Cats love to eat. They are open to experiencing new flavors and tastes, which is why they don’t mind eating the same food that their pet owners enjoy. But are cats able to taste spicy foods?
Most foods that are spicy are meat-based, which is why they’re usually appetizing to cats. As you know, cats love to eat meat and all kinds of meat-based products.
In case you didn’t know, spicy foods are toxic to your feline friends and can lead to dangerous consequences. But despite this, some cats still enjoy eating these foods. This is because cats are curious by nature and they just love to imitate their masters.
Can Cats Taste Spicy Foods?
Cats can’t taste spicy things. Many experts believe that cats have lost their ability to recognize a sweet taste since they really don’t need to in the wild. That’s because cats are carnivores and rely on meat in order to survive.
In the wild, cats don’t encounter sugar. As their taste buds evolved, they eventually started ignoring it completely. Their ability to recognize bitter taste is also their way of surviving in the wild since most plants that are toxic to them have a bitter taste.
Just like with sweets, cats don’t encounter much spicy food in the wild. Besides, hot and spicy foods are mainly human tradition. So cats won’t be able to appreciate spicy foods that much.
Although cats don’t get to taste anything spicy, they could still feel the impact. The spicy taste in food usually stems from the chili that’s added to it. Chilies contain capsaicin, which gets released when we taste it. It will bind itself to our mouth in the same place where the pain is felt. This is the reason why the spicy taste of chili will leave us with a runny nose and teary eyes.
What If Your Cat Eats Spicy Food?
It’s not only the cat’s mouth that will be affected whenever they eat something spicy. Spicy food can also affect their digestive tract.
This is mainly due to the capsaicin, which will make its presence known as soon as it gets to your cat’s mouth. Eventually, your pet will feel uncomfortable and will make them spit the food out.
However, there are instances when cats end up swallowing the food instead. When this happens, the capsaicin could irritate their throat and the lining of their stomach. Soon, your cat will vomit and suffer from diarrhea until the chili is removed from its tummy.
There’s also a possibility that your pet could end up dehydrated as a result of eating spicy foods. Cats rarely drink liquids and eating spicy foods could aggravate this. That’s because spicy foods have the tendency to eliminate any traces of the remaining fluids in the body.
But Why Are Cats Attracted to Spicy Food?
The National Geographic states that the only animals that have an affinity for chili are the Chinese tree shrews. But if cats cannot recognize spicy food, why do some cats love it? This is actually something that experts are still trying to figure out.
It’s worth noting that when cats eat, they don’t just rely on their sense of taste to appreciate their meals. They also use their sense of smell to recognize the food they are eating. If they don’t like the smell of the food, they will most likely decline it.
Foods that are spicy have an extremely strong scent, something that can capture the attention of cats. And if they see their masters enjoying the food a lot, they will be more curious to give the food a try.
Aside from the strong smell, spicy foods have a temperature that’s somewhat appealing to cats. Cats don’t appreciate cold food at all. They prefer their food to be a bit hot, which is similar to the temperature of spicy foods. However, piping hot dishes that come straight from the oven are not appealing to them either.
Spicy foods are usually served hot, which is why cats find these foods tempting. Only a few spicy foods have the tendency to burn your mouth when it comes to temperature and taste.
If you think about the texture of spicy foods, a lot of times, these foods are tender and meat-based. For instance, you’ve ordered a spicy meat-based Indian food for takeout. Whether it has chicken, beef, or lamb meat, this food will be appetizing to your feline friend. Even chili con carne that comes with delicious and moist meat is tempting to cats.
The presence of meat will remind them of their prey in the wild, which is hard for them to resist.
Can Your Cat Get Allergic to Spices?
Cats can be allergic to anything, whether it’s plastic, food, and even grass!
Even a seemingly innocuous surrounding could trigger an allergic reaction to your pet. Cats are also allergic to certain spices, most especially cinnamon, which can trigger major difficulty for the pet.
Although the cinnamon is non-toxic to cats, they could trigger allergies when consumed in large quantities.
A quick lick from a teaspoon used on cinnamon may not cause damage to your pet but if your cat ends up eating a spicy meal with cinnamon, this can have devastating effects. Also, if your cat ends up eating a cinnamon stick, this will surely make it sick.
The reason behind the allergic reactions of cats on cinnamon is the coumarin, a chemical compound that’s sometimes used to poison rats. While it may be harmful to cats, coumarin is safe on humans. As a matter of fact, coumarin could thin the blood and manage one’s blood sugar level. But cats have tiny bodies, which is why this compound could damage their liver.
You have to be careful with the type of food that you feed to your cat.
While we would love for them to enjoy the same food that we enjoy, not everything that we eat is safe for your pet. As stated above, spicy foods are not good for your cats.
So even if your pet is showing interest in the spicy food that you’re eating, don’t ever give in! Instead, feed your cat with the proper cat food that can give nourishment to its body.