Is your feline friend finicky? Or will Fluffy eat pretty much anything? Cats definitely have some specific likes and dislikes when it comes to food. Some are extremely picky, while others will steal your pizza the moment your back is turned. What’s that all about? A New Orleans, LA vet discusses kitties’ taste below.
Just like people, kitties use their noses a lot when determining what they do and don’t want to eat. Fluffy’s cute nose is actually quite sensitive, much more than ours is. If you’ve ever wondered why your pet can be finicky, this has something to do with it. In the wild, cats always eat their prey fresh, and will turn their noses up at anything that smells even a little bit off.
Kitties do have taste buds. (We know, Fluffy does eat raw mice, but that’s another topic.) As you may know, human taste buds can detect five types of tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and savory. Feline taste buds are similar, with the exception that they don’t have very good ‘sweet’ buds. Keep in mind that our feline buddies are carnivores, and thus have no need for either sugar or carbs in their diets. Therefore, the sweet buds don’t do them much good. We know, some of our feline patients will eat cake, donuts, ice cream, and other baked goods. There are two possibilities for this. One: Fluffy never got that memo. The second, and more likely option? Cats are actually enjoying the fat in these foods.
Cats have an auxiliary organ, which is called the Jacobson’s organ. Dogs, mice, horses, pigs, and even lizards also have one. It connects Fluffy’s nasal passage to her mouth. To explain this in the simplest terms, it sort of combines tastes and smell.
Bitter/sour tastes are actually beneficial to kitties in helping them detect toxins. This has come in handy for creating taste deterrents, which often have a bitter taste. If your frisky little pet is chewing something she shouldn’t, try a kitty taste deterrent.
Kitties also have preferences as to what temperature they like their food. Most prefer warmer foods. Fluffy may generally dismiss cold foods, though she may enjoy a cool treat on a sweltering summer day.
Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? Contact us, your New Orleans, LA vet clinic, today!