“Sweet” means nothing to Cat

Pupu, Schro's Neighbor

Genetic studies conclude that cats cannot sense “sweetness”. Not only cat actually, but also most of its family such as tiger, lion, and cheetah. They are unable to recognize sweet taste; although “attractive” and “tasting” ability are used for mammals to detect calories.

Researchers looked into the genetic of cat family and found that they lack the 247 pairs of genetics called Tas1r2 gene, which encodes T1R2, one of two protein subunits that make the sweet taste receptor in most mammals. Scientists prejudiced that the protein was functioning in the common ancestor of the cat, but not anymore. Meanwhile, the partner subunit, namely T1R3, can function well.

Mammalian sweet-taste receptor is formed by the dimerization of two proteins (T1R2 and T1R3; gene symbols Tas1r2 and Tas1r3), scientist identified and sequenced both genes in the cat.  The cat Tas1r3 gene shows high sequence similarity with functional Tas1r3 genes of other species. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemical studies demonstrate that Tas1r3 is expressed, as expected, in taste buds. However, the cat Tas1r2 gene shows a 247-base pair microdeletion in exon 3 and stop codons in exons 4 and 6. There was no evidence of detectable mRNA from catTas1r2, and no evidence of protein expression by immunohistochemistry. Tas1r2 in tiger and cheetah and in six healthy adult domestic cats all show the similar deletion and stop codons. Scientist conclude that cat Tas1r3 is an apparently functional and expressed receptor but that cat Tas1r2 is an unexpressed pseudogene. A functional sweet-taste receptor heteromer cannot form, and thus the cat lacks the receptor likely necessary for detection of sweet stimuli. This molecular change was very likely an important event in the evolution of the cat’s carnivorous behavior.

Scientist then questioned:

“the cat become carnivores because they are can not recognizing a sweet taste, or otherwise they are disable the gene identifiers to taste sweet because they are carnivores?”

If we call our cat “sweety”; do they understand what is it mean? I think it’s no longer a good compliment that will interests them.

Pupu has a sweet smile

However, out of the taste sense, they are always look “sweet” for me, especially when they are smile

Source: Pseudogenization of a Sweet-Receptor Gene Accounts for Cats Indifference toward Sugar

Access to the full text (PDF) journal: Waltham International Nutritional Sciences Symposia


53 thoughts on ““Sweet” means nothing to Cat

  1. they may not be able to taste sweet, but they are the sweetest of creatures to have around and an unending source of comfort and pleasure. and, being as they are the only animal species that domesticated themselves, they are waaay smarter than we are. love the pics of pupu. continue…

  2. Love that Pupu! What a pretty kitty. And the photo of him licking his face is too cute. Thank you for the information. I did not know that cat’s cannot taste sweetness.

  3. Thanks for following my blog. Welcome aboard. Hope you continue to enjoy it. I am a cat person, just orange ones though. The smile on Pupu’s face is so cute!

  4. Buenos Dias! I noticed you had stopped by my blog for a visit. Thank You. So, I dropped in for a look at yours, and coincidentally I am just starting to illustrate a childrens’ book about a cat who wants to be a performer: dancer, acrobat, magician. She lives in an old-fashioned American theater around the 1930’s. So the first page of yours that I see is about cats. Your Pupu is so beautiful it is beyond belief. Look at that smile! Maybe I can use s(he) for a model.

    I will stop sharing Reeses Peanut Butter cups with kittys since they don’t appreciate the sweetness.

  5. Hi kofegeek, yes Cats are also sweet to me, I wonder if it really matters that they can’t taste sweet, it would be good if you had a weight problem but as they say we need a balance in all things including what we eat, we are not the same as animals we are of a higher order.

    All God’s creation is awesome as He is Awesome, lets always give thanks.

    Christian Love Anne

      • Hi kofegeek, it is the fat in our diet that increases weight quickly not sugar but our metabolism also contributes to how fast we burn up Cal’s or if it is stored, even too much honey is not good for us the Scriptures tell us . I once cut out all fat from my diet I lost weight but my skin went like sandpaper, we need a balance in everything, in our walk with the Lord it needs to be His balance not a worldly one.

        If your cat doesn’t overeat but is desexed it can be the reason for her overweight or she has her own stock of mice yuk! poor little critters 😦

        Christian Love Anne.

  6. Cats are sweet companions and sometimes a bit bossy as well! Thanks for sharing about cats and sweets and my appreciation for your sweet visit.
    ~ Abundant blessings and energy power for your blog 🙂

  7. Try telling this to my 15-year-old, Mr. StudlyMuffin, who will not leave me be until I share my ice cream with him. (Our 4-year-old, Malcolm McGillikitty, is nuts for peanut butter (ha), but I’m not sure that counts as sweet). Great post!

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