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Fussy felines' bitterness revealed

Wednesday June 3rd 2015

Many cat owners know that it's not just young children who can be picky when it comes to their food.

But now new research suggests that feline fussiness could be down to the taste buds on their pets' tongues.

A team of scientists from AFB International and Integral Molecular compared the bitter taste receptors on the tongues of cats with human ones.

And after studying the responses of two taste receptors to various bitter compounds on a molecular level they concluded that cats taste different ranges of bitter flavours than people.

In one case a feline taste receptor was 10 times less sensitive to a specific bitter compound than the human version.

The cell-based experiments show cats are less sensitive to saccharin and aloe plants but ultra-sensitive to a compound called denatonium.

It is thought the ability to detect bitter compounds may have evolved as a way of avoiding the poisonous compounds that are often in plants.

Copyright Press Association 2015