I've read several times now that cat's can't taste 'sweet' because they don't have the appropriate taste buds.

However, one of ours seems to love sweet things - whenever we have cakes, biscuits etc she will be rubbing up against us or sniffing round hoping to find some crumbs she can eat. We're always careful to keep anything with Chocolate or raisins away from her as we know they're bad, but is there any problem with a few crumbs?

If it's not the sugar, is there something else in cakes and biscuits/cookies that she's attracted to?

3 Answers 3


My research so far indicates that cats indeed cannot taste sweet. Many types of cat food contain sugar nontheless, mostly as preservative and to give it a (for humans) tasty looking brown color.

Your post lets me assume that you are well aware that some common ingredients in human food are toxic to cats. Avoid feeding any of those, even in small quantities.

It's the protein that influences the taste of food most for cats. Since cookies usually don't contain meat, I doubt it's the taste attracting your cat.

There could be a number of different reasons why your cat wants some of the cookies.

  • It might be simple curiosity. You are putting human-kibbles into your mouth and your cat recognizes that you're eating them. So she wants some, too. Especially the crunchy sound of cookies might wake her interest, since it sounds quite like a cat munching on a mouse, including bones.
  • She might be expecting different food. Cats are very intelligent and know that people sitting at tables and the clatter of cuttlery on porcelain means that there's food nearby. Maybe she hopes for a piece of meat and gets sweets instead.
  • She might like the texture of those foods. Cakes and cookies have very different textures, so I'm not sure about this one.
  • The act of sharing food is a sign of love for cats (That's why many cat owners find half-eaten mice or birds parked on the doormat). She might expect the same gesture from you, even if your gift doesn't taste as good as hers.
  • She might not be asking for food at all, but for pets. Maybe she associates your eating cookies with being caressed and with social interactions in general. If you usually sit down to eat any of these, she has a perfect opportunity to interact with you.
  • Maybe there actually is something in those cookies that tastes good to her.
  • Thanks Elmy - yes, we are well aware of which foods to keep well away from her. Interestingly she doesn't do it when we're sitting at the table eating "proper food" - just when we're relaxing with a cake or similar
    – Nick C
    Oct 1, 2018 at 10:40
  • If I had to take a guess: most cookies and baked goods/sweets contain butter, which is definitely high on the "tasty" list for most cats. So that's probably the primary appeal in the cakes and cookies.
    – Allison C
    Sep 27, 2023 at 14:35

A friend's cat liked bread but not the crusts and once hollowed our a good portion of an unattended loaf. My current cat likes graham crackers, when she can steal them from me. Another cat I've known used to gather all the Cheerios her human-kitten dropped from the high chair, whether they had milk on them or not.

Remember that obligate carnivore means they must eat meat to get all the necessary amino acids, not that they can't eat some other things as well (in limited quantities). And kibble can be considered a meat cracker.

Also remember that humans aren't the only animals that sometimes eat stuff that isn't especially good for us, and sometimes that requires learning how to eat it.


I'd like to believe it's a behavioral thing, as the answer suggests, however I eat a lot of things in front of my 13 cats, and one in particular goes especially bananas for fortune cookies, marshmallows, and biscoff biscuits. My unscientific assumption is that vanilla is something they can taste and enjoy, which is from an orchid, and is safe.

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