Compared to humans, the cat’s sense of taste is weak. We have 9,000 taste buds, while they have only 473. They make up for this deficiency with a superior sense of smell. The preferred temperature for feline food is 86 degrees Fahrenheit–the same temperature as the cat’s tongue. Food straight from the refrigerator doesn’t appeal to Kitty, whose wild ancestors ate freshly killed prey. Try heating Kitty’s food to intensify the aroma if he is not eating well. We’ve found that pet treats from Melaleuca.com heat up really well after just a few seconds in the microwave.
Like humans, cats are responsive to four basic tastes: sour, bitter, salt, and sweet. Being strict carnivores, their response to “sweet” is much weaker than ours, almost to non-existence. As the cat’s most powerful response to food is through his sense of smell, not taste, is it any wonder that he may simply sniff at the expensive delicacy you just put down for him and walk away (or try to bury it) without even tasting it?
There’s no doubt that cats are self-cleaning. They spend about one-third of their waking hours grooming themselves. Unfortunately, much of this grooming time seems to be spent performing this ritual on our beds while we are attempting to fall asleep. If this has been your experience, then you are already familiar with the sequence in feline auto grooming. They follow a certain order to perform the daunting task to groom and re-groom every hair on their body, in the following order:
- Lick the lips
- Lick the side of one paw until it is wet
- Rub the wet paw over the head, including ear, eye, cheek, and chin
- Wet the other paw in the same way
- Rub the other paw over that side of the head
- Lick front legs and shoulders
- Lick flanks
- Lick genitals
- Lick hind legs
- Lick tail from base to tip