An article is in this month’s issue of a life sciences magazine, The Scientist, about the taste preferences of cats. It turns out that cats are not only different from other mammals in their nutritional requirements, but in their taste buds too. Most cats are not interested in sweet foods, unlike humans and dogs. This is true for the big wild cats as well. In 2005, the molecular structure of the taste receptors for sweet was discovered. It turns out that the genes coding for sweet taste receptors in cats are different from everyone else. Cats simply can’t appreciate sweet tastes!
Since the cat is a true carnivore, with no dietary requirement for carbohydrates, these findings make perfect sense. In fact, the dietary requirements of cats are very complex and are still being researched. Dietary needs change not only with life stage, but with the presence of certain diseases. For example, cats require specific diet formulations to treat diseases such as diabetes mellitus and advanced kidney disease. As always, your veterinarian is your best source of information on feline health matters, including nutrition.
Want to know more?
Cat Cravings, the article in The Scientist
Scientific article in PLoS Genetics, describing the structure of the sweet taste receptors in cats