Serious Question: Can My Cat Taste Spicy or Sweet Food?

Feb 28th 2013  |   5 Contributions

Mike asks, “Can cats sense spicy things?”

Cats have many heightened senses compared to humans, but taste is not one of them. They can sense spicy foods, but they're not good for them, so limit their chili intake. Their bowels will thank you. One remarkable fact regarding their taste is that cats are the only mammal (that we know of) who lack receptors for sweetness. It’s thought that since they survive almost solely on meat, their ability to sense sugar never developed. Other animals need to be able to sense starches and carbs for survival, but not cats.

They do take temperature and texture into account at mealtime. Bitterness and saltiness receptors are factors as well. So there’s no need to zest up their foods. Bland and canned is preferred ... well, fresh kill is probably preferred, but that is for another blog post. 

“Sugar and Spice” by Sarah Donner

Lyrics:

Cats have tastes like you and me
But varying to a different degree
They seem finicky because
They don’t have as many taste buds
 
Really all they want to eat
Is the tasty bite of fresh meat

There is no need for seasoning
It’s better for their delicate tummies
 
Yes, your kitty cat can taste
Sriracha sauce and curry paste

But he’ll never know the joy of sweets
So more cream cheese frosting for you and me
 
But one thing they can taste
Adenosine triphosphate

A molecule for energy
That is found inside those fleshy meats!
They don’t need sugar, they don’t need carbs
So giving up the taste is not that hard 
 

SOURCES: Scientific American, ASPCA

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