MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: Why do cats like bread?

Date: Sun Jun 13 12:46:23 1999
Posted By: Carol Crouse, , Food Technology, The Food Chain Ltd.
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 928866373.Gb

Hello, Marguerite.

You offered two possible answers to your question and the response to those 
is "sort of" and "yes".

I couldn't find any formal references to studies done regarding cats on a 
bread diet but, without dialoguing directly with the cats, it is reasonable 
to assume that, yes, some cats like the taste of bread products. 

As for your other point, it is not so much that the bread offers something 
not found in the cat's normal diet, but, more likely, that its diet is 
lacking some essential nutrient(s) and the cat is trying to find a 
food source to provide this missing nutrient.

Because they are true carnivores, cat's nutrient requirements are best 
filled by their eating meats.  There are some essential nutrients, found in 
meats, that are not present or are not in sufficient concentrations in 
plant-based foods.  Some of these include the amino acid taurine (of which 
meat is an excellent source with plants providing none), thiamine (meat is 
a good source, cereals are a fair source), niacin ( meat is an excellent 
source; the form of niacin in cereals cannot be utilized by cats), Vitamin 
A ( again meat/liver is an excellent source; cats require preformed Vitamin 
A, found only in animal foods) and protein (meat offers a concentrated 
source of protein to satisfy the feline dietary requirements).

So, if there is sufficient meat in the cat's diet, then he probably just 
likes the taste of a tidbit of bread which is okay as long as it is 
only occasional and that the bread doesn't fill the cat to the point where 
he cannot eat his meat-based diet.

Carol Crouse
The Food Chain Ltd.


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