Sense Of Taste In Cats

Sense Of Taste In Cats

It is quite impossible to know exactly how a cat tastes things. Even though they seem to smack their lips after a meal, the taste is something that the only the cat could tell us – were it able to do so. But cats have such different likes and dislikes in foods from ours that it is probably fair to say that they do not taste things in the same way as we do. Cats’ taste buds are located on their tongues – as are ours – but here the similarity would seem to end.

The cat’s tongue has a dual function: it uses it as a sort of muscular ladle which curls at the tip for lapping milk, and it is also on its tongue that its taste buds are located.

Q. Why is it that cats often prefer milk to which sugar has been added to plain milk?

This is quite common in cats and is strange because cats are not thought to recognise sweet tastes. It has been suggested that the addition of sugar may bring out extra flavours, so making the milk highly palatable.

Q. Is a kitten born with a sense of taste?

Sense Of Taste In CatsYes, a newborn kitten has a highly developed sense of taste, which becomes less acute the older it gets.

Q. My cat seems to go off his food when he has a cough. Why is this?

The cat’s sense of taste seems to be impaired when it is suffering from a respiratory infection, much as ours is when we have a cold or ‘flu. This is a familiar syndrome for us, so we should not be surprised by it.he cat is a faddy eater, as anyone who owns a cat and is responsible for feeding it will confirm. The cat’s sense of taste is known to be closely linked to its sense of smell because the nasal passage opens into the mouth, with impulses from both registering on the olfactory lobe in the brain. We know that cats have a very highly developed sense of smell, so it seems only logical that we can assume that goes, too, for its sense of taste.


The cat’s taste buds are located on its tongue, as are ours, but the cat does not seem to be able to detect the same tastes as us. This is true, in particular, of sweet tastes, which the cat does not appear to be able to discern, unlike other mammals. Sweet things are often known to upset a cat’s stomach and may be a cause of diarrhoea, so the fact that it cannot smell them may be nature’s way of protecting it, particularly as none of the foods that its body needs contains any appreciable amount of sugar.

  • Cats have a reputation for being finicky about their food: it seems that they are easily bored if they are presented with the same recipe day in, day out: like us, they like a varied and interesting menu.
  • The taste buds that are able to discern different types of taste are located on different areas on the cat’s tongue.
  • The cat is not able to detect sweet tastes. This may be nature’s way of protecting the cat because sugars are not good for them, causing upsets in the digestive system. Cats differ from dogs in this respect, as they have a notoriously sweet tooth.
  • The cat, like many other predatory mammals has a sense which is half way between smell and taste: flehmening.