet tooth? Try placing a plain sugar cookie
(nothing with chocolate which can cause problems) next to some
plain cooked chicken on a plate and see which one your cat goes for.
You can try different sweets and different meats and also rearrange which is
on the left and which is on the right in order to keep the experiment fair.
If you wish to experiment, here are some tips:
Our cats have always preferred a plain cooked chicken (either browned
lightly in a pan or grilled) over rare beef (sear all sides before cutting
into small chunks) which they have preferred over freshly cooked fish and
that includes everything from salmon to shrimp to crab. They do love
canned tuna in spring water over nearly everything but it isn't good for
them in large quantities so they get it sparingly.
Shredded Roasted Chicken for Dogs and Cats