Why Cats Are Not Sweet on Sugar

Cats can't taste sweetness Maybe that's why they're so sour sometimes
Cats can’t taste sweetness. Maybe that’s why they’re so sour sometimes.


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Have you ever wondered why your cat doesn’t care for sweets? You may think that your furry friend is just being picky, but there is a scientific reason behind it. They cannot taste sweetness at all!

Cats Lack the Sweetness Receptor Gene

According to a study by the Monell Chemical Senses Center, cats lack one of the two genes that code for the sweetness receptor on their tongues. This gene, called Tas1r2, is essential for detecting sugar and other sweet substances. Without it, they are unable to sense sweetness in their food or water.

This gene loss happened millions of years ago, probably because cats evolved as obligate carnivores that rely on meat for their nutrition. Unlike plant-eating mammals that need carbohydrates as an energy source, they have no use for sugar in their diet. In fact, too much sugar can be harmful for cats, causing obesity, diabetes, and dental problems.

They Can Still Taste Other Flavors

Even though cats cannot taste sweetness, they can still enjoy other flavors in their food. Cats have taste receptors for sour, bitter, salty, and umami (meaty) tastes. These help them identify safe and nutritious food sources in the wild.

They also have a special taste receptor that humans don’t have: one that detects adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule that provides energy to living cells. This receptor helps cats recognize meat as a high-quality food that meets their protein needs.

Cats Are Not Missing Out on Anything

You may feel sorry for your cat for not being able to taste sweetness, but don’t worry. Your cat doesn’t know what it’s missing and doesn’t care either. They are perfectly happy with their meaty wet food or dry kibble, as long as it satisfies their hunger and nutritional requirements.

Besides, cats have other ways of enjoying life besides eating sweets. They love playing with toys, napping in cozy spots, and getting petted by their owners. These are the things that make cats happy and content.

So next time you see your cat ignoring your ice cream or candy, don’t take it personally. Your cat is not being rude or ungrateful. It’s just being a cat!