Can Cats Taste Sweetness? Exploring Cats’ Unique Taste Receptors and Dietary Needs

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Cats can taste sourness, saltiness, bitterness and umami (a meaty/savoury taste). However, unlike many other mammals, they have no functional receptors to detect sweetness.

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they must eat a meat-based diet to survive. Their taste receptors are able to detect the amino acids produced by meat, which may help them to distinguish the nutritional quality of food. Detecting amino acids in food is a much more useful skill for an obligate carnivore than detecting sugars.

So, why do they sometimes show an interest in sweet-tasting foods? The chances are they are actually enjoying the taste of something else, like fat or salt.

It’s important to note that we do not recommend feeding cats sweet foods, especially those containing the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is highly toxic to cats – even small amounts can be life-threatening.

For more advice and cat care articles checkout the iCatCare advice here.


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