Finicky Felines

Dogs have masters, but CATS have…staff?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Cats are notoriously picky eaters. What makes our feline friends so finicky? Adrian Hewson-Hughes at England’s Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition decided to find out.

Scientists presented cats with three food options. The balance of protein and fat in the food was consistent, but the flavors differed. Whiskers, would you like rabbit, fish, or orange? Overall, felines fancied fish first, and rabbit second. Orange was a distant third.

But when the nutritional composition differed across flavor options? Cats selected foods that reached the right nutritional balance of protein and fat. Regardless of added flavors! Some felines would even opt to eat orange-flavored chow if it had the ideal protein-to-fat ratio.

How cats can detect this ratio remains a mystery for now. But, we DO know that that our furry friends care more about nutrition than food flavor.

So when Fluffy refuses to eat her dinner, don’t take it personally. Those nutrients have to be purrrrfect! To get the cat’s “meow…”