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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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
 

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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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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.
 

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I didn't know that they couldn't taste sweet, thats very interesting. =^.^=
 

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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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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.
Ha! Yes, that must be the only way. Just like the only way to know if gravity exists would to become the earth and see if we still pull people toward us! Those rascally scientists, since they're not always right, they must always be wrong!
 

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I caught Nutmeg licking the lid to my chocolate peanut butter ice cream last night, she might not know it but she loves sweet!!!
 

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Funny this thread should be running right now. Just today I pulled out a carton of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (light), and Blizzy, who rarely gets excited about things, got very excited and wanted to stick his head into the carton. I don't (yet) feed any of my cats any people food, but I was wondering if you all allowed your cats to eat ice cream as a treat.

Anyway, I wonder, since their since of smell is so highly developed, whether it isn't the smell of sweet things that excites their interest. They are so driven by smell, maybe the taste doesn't matter nearly as much as the smell does. And we'll assume they DO have the gene that allows them to smell sweet.
 

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On the rare occasions I buy ice cream, I let whichever cat seems interested lick the lid.
 

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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.

EXACTLY.

In a year or two, the new headline will be "Domestic cats now known to have a ginormous sweet-tooth!" LOL. Even if what we perceive as the "taste bud for sweet" doesn't appear to be on a cat, who knows... maybe what we think is their "bitter" taste bud is really their sweet? I stand by my cats... they appear to like sweets :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Anyway, I wonder, since their since of smell is so highly developed, whether it isn't the smell of sweet things that excites their interest. They are so driven by smell, maybe the taste doesn't matter nearly as much as the smell does. And we'll assume they DO have the gene that allows them to smell sweet.
That's an interesting point.

I personally don't feed my cats people food, other than a bit of plain tuna. Mainly because I want to avoid them begging loudly for food whenever we eat.
 
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