Friday, 16 March 2012

Sweet Cats Turn Up Their Noses At Sugar

WHY do our carnivore cats turn up their noses at Kit Kats but wait expectantly by their bowls for Kitekat?

Bears, who are technically carnivores, would probably snaffle down a chocolate bar or two, given half a chance, especially if they contained honey.

The difference is that cats do not have sweet-taste receptors on their tongues but bears do.

Domestic cats aren’t the only carnivores to have no taste for sweet things. Their close relative the Asiatic lion is another. Now researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, USA, have discovered other species that lack the sweet receptor.

Researchers studied 12 species of carnivores and analyzed their taste-receptor genes to see if cats were the only ones that lacked the sweet taste receptor.

Of these the bottle-nosed dolphin, the sea lion, the fur seal, the Pacific harbor seal, the Asian otter, the spotted hyena, the fossa and the banded linsang also lacked the sweet-taste receptor.

The dolphin has even lost the ability to taste bitter substances, and has very few taste buds in general.

Sugars are carbohydrates but if your diet is practically all meat, there’s no need to keep the receptor intact.

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