Does your cat have a food fetish?

cat_in_refrigerator

Cats are obligate carnivores, and they need meat not just to thrive, but to survive. Most cats prefer a diet heavy on meat, poultry, or fish. As carnivores, they don’t need carbs, so they really shouldn’t even like things like vegetables or fruit. And yet, there are cats who love asparagus, cantaloupe, pumpkin and all sorts of other strange foods.

Additionally, according to a  report from Scientific American, cats lack the ability to taste sweetness, unlike every other mammal examined to date. And yet, there are cats who love things like ice cream and flavored yogurt.

Cats have a reputation for being finicky eaters. But maybe that’s just what they’d like us to think? Maybe they just have a hankering for something a little different on those days when they turn up their little noses at what’s in their bowls?

My first cat, Feebee, loved almost everything that was people food. I blamed my former husband for this: he would feed him table scraps of everything that he ate himself, and Feebee rarely declined an offering. Some of the stranger things he liked were melon, lettuce coated in salad dressing, and just about any kind of cracker. Virginia, my first office cat at the animal hospital, loved yogurt, especially the flavored kind. Peach was her favorite.

Amber and Buckley didn’t care for people food – most likely, because they were never offered any. Allegra and Ruby don’t eat people food, either. I never gave it ot them, and with a few exceptions, they show very little interest in anything but their raw food and their freeze-dried treats. Allegra likes to taste-test my morning smoothies. Banana usually gets a paws up; berries – not so much. I add greens to my smoothies, and on days when I go a little too heavy on the spinach or kale, she scrunches up her little nose and walks away. The only time Ruby is even remotely curious about people food is on the rare occasion when I eat fish at home.

Any of these strange foods are probably okay for your cat, as long as it’s a tiny piece, and only an occasional treat. If you have a cat who, against what science tells us, has a sweet tooth, be careful that you don’t let her get into any products sweetened with Xylitol, which, even though it is a natural sweetener that is safe for humans, is highly toxic and even deadly to pets. Unfortunately, it’s also found in anything from flavored yogurt to chewing gum to mouthwashes.

But I want to hear from you. What strange things do your cats like to eat?

Photo: istockphoto

48 Comments on Does your cat have a food fetish?

  1. Angie
    December 22, 2018 at 10:59 am (5 months ago)

    My cat Stewart has a really bad obsession with veggie straws and most chips. The my other cats Martin and Bubba have this thing with gummies and bread

    Reply
  2. Sarah
    April 1, 2018 at 6:04 pm (1 year ago)

    My black kitty likes: pickles, honeydew, strawberries, chips, vegan butter, cucumbers, peanut butter, raw potatoes, lemons… the list goes on. We are very careful to not leave anything out on the counters; however, we have moments when we walk to the bathroom and little Simon gets himself a treat.

    Reply
  3. Sarah
    October 24, 2017 at 10:52 pm (2 years ago)

    My cat usually tries to take a bite out of strawberry twizzlers, she likes to lick gelatin gummies (like betty crocker or kelloggs fruit gummies), she sneaks licks of a lollipop if I’m not looking, and most recently she was licking the inside cap of a dairy-free berry smoothie. She also likes coconut oil and pumpkin/acorn(?) squash. The list goes on, but there are things I can’t let her have much but she still likes to lap up if I’m not careful (like spaghetti sauce). But my cat definitely likes sweets.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 25, 2017 at 5:24 am (2 years ago)

      That’s really unusual! Supposedly cats can’t taste sweets, but clearly, yours can!

      Reply
  4. Zepngirl
    May 11, 2017 at 2:04 am (2 years ago)

    Any idea why my cat . (Solid black about 2yrs of age now ) will gobcrazy over only the srawberry red ,flat square fruit roll ups . But mot the long skinny ones that roll out .

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 11, 2017 at 4:59 am (2 years ago)

      What an unusual food obsession! Some of these fruit roll ups contain oils – that’s what your cat may be attracted to.

      Reply
    • Maria
      July 21, 2018 at 9:29 am (10 months ago)

      Mine is the same, it’s odd. She loves fruity candy – all fruit candy though. She stole a fruit roll up from me before and goes crazy for those types of candies. If she hears the sugar in a pack of sour patch kids she will bolt over.

      Reply
  5. Lars Morgan
    January 26, 2016 at 4:01 pm (3 years ago)

    Also, my friend, Cathi, has two cats which live and breathe for instant mashed potatoes! She will make up a bowl and find them munching secretly…and SHARING (which is totally unlike them) the bowl, just to get it….when her back is turned.

    Reply
  6. Lars Morgan
    January 26, 2016 at 4:16 am (3 years ago)

    I have a short-haired, common gray tabby, who has been raised indoors only, that has a food fetish for…and I never gave her this as kitten…tapioca pudding in a snack cup. We have always assumed that it was the creamy texture, but of late she has shown an interest in jams and jellies as well. She will steal them off the plate when I am not looking. Her “adopted” sister is a calico who I bottle raised in the house when I fostered a litter after they were left at an abandoned home at less than a week old. My calico has a fetish for anything plastic that “rustles” and will attack and carry off, to gnaw on later, the plastic bags used to wrap in-store vegetables, prescription grocery bags, and the like. We have decided with her it is the “mouth-feel” of the thicker material, but…who knows? Maybe it has to do that she was raised “inside” a plastic tub and she and sisters “tusseled” in the box, climbing out by claw and tooth to discover the world from there???

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 26, 2016 at 5:31 am (3 years ago)

      There’s a theory that cats are drawn to plastic because in some cases fish oil is used in the manufacturing process. It is thought that cats can smell this. Make sure your kitty doesn’t ingest any of the plastic she chews.

      Reply
    • Roxyie1122
      February 25, 2016 at 5:41 pm (3 years ago)

      Cats are drawn to plastic because it’s made with animal fats, especially those plastic bags. Do not let them chew on plastic, regardless of how strong the fetish or addiction. It’s harmful!

      Reply
  7. Dawn
    January 16, 2016 at 2:31 pm (3 years ago)

    My cats are all quite different but for the most part, they all like spaghetti squash. I cook it with a little butter and they go nuts eating it! I have others that like broccoli, yogurt, different flavors, corn, green beans, rice, and pretty much all that I try to let them have. Of course they love their own food, wet and dry but they love their “treats” once in a while.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 16, 2016 at 5:08 pm (3 years ago)

      That’s quite a selection of things your cats like, Dawn!

      Reply
  8. Becca
    October 21, 2015 at 7:30 am (4 years ago)

    My cat has a taste for fruity things applesauce, fruit cups, even fruit flavored candy. Like sour gummy worms and ring pops. Her name is Cali. Wonder why cats acquire a taste for such strange things.

    Reply
  9. Kathryn Martin
    August 6, 2015 at 8:18 pm (4 years ago)

    I’ve got 3 indoor cats and they all like pumpkin. Blackie my 19lb 3 yr.old likes applesauce, juice from any fruit or veggie, even beans, in a can, asparagus, jicama, spinach and watermelon. Little Brother, 12lb 6 yrs. likes pepper jack cheese. Prissy, 8lbs, 2 yrs only likes meat.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 7, 2015 at 6:02 am (4 years ago)

      Sounds like Prissy is the only one who knows she’s a cat, Kathryn! 😉

      Reply
  10. Tarah
    February 6, 2013 at 11:11 pm (6 years ago)

    oh p.p.s. they get raw chicken legs as a special treat and this is their favorite thing EVER. they get all primal and it’s super cute as long as you don’t go anywhere near while they’re guarding those bones. they growl, shake the legs around like they aren’t dead yet, and chomp down all but a little of the bone. if you decide to try this, always supervise (in case of stuck bone issues – rare, but can be serious) and never feed cooked bone as it can splinter in the digestive tract.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 7, 2013 at 6:03 am (6 years ago)

      Raw chicken legs (or necks or wings) are a great way to help keep your cat’s teeth clean. And you’re absolutely right: never give cooked bones to cats.

      Reply
  11. Tarah
    February 6, 2013 at 11:07 pm (6 years ago)

    haha I just found this page while doing an internet search to figure out why my cat loves fruit and vegetables so much if she’s supposed to be an obligate carnivore.

    Anyway, Samwise will eat anything protein-y: yogurt, cheese, eggs, lentils, beans, tofu, meat/fish (obviously). He also likes bread products, avocadoes, and pretty much any soup. He’s weird.

    Earl Grey is REALLY crazy (she’s the one who prompted the search). She absolutely LOVES salad greens (will steal them off my plate), spinach stems, avocadoes, cabbage, and everything Samwise eats except she’s not big on bread products. One time we had a party at the house, and she stole a raw broccoli floret off a platter. Today, she snarfed down a piece of tangerine.

    They both get limited outside time and commence studiously chomping on grass as soon as I let them out the door. I actually started bringing grass in sometimes because I hear it’s good for the digestive tract / hairball passing. Guess it’s working so far – no hairball problems here. If you do this, make sure your grass comes from a pesticide-free area.

    p.s. just so you don’t think i’m a horrible person, my cats get meals of real cat food (meat), but every once in a while it sure is tempting to see what crazy thing they’ll eat 🙂

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 7, 2013 at 6:01 am (6 years ago)

      Those are some pretty interesting food fetishes, Tarah!

      Reply
  12. Ann
    April 12, 2012 at 10:21 am (7 years ago)

    It would never have entered my mind to give a cat people food, even though I always gave it to my dogs. However, shortly after I adopted my second cat, Scout, I made myself a ham sandwich and left the room to get something else. I returned to find the ham walking across the table (with Scout’s assistance). Ham is probably the favorite food of all of my cats but I recently read that ham is not good for cats so they don’t get it anymore. But they still sit at the refrigerator door crying for it.

    My oldest cat Parker, a two year old Manx, loves raw eggs. If he hears me taking the egg carton out of the refrigerator he is right there to clean out the empty eggshells.

    Occasionally I buy a whole beef tenderloin and I just about have to lock myself in a closet to trim it. I give them each a tiny piece.

    My youngest, Erin, loves baby food. When she was a kitten, she was sick for a few days and the vet said to give her chicken or turkey baby food (watch out for onion powder).

    When I became aware that many baby foods contain onion powder, I started paying more attention to food labels and I was amazed at how many foods contain onion powder. Now I am afraid to give them any people food.

    Reply
  13. Deborah Julian
    April 11, 2012 at 6:39 pm (7 years ago)

    Our cat Sammy loves Pecorino Romano cheese. He will come running when he hears us get the container out of the refrigerator.

    http://www>DeborahJulian.etsy.com

    Reply
  14. Pam
    April 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm (7 years ago)

    My cat has enjoyed many foods I’ve offered to him.

    He is worse than the dogs about begging to check out my dinner plate. Since he is capable of jumping up onto the back of my chair, or onto the table or counter, I always have to keep my eye on him when I’m eating!

    Not only that, but he will be aggressive toward my three 85 to 100 lb dogs, trying to make sure he gets the tidbits instead of them!

    With all that, he doesn’t actually get very much of these foods … just a pinky fingernail size, if any at all … I try to stick to species appropriate things for him!

    Reply
  15. Ingrid
    April 11, 2012 at 6:20 pm (7 years ago)

    Celery leaves, salad greens, caramel dip, Q-tips – who knew food fetishes could cover such a wide range! Maybe we should have a contest and vote on what we think is the strangest thing among all of these!

    Reply
  16. Suzanne
    April 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm (7 years ago)

    I have one fluffy black cat that seems to crave sweets – no one told her she isn’t supposed to be able to taste them. She begs for caramel dip – CARAMEL DIP. Crazy cat. I let Natasha sniff my finger with a little dab on it once as she had never actually chosen to eat any of my food prior to that. She loved it and continued to beg for it even when I didn’t give it to her for over a year. If she hears apples being sliced, she comes running looking for the caramel dip. Since then we’ve discovered she likes dried pineapple also. She is otherwise known for just wanting to smell our food and never take a nibble.
    My orange tabby, Heath, comes running for pita bread. Only pita bread.
    Snickers, my tiny calico, desperately wants vanilla ice cream, but that one is at least expected.
    Super Fuzzy just wants to be involved in cooking, he doesn’t care about the actual food. He just wants attention and to know what’s going on.
    And I found out last night, they all apparently love brie cheese and I couldn’t keep them away from my plate.

    Always entertaining to live in a house of 4 kitties!

    Reply
  17. Lynn
    April 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm (7 years ago)

    One of our younger sibling trio is a girl, Molly, will eat Q tips if she can find them! ugggh
    She will also hunt cotton balls if she gets a chance, so we are vigilant to keep these things out of sight and her reach of course!

    Reply
  18. Lynn
    April 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm (7 years ago)

    We rescued a litter of three and from the time they were tiny kittens, they LOVE eating salad greens! IT really surprised us because they would come up to our plates and eat out of them! So we tried feeding them the lettuce and they LOVE it!

    We do not buy Iceberg lettuce, so they get a better quality of baby romaine, baby greens, etc. and will eat tiny pieces, about 10 at a time.
    We think they know they need these greens.
    They also love when we pick some fresh NON PESTICIDE SPRAYED grass anytime we can get it!
    All six of our kitties also love peas…..

    Reply
  19. Mary Sue
    April 11, 2012 at 3:07 pm (7 years ago)

    Mirren eats tissues. Yuk! She came here two years ago when she was eight and just recently started the habit. Now all toilet paper and tissues are locked up. So far, she’s not interested in any raw or cooked meat, as the others are.

    Reply
  20. mary knight
    April 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm (7 years ago)

    I read that raisins are very unhealthy and toxic for cats. I did not know this when I had Purrna. Purrna scarfed up raisins. I would put a trail of raisins on the floor and she marched down the line, eating them. Purrna lived to be a frisky 20 years old and I wonder if she would have lived much longer if I had known that raisins were unhealthy. (I refrain from giving raisins to my current cats).

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm (7 years ago)

      I believe raisin toxicity has only been documented in dogs, but there are still enough unkonwns about exactly how grapes and raisins affect dogs that the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center advices not to give them to any pets.

      Reply
  21. mary knight
    April 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm (7 years ago)

    Canned cling peach slice. At age 19, she gets whatever she wants. And that is people food.

    Reply
  22. Erin Nelle
    April 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm (7 years ago)

    I have two cats My older one likes cheese and anything meat…. Her favorite is Tuna in oil. My younger cat likes popcorn, cheese, lettuce and anything meeat her fave is also Tuna in oil…… and My sister had a torti that just absolutely love strawberry cake. I haven’t tried much as far as human food with my cats….. We used the cheese to get the cats to take de-wormer pills and the popcorn and lettuce for the younger one was kind of an oops I dropped the food and she was all over it. I haven’t noticed anything as far as drinks go except milk, but I think any cat given the chance will drink milk

    Reply
  23. Bopeeps
    April 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm (7 years ago)

    Question. This is my first experience with cats. I was always afraid to get my cats started on people food for fear they would not eat their cat food. Do you have any problems with that? I know I had a dog growing up that got so accustomed to it..he would not touch dog food and it became a real problem…had to have his own special meals.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm (7 years ago)

      I don’t think an occasional treat of people food is a problem.

      Reply
      • Bopeeps
        April 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm (7 years ago)

        Thanks 🙂

        Reply
  24. Ingrid
    April 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm (7 years ago)

    Wow! That is quite a variety of strange food and drink (strange for cats, anyway) your cats enjoy! I’m realy enjoying all of these comments!

    Reply
  25. De
    April 11, 2012 at 11:50 am (7 years ago)

    I have a that loves green pickled olives and has right from a kitten… He goes crazy over them, he licks them then plays with them and then eats them..Most he will eat is 2 but 1 for sure.. I have asked the vet why he would and she has no clue.. But it his treat…

    Reply
  26. Layla Morgan Wilde (Cat Wisdom101)
    April 11, 2012 at 11:34 am (7 years ago)

    Gris Gris loves unsweetened Greek yogurt and cheese and anything salty. He’ll lick any dinner plate clean if given the chance. Merlin likes avocado, popcorn, chips, salad with vinaigrette anything oily/salty. Odin isn’t into human food and Domino will eat anything. The only healthy human food we give regularly is yogurt. I’m curious about Victoria’s idea of sprinkling a little Parmesan cheese as an appetite stimulant?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm (7 years ago)

      Layla, I’ve never tried the parmesan cheese with my cats (I can’t stand the smell of it), but I’ve seen that recommendation before. It is often suggested for people who want to transition their cats from dry to canned or raw food.

      Reply
  27. cindy
    April 11, 2012 at 11:13 am (7 years ago)

    While Beastly loves sugar cookies, bread (when she dies she doesn’t want to go to heaven, she wants to go to Panera), and scones, Squeebert will pop a cork if he smells or SEES an avocado! He also LOVES kale, apples, cantalope, cabbage, carrot, collards, and just about any veggie besides celery. The only veg that Beastly will eat is celery leaves. Go figure.

    Reply
  28. Tasha
    April 11, 2012 at 10:21 am (7 years ago)

    P.J., my 16 yro Siamese will steal beef jerkey out of your mouth! If I have any in the house it HAS to be double bagged AND in a cupboard or she will find it and chew through the packaging to get at it. Also, I used to have another Siamese cat, Tabitha whom’s favorite food was corn ON THE COB! She never looked guilty (like a dog would) but the tell tale signs were when we would come home and find her with little pieces of corn stuck to her face! HA! I miss that cat.

    Reply
  29. Caren Gittleman
    April 11, 2012 at 9:54 am (7 years ago)

    Well, sadly Cody, due to allergies, can’t eat anything but his dry and canned rabbit but my Angel Bobo’s faves were:

    1) black olives on pizza-when I had a pizza delivered he would come running!

    2) broccoli

    3) peas

    4) Swiss Miss Tapioca pudding, eaten directly from the spoon

    5) Mom’s chicken (meaning mine)…he was my BEST culinary partner/taste tester!

    Reply
  30. Bopeeps
    April 11, 2012 at 9:04 am (7 years ago)

    I think my torti Lucy would eat anything. But I really don’t give her hardly any human food. But she does love to lick the lid of my yogurts. I am going to be more careful about it since you mentioned xylitol. She also goes crazy for hamburgers but she never tasted them. If anything, I give a small bit of bread from the bun. My muffins are another fave but I just give her a small taste. I guess she’s the sweettooth.

    Rikki my calico really has no interest in human food. She not a big eater in general.

    Reply
  31. maru
    April 11, 2012 at 8:37 am (7 years ago)

    The ones that live with me now are as particular as all cats are… the three of them prefer meat above all, but can tear up any bag or package for a piece of fat free turkey ham… the eldest also loves cantaloupe and papaya, rice cookies and yoghurt… the middle one is picky about almost everything, but he loves soup… the little one, well he is a young glutton, he can try anything that anyone can be eating.

    Reply
  32. Amy
    April 11, 2012 at 8:17 am (7 years ago)

    My first cat, Sneezers, loved any kind of bread product and marshmallows! My next cat, S’mores, couldn’t get enough animal crackers. One day, he pushed the cookie jar onto the floor and tore open the bag inside just to have a snack. Currently, I have to cats. Enid enjoys a little bit of cheese or deli meat here and there, but Merton really has a wide pallet. His favorite things are fruit flavored. He once stole a fruit roll up right out of my hand. He also likes Capri Sun.

    Reply
  33. Victoria
    April 11, 2012 at 8:17 am (7 years ago)

    Chuck likes to lick apple cores. Maybe he likes the texture, and one can’t help but smile when hearing the rasp, rasp, rasp of his tongue against the fruit. He only takes a few licks. Now his sister Angel refuses any kind of fruit, but she loves both corn tortillas and rice cakes (unsalted). When my husband and I went vegan two years ago, both cats missed the cheese bits we stopped handing out. Then when we switched them from dry food to canned, a kind soul told me to shake on parmesan cheese to entice them to the new stuff…and it worked! I keep a shaker in the frig for special occasions for my kitties, using just a little bit since it’s so salty.

    Reply
  34. Stacie
    April 11, 2012 at 7:27 am (7 years ago)

    Stella my oldest loves to eat cheeses slices. Every time I open one she has to have a piece and begs for more. Oreo the youngest lives popcorn. When I make it she tries to steal some out if my bowl.

    Reply
  35. Lisa
    April 11, 2012 at 7:25 am (7 years ago)

    My Manecoon mix, likes to drink out of my room temp. ice tea. I thought it was because it was cold, but he waits until, it has come up to his prefered temp. I’ve asked the vet about it, he said not to worry about, just don’t let him into the coffee. Tea has less caffien in it by far than coffee. It’s just weird to share a glass of tea with my cat. Just one of the many daily pleasures we share with eachother.

    Reply

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