What does a cat have in common with a bottlenose dolphin? Aside from being cute and having a plot to take over the world, the answer is: a total inability to taste sweets. Scientists have known for years that cats and their wild feline friends lions and tigers have lost the sweet receptors on their scratchy tongues, but new research reveals that bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, and spotted hyenas lack those receptors as well. Dolphins may also be unable to taste bitter and umami flavors. If you think your cat (or dolphin) is the exception to this rule, study author Gary Beauchamp says you're probably deluding yourself:
When we first published the data on cats, it got a tremendous amount of publicity and a lot of people saying, 'My cat likes sweets and you're wrong.' But invariably they liked ice cream or cake, and sweetness was confounded with fat and other things.
Or maybe, like Winston, your cat will just eat anything.