It seems like a really stupid question to ask but have you ever really though about it? Its not like anyone can ask them personally. The answer is quite simple actually. The truth is if they really didn’t like what they were eating they wouldn’t bother eating it. You would think they are only eating it because they have to but that’s not the case. For instance my cat hates turkey and won’t touch turkey flavored cat food even if it’s the only thing in the house but will not have a problem eating other types of cat foods.
How Cats Taste
If you want to go deeper into a cats taste preference it might be helpful to understand the science of how a cat actually tastes. Humans have 9,000 taste buds whereas cats only have a measly 470 taste buds. What actually drives a cats appetite is the taste receptors that react to meat and fats.
The Jacobson’s Organ
Cats have something called the “Jacobson’s Organ” which is located on the roof of their mouth which connects to the mouth and the nasal passage. Cats and other animals use this organ to taste smells and pheromones. Cats do this by the odor hitting the tongue and rubbing the roof of their mouth. Humans can do this to an extent but cats take it to another level that we cannot do.
- Humans have the ability to taste sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami (savory/meaty). Cats can taste all of these as well (with the exception of sweet) but it far less reactive in comparison.
- Like I said previously cats don’t have taste receptors to taste sweet foods. There isn’t a need for them to since their diet doesn’t require sugar or carbohydrates. You might have a cat that is drawn to sweeter foods but the truth is it’s the fat content that they are attracted to since they are very good at detecting it.
- Cats really hate bitter and sour foods. They look at flavors like this as poison. In fact they hate it so much there are “bitter apple sprays” that you can buy to keep your cat from chewing on things and is used as a training tool.
Why Do Cats Like Dry Food?
Dry cat food is actually sprayed with something called “animal digest”. People commonly think it refers to something in the digestive tract but the term actually refers to how to the product is made. They add this in cat food for a variety of reasons such as adding protein and enhancing taste so its more palatable.
Another reason cats like dry food is because they like the shape of it. They also prefer larger pieces over smaller ones.
Why Do Cats Like Wet Food?
Well if you think about it cats are natural predators. Their diet consists of things like birds, rodents and other animals including insects. In other words they are obligate carnivores and like eating meat/poultry and that’s exactly what wet cat food is. Cats tend to like wet food warmer as it emulates freshly killed prey.
Why Do Some Cats Only Like Dry/Wet Food?
Some cats only prefer to eat dry or wet food but why is this exactly? Some cats grew up only eating a certain type of food whether its dry or wet and grew to have a preference for it as a result. Personality can also play a role in this. If you have a particularly nervous cat they might be more cautious in trying new foods and may never try other foods even if it smells good to them. This is referred to as “neophobia”.
Whether your cat eats dry or wet cat food and your cat doesn’t like it they will make it obvious they don’t enjoy eating it.