Taste preferences and diet palatability in cats

PEKEL A. Y. , Mulazimoglu S. B. , Acar N.

JOURNAL OF APPLIED ANIMAL RESEARCH, vol.48, no.1, pp.281-292, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 48 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09712119.2020.1786391
  • Page Numbers: pp.281-292


The taste of food is an essential characteristic for cats and has been shown to affect food selection. However, understanding of food selection by cats using taste characteristics is far from complete. Therefore, the aim of the present review was to summarize the current knowledge on food preference and the role of taste on this selection in domestic cats. Appetite regulation is one of the determinants of palatability in cats and involves a highly complex interplay between hypothalamus, adipose tissue, and digestive tract. However, knowledge on this interplay is scarce in cats. When evaluating different foods for cats, behavioural responses such as facial expressions involving the movements and positions of ears, tongue, and head can provide increased insight into the effectiveness of formulating a more palatable diet. This paper also reviews food additives currently used in industry for enhancing the palatability of cat foods. In summary, a better understanding of the factors that affect the food preference in cats is essential to produce high-quality foods because cats will not eat a food with a flavour they dislike even though it is complete and nutritionally balanced.