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  #1  
Old 02-23-2007, 11:28 AM
OpalCat OpalCat is offline
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Spicy food + cats?

I just ate some Thai curry on my couch and then set the plate on the coffee table for a few minutes before taking it in to the kitchen. It isn't hot hot hot, but it had a decent kick to it. When I went to put the plate away, I noticed that a patch of the plate had been licked clean. I have two cats. I don't know which one did it. Neither are acting funny.

Do cats' mouths/tongues have the same -insert correct anatomical term here- to experience spicy food the way we do?

I'm not really worried, as I don't think the cat will get sick or anything... even if it could make them sick, since they didn't actually ingest very much of it (though it was more than I'd expect if it had instantly registered as unpleasant... the cat obviously sat there for a minute, continuing to lick)
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  #2  
Old 02-23-2007, 11:46 AM
The Librarian The Librarian is offline
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In my experience cats and dogs don't register spicy.
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  #3  
Old 02-23-2007, 01:15 PM
mrklutz mrklutz is offline
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I fed a piece of szechuan pepper to my roommate's cat in college. He promptly spit it out, ran to the top of the stairs, and meowed angrily at me for several minutes. He refused all future offers of hot peppers, although he ate pretty much anything else.
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  #4  
Old 02-23-2007, 02:13 PM
The Librarian The Librarian is offline
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My cat doesn't like peppers either, but spicy meat or fish......
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  #5  
Old 02-23-2007, 03:12 PM
Spiral Stairs Spiral Stairs is offline
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My dog certainly registers spicy. While he usually enjoys licking bowls after I've eaten out of them, he wants nothing to do with the bowl if there is any hot sauce residue on it. When he gets a taste of it, he starts licking his lips furiously and won't touch the bowl again. It's kind of funny, actually.
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  #6  
Old 02-23-2007, 03:22 PM
tremorviolet tremorviolet is offline
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I'm pretty sure my little cat can taste spicy foods.

Just last week, my cat licked up a small amount of fairly spicy queso (cheese dip) that had fallen. He kept licking and relicking the edges of his mouth in what I assume was an attempt to make the spicy feeling go away. He didn't freak out or anything but he seemed uncomfortable.
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  #7  
Old 02-23-2007, 05:38 PM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
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When I had cats I used to share spicy Chinese food with them. They seemed to love the food and never refused it. However, later on you could hear them yodelling from the litterbox. They were never able to make teh connection.
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  #8  
Old 02-23-2007, 06:12 PM
fluiddruid fluiddruid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Librarian
In my experience cats and dogs don't register spicy.
When I was a kid, we once gave an Atomic Fireball (spicy hot gobstopper, basically) to my golden retreiver. She happily picked it up with her mouth, then dropped the drooly thing. Then she'd pick it up, and droolily spit it out. Lather, rinse repeat until finally it must not have been spicy anymore and she crunched the thing.
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  #9  
Old 02-23-2007, 06:31 PM
Cervaise Cervaise is offline
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Years ago, my brother (Fish on these boards) mismeasured the amount of black pepper that was to go into the meatballs he was making for family dinner. I don't remember what the quantity was supposed to be or what the substitution was. Point is, whatever it was, it was a lot more, and I mean a lot more, and the finished meatballs were way too hot to eat. One of them ended up in the cat's dish. The cat gobbled it up, and spent the next hour licking, licking, licking... not its lips, exactly, so much as pushing its tongue out and scraping it across its front teeth, trying to rub off the spicy. No long term health effects, but a funny family story.
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  #10  
Old 02-23-2007, 06:37 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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I once ate a burrito, smothered with some pretty hot salsa, while watching TV. After finishing the burrito I set the plate on the floor, intending to take it to the kitchen during the next commercial break. My cat trotted over and licked the plate clean of the considerable amount of salsa still on it. No complaints from the cat!

Then again, this cat's name was Mayhem, a name he earned, so he was pretty tough
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  #11  
Old 02-23-2007, 06:43 PM
OpalCat OpalCat is offline
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I once gave my cat a little piece of a sandwich, that had some mustard on it. After one taste, she started hissing and growling at it, and batted at it a few times, but in a way that made it clear she was afraid of it, not being tough. We never figured out if it was spicy, or she just didn't like the taste, or what.
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  #12  
Old 02-23-2007, 09:27 PM
Opus1 Opus1 is offline
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Peppers evolved seeds that taste spicy to mammals, but not birds. This is because mammalian digestion doesn't help the plant propagate, whereas the seeds go through the birds intact. The entire point of spice is a signal from the plant saying: no mammal, don't eat me--i'm for birds only. Human taste for spice is a recent occurrence. So yes, cats and dogs definitely can taste spicy.
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  #13  
Old 02-23-2007, 10:06 PM
Lissa Lissa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opus1
So yes, cats and dogs definitely can taste spicy.
I used jalapeno pepper juice and hot sauce to train my puppy not to chew on things. The first time she tasted it, her eyes went wide, and she started lapping her tongue, then scraped at her snout with her paws. After that, I think she got to recognizing the smell of it because she wouldn't even try to chew something which had the hot stuff on it. (Now, if I could only figure out how to soak my socks in it . . .)
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  #14  
Old 02-23-2007, 10:48 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opus1
Human taste for spice is a recent occurrence. So yes, cats and dogs definitely can taste spicy.
I don't remember where I heard it but ...

"He was a brave man who was first to eat a hot pepper. Even braver the second man!"
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  #15  
Old 02-23-2007, 11:04 PM
OpalCat OpalCat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opus1
Peppers evolved seeds that taste spicy to mammals, but not birds. This is because mammalian digestion doesn't help the plant propagate, whereas the seeds go through the birds intact. The entire point of spice is a signal from the plant saying: no mammal, don't eat me--i'm for birds only. Human taste for spice is a recent occurrence. So yes, cats and dogs definitely can taste spicy.
Wow, that's really interesting. Thanks!
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  #16  
Old 02-24-2007, 01:02 AM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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My rule of thumb is "If it gives them gas don't give it to them again."
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  #17  
Old 02-24-2007, 01:07 AM
Sierra Indigo Sierra Indigo is offline
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We had a German Shepherd (Thor) who used to steal clothes off of the line. Mum got a puppy training book that suggested stuffing tights full of chopped hot chillies, cayenne pepper etc. and hanging it off of the line. They said the dog would tear one down, get a spicy snootfull and learn to leave the washing alone.

Thor used to tear the tights down and chew on them until they were a mass of drool.

Also, my cat likes curries.
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  #18  
Old 02-24-2007, 08:20 AM
The Librarian The Librarian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opus1
Peppers evolved seeds that taste spicy to mammals, but not birds. This is because mammalian digestion doesn't help the plant propagate, whereas the seeds go through the birds intact. The entire point of spice is a signal from the plant saying: no mammal, don't eat me--i'm for birds only. Human taste for spice is a recent occurrence. So yes, cats and dogs definitely can taste spicy.
Quote:
From Wikipedia
Capsaicin
Systematic name (E)-N- (4-hydroxy- 3-methoxybenzyl) - 8-methylnon-6-enamide Molecular formula C18H27NO3 SMILES CC(C)/C=C/CCCCC(NCC1=CC (OC)=C(O)C=C1)=O CAS number [404-86-4] Molecular mass 305.41 g/mol Melting point 62 - 65 C The chemical compound capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) is the active component of chili peppers, which are plants belonging to the genus Capsicum. It is an irritant for mammals, including humans, and produces a sensation of burning in any tissue it comes in contact with.
(bolding mine)

And yet my cat ignores it, as does my friends dog (and my friend eats VERY hot).
Now I am becoming quite curious.

The posters in this thread seem to be in total disagreement.

cats and dogs don't register hot:
OpalCat
me
fluiddruid(in the end the dog eats the ball)
adam yax(the mouth don't care)
Phase42
Sierra Indigo (dog)Sierra Indigo (cat)

They DO register hot:
mrklutz
Spiral Stairs
tremorviolet
Lissa

inconclusive:
Cervaise (gobbled the food, but mouth is irritated)

11 posters
6 x don't
4 x do
1 x ??

We need a bigger sample to make this conclusive
I am not accepting wikipedia as a bigger authority on cat behaviour than this guy

Last edited by The Librarian; 02-24-2007 at 08:22 AM.. Reason: There is sooo much possible to screw up
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  #19  
Old 02-24-2007, 09:29 AM
Lissa Lissa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Librarian
The posters in this thread seem to be in total disagreement.
Maybe some animals tastes are like humans' in that respect: some of them like hot sauce.
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Last edited by Lissa; 02-24-2007 at 09:30 AM..
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  #20  
Old 02-24-2007, 11:21 AM
OpalCat OpalCat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dropzone
My rule of thumb is "If it gives them gas don't give it to them again."
So for our dog, that would include the category called "food"

Man is he a farty dog. I'm kinda glad he lives with my ex-husband now
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  #21  
Old 02-24-2007, 11:22 AM
OpalCat OpalCat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lissa
Maybe some animals tastes are like humans' in that respect: some of them like hot sauce.
Yeah that was going to be my reply as well.
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  #22  
Old 02-24-2007, 01:51 PM
Autolycus Autolycus is offline
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My dog will not eat spicy mustard so count me as one of the "does register" crowd.

You know it really makes you think. Dogs, or my dog at least, will eat her own shit but not mustard. To quote the internet, "WTF mate"
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  #23  
Old 02-24-2007, 01:53 PM
Autolycus Autolycus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpalCat
Man is he a farty dog.

Is that anything like a salty dog? Maybe instead of grapefruit juice it uses bean paste Ack, sorry for the hijack!
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