cats and salt - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-18-2016, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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cats and salt

No, I'm not asking if salt is good for cats. I KNOW it isn't. (It isn't really good for humans either.)

I'm asking if cats generally like salty things. My cat *adores* tortilla chips, for which the dominant flavor is salt. Ritz cracker bits as well. No, he doesn't get much of them. Just a flake or two now and them. I know that won't hurt him, and my vet agrees. Please don't preach that it will. He likes nuts also, but especially loves nuts that have been salted. I used to give him a couple of nuts until I realized that he wasn't digesting them. They just passed through. But until I did, I generally washed the salt off.

Is this common? Do cats generally like salty things a lot?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-18-2016, 07:36 PM
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I have 9 and there isn't one who doesn't like things that are technically not good for them - be it because of salt or other factors. Excess salt is bad but it is possible for mammals to die if there is no natural salt in their diet. Difficult.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-18-2016, 09:41 PM
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I imagine it depends on the cat. My youngest, Abby, loves Skinny Cow Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream (which is hardly salty). But, apart from Skinny Cow, neither of my two want anything to do with "people food". If I ever tried to feed them raw, they'd starve. I've offered them chicken, roast beef, hamburger, tuna, salmon (including canned, raw and baked), and numerous other foods that most cats would go nuts over. But my two just sniff the food and look at me as if to say "What do you want me to do with that?"

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-18-2016, 10:24 PM
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Meh, I don't worry that much about it. My boys are junk food junkies. As long as they are healthy and at a good weight I let them indulge. NOTHING makes Neelix or Book happier than when I get down to the corner crumbs in the chip bag. I cut off the top part of the bag and put the bottom on the ground so they can clean out the corners.

Potato Chips (Salt and vinegar is EVERYONE'S favorite)
Tortilla Chips
Some nuts (I don't really like them eating nuts.... it's a thing)
Trader Joe's Cheddar Cheese puffs can cause outright riots among the cats. Like flipping cars and looting best buy riots. They LOVE those things.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-18-2016, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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My cat always wants to sniff people food, but it's the salty stuff that gets him gobbling.

Yes, salt is essential to all mammals, but of course too much salt is bad.

I have read that in freezing climes, where rock salt is used on the road, cats can OD on it by traipsing around in the slush and then coming in and cleaning their feet. But do they clean their feet because they love the salt, or because they just want their feet clean?
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-19-2016, 01:08 AM
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I'm not sure cats can taste salt the same "way" humans do, or at least, at the same "intensity". They CAN taste salty - it's sweet that they cannot taste - but I'm not sure if they crave salty things.

Strange but True: Cats Cannot Taste Sweets - Scientific American

My cat seems to enjoy her "people food" bits more based on texture than taste - she seems to like crunchy things, probably a holdover from her kibble-filled youth. She will, however, scarf down anything meat- or cheese-based, regardless of its texture.

Cats do have personalities, so I think it's an individual taste thing, but I don't think they seek salt. Deer and other ungulates do because it is missing from their diets (herbivores), but meat does contain naturally-occurring sodium, so I think a feline, from lions to Sphynxes, would not need to seek out salt.

And cats can sometimes be idiots when it comes to keeping their fur clean - or maybe I should say "blinded by instinct", as they sometimes will clean stuff stuck to their coat even if it is harmful to them, such as salt slush like you mentioned, or oil, or other harmful substances :{

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-19-2016, 01:16 AM
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Well, technically we need salt in our bodies. Of course all the excess salt isn't good for anyone, but some is still necessary, just research it.
As for my cat, I really don't know. I don't have a lot of salty foods at home, but I think she doesn't care for it. Maybe it's not the salt in it, but those hot dogs you get at Costco or Sam's Club cafe (you know, the big ones). Well, I brought one home to eat and she of course gets up in my business and sniffs at a tiny piece I tore off for her and stared and walked away. Not sure if it had anything to do with the salt content, though.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-19-2016, 03:00 AM
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My cats definitely like salty foods (like their human). Potato chips, bacon, ham...Margaux would just sit at my feet if I was eating potato chips, waiting for me to drop one (because I'm a slob and always drop chips when I eat). The only other human foods she liked were turkey and chicken. Celia likes butter. I only buy unsalted, but I wonder how she'd react to salted butter.

This could be just a coincidence, but when I tried virtually every cat food brand out there trying to find something that Celia would eat, I discovered that the foods my cats wouldn't touch were the ones that didn't have salt.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-22-2016, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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OK, what I'm hearing is that love of salty food does not necessarily describe the average cat. That's interesting.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-29-2016, 08:08 AM
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My cat loves bacon (preferably smoked) and cheddar cheese. He isn't a fan of anything starchy, salty or not.

He had some days where he was off his food recently, give him a bit of shredded cheddar cheese and he will eat afterwards. He will eat cheddar, even if he isn't hungry. It's like an addiction to him.

Of course I don't feed it often, as the salt can't be good for him, but right now he needs all the treats he can get. He is slowly putting on weight....

He also likes any food that isn't cat food and is on my plate. I guess he will never learn that he cannot digest carrots....
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