The Winn Feline Foundation has just released a study that showed that cats lack a glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) response to glucose. GIP is a hormone secreted from the intestine upon ingestion of glucose or nutrients to stimulate insulin secretion from pancreatic cells. In other words, a hormone that helps metabolize glucose. They concluded, that this lack of GIP response makes the cat relatively glucose intolerant which might lead to inappropriate glycemic control in cats fed a diet high in carbohydrates.
This study proves, yet once again, that cats should have little to no carbs in their diets. A low carbohydrate feline diet is less likely to produce diabetes in a cat and if diabetes does occur, a low carbohydrate diet along with meds may be essential for glucose control in most cats.
Sweetness is detected by a specific receptor protein (‘taste bud’) in the tongue. Cats are known to be insensitive to sweet tastes. Researchers analyzed the genes encoding the taste buds in twelve different carnivorous species, including cats. They found that those species such as cats, whose diet is exclusively meat-based (obligate carnivores), had lost the gene encoding the taste bud for sweetness. Other affected species included dolphins, sea lions, seals, otters, and hyenas. It appears that the ability to taste sweets has been lost in most carnivorous species since a meat-based diet does not consist of sugars or carbs, there was no need to be able to detect (or enjoy!) these substances. Continue reading
Cats and dogs drink differently. Dogs use their tongues like a scoop to lift and pull water into their mouths. Cats, on the other hand, rapidly flick the tip of their tongues on the water, drawing up a column of liquid to their mouths.
Watching in slow motion reveals that cats of all sizes have a very elaborate way of drinking. First, they move the tip of their tongue onto the surface of the water to flick the water up so that a little jet of liquid flies into the air. Then, in a flash, they catch the jet in their mouth.
No one knows why cats have developed this method of drinking but it may be because they did not need to develop a fast and efficient way of drinking since they evolved in the desert and receive most if not all of their water from their prey. Continue reading