Why don't cats taste sweet?

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It's hard to resist a delicious ice cream or a good piece of cake, ¿sure? In fact, sweets are a real temptation for many people. But what is delicious to us can be a threat to the health of our pets. Many sweet foods, mainly industrialized ones, they can cause severe digestive disorders and poison their body.

In addition, some species, such as felines, are unable to taste and tend to reject sugary tastes. In this way, we can say that cats do not feel the sweet taste due to a self-defense ability developed naturally by their organism during the evolution of their species. To go deeper into the subject, AnimalWised invites you to better understand why cats do not perceive the sweet taste in this article.

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  1. Cats: demanding diners?
  2. The formation of the palate in felines
  3. What flavors do cats perceive?
  4. And why can't cats taste sweet?

Cats: demanding diners?

We hear very often that cats have a very selective palate. But if a feline in the wild were as capricious with its palate as we imagine a cat to be, it would represent a risk to its survival. Their independent character and their abilities allow them to position themselves as excellent hunters, but their diet also depends on the availability offered by their environment, the time of year, the weather, etc..

Then, ¿What is the "bad reputation" for the selective palate of our domestic felines? Well the answer is in the question itself… Most cats develop a more exclusive palate or picky behaviors when eating due to domestication. This also explains why stray cats tend to have a more flexible palate than domestic cats. Something very similar to wild cats happens with these animals: their survival depends on their adaptive capacities to the context and environment to which they are exposed..

The formation of the palate in felines

The cats form the criteria of your palate during his "childhood ", mainly during the first 6 months of life. If during this time we present them with a diet varied in flavors, shapes, smell and textures, we encourage their adaptation and reduce the possibility that they will refuse food in adulthood. If, on the contrary, we accustom our kitten to always eating the same food, we will create a very demanding diner. Upon reaching adulthood, it will probably be very difficult to include other aromas and flavors in the diet of an animal that adhered to a very strict feeding routine..

But you have to be very careful with the changes that living with humans can cause in the eating habits of a feline. Cats do not perceive the sweet taste, but if we offer them sugary foods, we can create an unwanted adaptation and cause innumerable damage to their digestive tract.

What flavors do cats perceive?

Felines have a much more privileged sense of smell and vision than ours. But when it comes to palate, cats have a considerably less developed sense of taste than humans. While our body has more than 9000 taste bulbs, which allow us to enjoy a huge variety of flavors, cats have fewer than 500 taste bulbs. This is the main reason that explains why cats do not perceive the sweet taste and why many foods that we find irresistible can be uninteresting to them. Next, we summarize the main flavors that our domestic felines perceive:

  • AcidsCats have a large number of acid taste receptors located throughout the length of their tongue. For this reason, they tend to like acidic pH foods more than alkaline or neutral ones..
  • Salty: cats also detect salty foods very intensely, as they have quite a few receptors for this flavor on their tongue.
  • Bitters: Cats perceive bitter tastes less intensely than dogs and humans. Thanks to this, they manage to avoid consuming toxic substances, such as strychnine.

Cats are also able to perceive the texture, temperature and consistency of their food very well, hence canned food is more palatable than dry food..

And why can't cats taste sweet?

We detect sweets, because we have the combination of two proteins in our taste buds. In contrast, cats do not perceive the sweet taste because they barely produce one of the two necessary proteins to savor it.

Some cats may be interested in certain sweet foods that are high in fat, such as ice cream, or that are sources of protein, such as yogurts. But they strongly reject synthesized sweeteners, such as saccharin, as well as foods that contain them. Specialists affirm that this natural rejection of sweets in felines consists of a self-defense capacity. As sugary foods harm your body, causing flatulence, diarrhea and colic, your palate evolved to avoid the consumption of these substances.

If you see your cat eating a sugary treat, mainly chocolate, which in large quantities is toxic to felines, do not hesitate to go to the vet immediately..

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