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We have had a small pot on the kitchen counter with sugar for a really long time but just the last week my cat started looking for it. He never showed interest in sugar since very recently. He tries to get it open and when he manages, he starts licking it.

It's this change of cravings something that I should be concerned with?

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Cats are actually unable to taste sweetness, so it is unlikely the cat is seeking sugar. However, he may have started investigating this out if curiosity, and continued because he noticed that it got a reaction from the humans.

(One of my cats wants to at least have a taste of anything the human is eating, just to find out what it is, and has sometimes decided it is an interesting flavor or texture even though it tastes different to her.)

Or -- pure speculation -- he may be picking up traces of a mouse having been near the sugar...?

Re whether it's safe: Medical science has been moving toward an opinion that sugar in more than minimal quantities is as bad for us as we used to think fats were, and in fact may be the real cause if some of the metabolic illnesses we had been attributing to fats. A cat's metabolism is a bit different, but I don't think it's that different, and "minimal quantities" is much smaller for a much smaller animal. So I think it's probably safer to discourage this new habit.... or at least not reinforce it.

  • I didn't know cats could not taste sweet, I looked it up and turns out it is true. I don't see where we have any other posts that call this out as clearly. Can you expand on how/why this is and add a couple references? I can see this post being a good reference for other answers. – James Jenkins Dec 9 '16 at 15:21
  • ThanksRemember, evolution doesn't occur for a reason; random variation occurs and then I'd either selected for, selected against, or has no significant effect and persists until something else forces it to change. I have no idea whether this gene was linked to something else that was actually useful, but it has very little adverse effect on a carnivore so there was no selection against it. – keshlam Dec 9 '16 at 21:03

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