Can Cats Taste Spicy Food?
Last updated on February 24th, 2023 at 10:36 pm
Can cats taste spicy food? This is a question that every cat owner has probably asked themselves at some point in time. The truth is that even though cats are apex predators that have evolved over millions of years to have finely tuned senses, they can’t actually taste very well. Taste is the one major weakness when it comes to cats.
Compared to humans, who have about 9000 taste buds, cats are seriously lacking in the taste department. They only have about 470 taste buds. Additionally, cats can’t even taste sweetness. In the wild, cats have absolutely no reason to taste sweet things, since they are carnivores and only eat meat.
The two tastes that cats can definitely recognize are bitter and sour. These two tastes are critical for cat survival because they are often associated with harmful substances. For example, bitter and sour can be related to bad meat, which can make cats sick in the wild.
The Spicy Plant
When you think about spicy foods, you have to think about spicy chilies, which belong to the Capsicum plant family. Almost everything spicy that you eat belongs to this type of plant. The chilies all may be different, but they are part of the same plant family.
To understand whether cats can taste spicy, we need to take a closer look at how these plants work. For example, birds do not have taste receptors that react to capsaicin. Plus, the seeds of these plants go all the way through their digestive tract of a bird without ever being damaged. The reason for this is that the plants have evolved to attract animals that can spread their seeds while keeping away animals that can’t. When birds poop out the seeds, they help the plant to spread.
Mammals such as cats and humans are not very good at spreading around the seeds of plants. This is why when a person eats something spicy that contains capsaicin, they feel pain. The plants don’t want us eating them.
Oddly enough, a cat will react the exact same way to eating spicy food as people do. If a cat takes a bite out of your spicy dish, you might notice that its eyes begin to water and its nose will start to run. If your cat swallows the spicy food, they will then suffer irritation in the lining of their throat and stomach, just like you do when eating hot peppers.
Can Cats Taste Spicy Food?
So, can cats taste spicy food? The answer is a resounding no. Cats are not physically able to taste the spiciness in food. A better question to ask is: should cats eat spicy food? And the answer is also a resounding no. Like we already discussed, cats react badly to spices. Just like humans, cats simply can’t handle their spicy food.
Do Cats Like Spicy Food?
Even though cats can’t taste spice, they might still be attracted to spicy food. The bare truth is that it’s not actually the spice that your cat likes. There are a few other reasons why your cat might be trying to eat your spicy food or lick the leftovers off your plate!
Cats Have a Great Sense of Smell
Even though cats are lacking in the taste department, they still have a keen sense of smell. Cats use their noses to smell their food just like you or I might use our tongue to taste our food. If your cat is continuously attracted to your spicy dishes, it’s probably because the food smells good and your cat wants to eat it. But in fact, it has nothing to do with the spice.
Check out This Vet Article for more – https://vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk/a-cats-five-senses/
Cats Love Warm Food
If you’ve ever tried to give your cat food straight from the refrigerator, you probably noticed that it gets a little offended. This is because cats do not like cold foods. They absolutely hate it when they’re forced to eat things straight from the refrigerator. On the other hand, if you heat up that very same food, your cat will scarf it down immediately.
So, here’s the deal with cats and warm food. Because cats are carnivores, they naturally want to eat food that is warm. A cat’s instincts tell it to eat warm food because when it makes a kill in the wild, the prey is almost always going to be warm.
When it comes to spicy foods, these types of dishes are almost always hot when served. This means that your cat is going to be drawn to the warmth.
Cats Love Meat
Cats are carnivores, which means they love beef, chicken, and lamb. These meats are appealing to every single feline in the world. If your cat is trying to steal a few bites of your spicy chicken, it has nothing to do with the spice and everything to do with the chicken. You cat craves meat and it definitely doesn’t care what it tastes like!
Can Cats Eat Spicy Food?
Now that you know cats can’t taste spice and don’t care at all about spice, you might be wondering if you can still give spicy foods to your cat. The answer is no. You absolutely don’t want to give your cat hot sauce, unless you want to make your cat cry and have diarrhea. Anything made from chili peppers is going to be bad for your cat.
Another thing you should know is that spicy meats are often bad for cats as well. Things like pepperoni are filled with sodium and salt, and even salami can contain bacteria which is harmful to your cat. At this point, it has nothing to do with the spice and everything to do with not giving your cat unhealthy processed meats.
At the end of the day, you should always stick to feeding your cat proper cat food. If you really need to make your cat homemade meals, be sure to ask your veterinarian before throwing together a spicy curry!