Can Cats Taste When Something is Spicy?

Cat and spicy food

There are five basic tastes. For those who are unfamiliar, these would be bitterness, saltiness, savoriness, sourness, and sweetness. Some people might find that to be rather strange. After all, spiciness is sometimes seen as a sort of sixth basic taste. However, it is important to note that this taste isn’t a taste. Instead, it is a combination of the tongue’s ability to sense heat as well as the tongue’s ability to sense pain. Can cats eat spicy food?

Can Cats Taste Spiciness?

A lot of people think that animals have better senses than we do. However, it is more accurate to say that different animals have different senses than we do. For example, cats are famous for having better low-light vision than we do, which makes sense because they were meant to operate during dawn and dusk. Similarly, cats are much better at picking up on fast movements than we are, which makes sense because they were meant to hunt small, fast-moving prey. In other respects, cats have poorer vision than humans. From our perspective, our feline companions are near-sighted, which isn’t even mentioning how they see a smaller range of colors than we do. All of this makes sense because cats lived under different circumstances from humans, thus causing their eyes to evolve in different ways.

This extends to the comparisons of other senses as well. For instance, cats are quite different from humans when it comes to their sense of taste. They tend to be quite good at tasting bitterness. Something that might explain why a lot of cats are very picky eaters. In contrast, cats have no ability to taste sweetness whatsoever because they just don’t have the taste buds needed to do so. At some point, they lost those taste buds, which apparently didn’t hinder them enough for it to be a genetic dead end. In fact, there is some speculation that cats evolved into obligate carnivores because they couldn’t taste sweetness. In any case, cats do seem to be capable of tasting spiciness. After all, their tongue can sense heat as well as pain, so it makes sense that they would be capable of tasting spiciness. However, cats aren’t necessarily very fond of spicy foods, though to be fair, humans aren’t necessarily very fond of spicy foods either. As a result, when they eat something spicy, it is possible that they will show it by exhibiting various signs of distress. Distressed vocalization is one possibility. Moreover, cats might experience vomiting, diarrhea, and other kinds of gastrointestinal distress, particularly since the spiciness can have an unpleasant effect on their digestive system.

Why Might Cats Be Attracted to Spicy Foods Anyway?

Despite this, some cats might be attracted to spicy foods anyway. There isn’t a single reason why this kind of thing happens. Instead, there are numerous potential reasons for such behavior, more than one of which can be relevant for a particular case. For starters, cats have an excellent sense of smell. As a result, it is possible that they have smelled something in the spicy food that is pleasing to them, thus causing them to be attracted to it even if they might not necessarily react well to eating it. Indeed, it is very common for spices themselves to have strong smells. Likewise, it could be that cats are attracted to the warmth of the spicy food that is being served.

Apparently, they might respond well to warmer foods because that reminds them of fresh-caught prey. Something that would have made up the bulk of their ancestors’ diet under natural conditions. On top of this, it is possible that cats are attracted to the ingredients that can be found in the spicy food. After all, a lot of spicy foods contain meat of one kind or another, which tends to be very pleasing to cats because of the latter’s nature as obligate carnivores. Besides these things, it is possible that the cat is just hungry. Simply put, animals can afford to be choosy when they are feeling full. However, if they are feeling hungry, well, suffice to say that tends to make them much less picky about what they are willing to put in their mouths.

Should You Feed Your Cat Spicy Foods?

There isn’t a simple and straightforward answer to whether cat owners should feed their cats spicy foods or not. This is because there is a wide range of spicy foods made using a wide range of ingredients. In any case, there are some cats that will refuse to eat spicy foods, which is fair because that can have some very unpleasant effects on them. Having said that, there are some things that should never be fed to cats even if they are willing to eat them. To name an example, cinnamon shouldn’t cause too many problems if a cat eats a very small quantity by accident. Unfortunately, if they eat more than that, they can suffer from cinnamon poisoning. Something that can result in symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, panting, wheezing, and a weakened heart rate. Similarly, garlic and anything in the same genus as garlic should be considered absolutely off-limits for cats.

They cause a cat’s red blood cells to be destroyed, thus leading to anemia. Suffice to say that won’t do wonders for a cat’s health. Of course, there are also spicy foods that can be bad for cats for other reasons. For instance, consider pepperoni. Cats enjoy meat, but cats shouldn’t be fed processed meat of any kind. Often-times, they contain large amounts of sodium, which is an issue because it is very easy for cats to take in too much salt. On top of that, the preservatives in processed meats can be bad for them as well. Summed up, if people are thinking about feeding spicy foods to their cats, they should speak with their veterinarian. They can do research on their own. However, their veterinarian should have a professional’s understanding of their cat, meaning that their veterinarian should be able to offer insights that are hard to find elsewhere. This is particularly true when it comes to portions because there are many, many things that are alright in certain quantities but not in others.

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