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Taste reactivity patterns in domestic cats ( Felis silvestris catus )

By R. van den Bos, M. K. Meijer, B. M. Spruijt

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The present study is aimed at finding taste reactivity patterns in domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) which reflect 'liking' or perceived palatability. Three groups of nonstressed cats living in households (Netherlands) were formed which a priori were expected to differ in motivational state for eating food items (more or less hungry), and which were offered 2 different food items differing in general taste properties (more or less flavourful food, MFF and LFF, respectively) around the time that they were fed their normal food. Analysis of the amount of food eaten showed that MFF was consumed regardless of hunger level and that LFF was consumed depending on the hunger level of cats: the more hungry cats ate more of LFF than the less hungry cats. Analysis of post-meal behavioural sequences showed that the 'MFF consumption sequence' differed from the 'LFF refusal sequence' and that the 'LFF consumption sequence' strongly resembled the 'MFF consumption sequence' but also contained elements of the 'LFF refusal sequence'. Subsequent analysis of the frequencies and total durations of behavioural patterns showed that 2 kinds of patterns existed, possibly reflecting 2 'palatability dimensions': hedonic taste reactivity patterns (lick/sniff feeding bowl, lip lick and groom face) and aversive taste reactivity patterns (lick/sniff food and lick nose). These dimensions may be combined to obtain a single palatability score.

Date 2000
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 69
Issue 2
Pages 149-168
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(00)00124-6
Language English
Author Address Animal Welfare Centre, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 17, NL-3584 CL Utrecht, Netherlands.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  4. Carnivores
  5. Cats
  6. Eating habits
  7. Feeding behavior
  8. Feed preferences
  9. Flavor
  10. Mammals
  11. palatability
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. Pets and companion animals
  14. taste
  1. peer-reviewed