Cats Can't Taste Sweet - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Cats Can't Taste Sweet

Just read an interesting article in Scientific American saying that cats are the only known mammal that can't taste sweet. They say they know this because:

1. Cats are indifferent to whether water is sweetened or unsweetened.
2. The two proteins in the sweet taste receptors of all other mammals tested don't exist in cats.
3. The gene for tasting sweet has been identified and doesn't exist in cats.

The article says some cats like ice cream or cotton candy or marshmallows and therefore may be able to taste very high concentrations of sweet, but it seems to me that it could just as easily be something else, such as texture or some other flavor present.

It also says that they are not able to digest sweets or carbohydrates well, and that in spite of this, cat food manufacturers load up their foods with grains, which may be causing cats to get diabetes.

I'm sure some of you cat aficionados knew this already, but it's new and interesting to me.

Here is the link: Strange but True: Cats Cannot Taste Sweets: Scientific American

Thanks!
Johnny Relentless

Jeff and Lester, Manx kittens
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 11:10 PM
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I have to disagree. Both of my cats (current cat and cat who passed last fall) love/d sweets. I frequently bake and they both are/were always begging for a cookie or cake crumb. Neither cat would beg for "just anything", either. Both seemed to only beg if we had chicken, tuna, cookies, cake, eggs, ice cream, or cereal. (Of course, we gave people-food only sparingly, though that didn't deter the begging, LOL.)
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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 01:56 AM
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I have to disagree. Both of my cats (current cat and cat who passed last fall) love/d sweets. I frequently bake and they both are/were always begging for a cookie or cake crumb. Neither cat would beg for "just anything", either. Both seemed to only beg if we had chicken, tuna, cookies, cake, eggs, ice cream, or cereal. (Of course, we gave people-food only sparingly, though that didn't deter the begging, LOL.)
She specifically mentioned that they don't even have the taste buds required to taste sweet things. It would have to be another flavor in it that they like.

The dog may be wonderful prose, but only the cat is poetry. - French Proverb
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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 01:59 AM
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I didn't know that they couldn't taste sweet, thats very interesting. =^.^=

The dog may be wonderful prose, but only the cat is poetry. - French Proverb
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 02:42 AM
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I knew this but experience with my gal doesnt match up, so Im unsure on this issue.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 09:21 AM
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I think they might be able to taste very high sweetness, like you said. Marilyn sometimes gets a little lick of cake mix and she really loves it. She also begs for cookies too
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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 09:28 AM
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I've heard this before, but never had a cat that wasn't crazy about ice-cream. One of my studs was crazy over watermelon. My Devon girl Alkee loves to lap up sugar from the sugar bowl to the extent that I can never leave it out and have to keep it in a cupboard. My Devon boy Zuba is always begging for a nibble of cake or cookies.
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 04:39 PM
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I'm willing to bet the obsession with things like ice cream or cake would probably be the dairy, since they can't taste the sugar.

Apollo goes nuts for anything with dairy in it: milk, cheese, butter, even mashed potatoes (made with milk and butter).
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 04:55 PM
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I'm willing to bet the obsession with things like ice cream or cake would probably be the dairy, since they can't taste the sugar.
Yeah, I'm pretty certain that's the case. MowMow would climb through fiery coals for ice cream but if I'm eating sorbet or even sherbet he just looks offended if offered some.
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 08:40 PM
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There are lots of things that scientists think they have the answer to, and later find out they're wrong. The only way to know if cats can taste sweet is to become a cat and find out.

As far as digesting carbs, cats do have the amylase enzyme for this, but apparently not like humans, in the saliva.

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