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SimpleSimon
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Why Cats are So Moody

Interesting article. Might explain a great deal about the characters of cats.

quote:

Genetics Leave Felines Without Sweet Tooth

By PAUL ELIAS, AP Biotechnology Writer2 hours, 54 minutes ago

Cats are notoriously finicky eaters, as millions of pet owners can attest. Now, there's a scientific theory explaining, at least in part, why cats have such snobby eating habits: genetics.

Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia and their collaborators said Sunday they found a dysfunctional feline gene that probably prevents cats from tasting sweets, a sensation nearly every other mammal on the planet experiences to varying degrees.

Researchers took saliva and blood samples from six cats, including a tiger and a cheetah and found each had a useless gene that other mammals use to create a "sweet receptor" on their tongues. The gene in question does not produce one of the two vital proteins needed to form the receptors.

"Because cats can't taste sweets, they're cranky," joked Joseph Brand, Monell's associate director and an author of the paper being published Sunday in the inaugural issue of the Public Library of Science's journal Genetics.

The Public Library of Science aims to make such research freely available online and was launched out of frustration with rising subscription costs of prestigious research print journals, some of which cost more than $11,000 a year.

Instead of charging a subscription fee, the nonprofit organization charges authors $1,500 per paper submitted.

Brand said the "pseudogene" in cats is probably a big reason why they are carnivores that get by on a high-protein, "Atkin's-like" diet.

"Its sense of taste has driven it to become a meat eater," Brand said. "Losing their sweet receptor has probably changed their dietary habits."

Brand said the paper is a culmination of a lingering question that nagged at him since he visited the Philadelphia Zoo with a colleague 25 years ago to watch the feeding habits of big cats.

All mammals have receptor cells on their tongues that send taste signals to the brain to process. The receptor cells are clustered together as taste buds. Each human taste bud is comprised of 50 to 100 receptor cells representing the five major taste sensations: salty, sour, sweet, bitter and umami, the taste of the food additive MSG and fermented soy products, among other foods.

Most mammals' sweet receptors are created by two proteins, one of which cats are missing.

The study was paid for, in part, by the research arm of the pet food giant Mars Inc., which is looking to make better-tasting cat food. The company has the rights of first refusal to commercialize the discovery published Sunday, Brand said.

Brand said the discovery could help veterinarians treat ill cats.

"Everyone knows that cats are finicky," said Brand, who owns two cats. "And one big issue is how to make food palatable enough for a sick cat to eat."

The research team also received funding from the National Institute of Health, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Science Foundation. Brand declined to say how much the project cost.

The nonprofit Monell center studies the senses of smell and taste and has produced a number of scientific breakthroughs, including a study published in May showing that the sexual area of a gay man's brain works much like that of a woman when exposed to a chemical from the male hormone testosterone.

Researchers said that beyond improving the taste of cat food, the study will help scientists better understand food-related diseases such as diabetes in humans — and how diet influences evolution.

"This may have implications for all sorts of medical conditions," said Dr. Alan Hirsch, founder of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. Hirsch, who was not affiliated with the study, said that the study suggests obesity and related diseases such as diabetes are caused by more than simply overindulging a sweet tooth.

"Even in the absence of the taste for sweets, cats still get heavy," Hirsch said.

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Old Post 07-25-2005 04:02 AM
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billgerat
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Improving the taste of cat food? The fixed incomers will be glad for that.

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Old Post 07-25-2005 04:53 AM
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Large Filipino
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That must explain why cat food is so damm salty.

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Old Post 07-25-2005 06:28 AM
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ItsJustLogan
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quote:
Originally posted by Large Filipino
That must explain why cat food is so damm salty.


but it doesn't explain why you know that

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Old Post 07-25-2005 11:23 AM
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aminal
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Every time yuou masturbate

http://selfdestruct.net/kitties/#everytime

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Old Post 07-25-2005 12:21 PM
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PNG
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why on earth cat food stinks that bad, if they could only make one that doesnt smell that bad, i'll join my Zuzu the cat for dinner, dine with a cat... im wondering if that will bring our relation to a new way. lol, will i make love with a cat ... kitten shish, brrrr what a sight

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Old Post 07-25-2005 05:14 PM
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Rokkr
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quote:
Originally posted by PNG
why on earth cat food stinks that bad, if they could only make one that doesnt smell that bad, i'll join my Zuzu the cat for dinner, dine with a cat... im wondering if that will bring our relation to a new way. lol, will i make love with a cat ... kitten shish, brrrr what a sight

I suppose the manufacturers assume that anyone who can stand having an animal defecate within the confines of their home wouldn't have a problem with their food being a bit stinky.

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Old Post 07-25-2005 06:29 PM
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Smug Git
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quote:
Originally posted by Rokkr
I suppose the manufacturers assume that anyone who can stand having an animal defecate within the confines of their home wouldn't have a problem with their food being a bit stinky.


We are animals that defecate within our own home. Cats are much fussier about smells (of urine and faeces) than we are, anyhow, and much more sensitive to them.

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Old Post 07-25-2005 06:32 PM
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ignatz mouse
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maybe, but a life without chocolate . . . never mind, my mind can't encompass the horror.

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Old Post 07-25-2005 06:37 PM
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Rokkr
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We use flush toilets smug..well at least a good many of us do.

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Old Post 07-25-2005 06:38 PM
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SimpleSimon
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So did my cat, Rokkr. She didn't flush, but she used the toilet regularly.

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Old Post 07-25-2005 07:15 PM
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Large Filipino
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quote:
Originally posted by ItsJustLogan
but it doesn't explain why you know that


I was hungry. Oh Kay?

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Old Post 07-26-2005 04:43 AM
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rodney
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They don't know what it's like to have it so they aren't really missing anything. I've noticed many siamese cats love cantelope, of course they're fucking crazy so that might just be it.

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Old Post 07-26-2005 06:58 PM
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SimpleSimon
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Sniff a ripe cantaloupe sometime. Sort out the odors that make up that complex scent. Underlying the sweetness is a distinct odor of ripening meat.

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Old Post 07-26-2005 07:01 PM
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ignatz mouse
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cats are weird. I had a cat that ate graham crackers and lettuce. Evil Kitty won't eat tuna but she loves chicken and ice cream.

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Old Post 07-26-2005 07:05 PM
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SimpleSimon
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quote:
Originally posted by ignatz mouse
cats are weird. I had a cat that ate graham crackers and lettuce. Evil Kitty won't eat tuna but she loves chicken and ice cream.


And human blood.

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Old Post 07-26-2005 07:29 PM
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ignatz mouse
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true, that. though I think it's the thrill of torture and the screams she prefers to the blood.

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Old Post 07-26-2005 07:54 PM
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SimpleSimon
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Is that why she laid there and licked the blood off my wrist?

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Old Post 07-27-2005 01:49 AM
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Rokkr
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The previous dialogue sounds like some really whacky foreplay.

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Old Post 07-27-2005 02:38 AM
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SimpleSimon
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quote:
Originally posted by Rokkr
The previous dialogue sounds like some really whacky foreplay.


In a bizarre way, it could be.

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Old Post 07-27-2005 02:49 AM
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ignatz mouse
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ah, the internet. next thing you know I'll be ordering a pizza for some freak giant who lives in colorado.

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Old Post 07-27-2005 03:39 AM
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Large Filipino
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Don't forget the anchovies!

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Old Post 07-28-2005 04:15 AM
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Mordecai
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Ordering pizzas for asylumites in other states is OLD, like so 2001.

-m

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