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Do cats instinctively know what they should not eat?

  1. #1
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    Question Do cats instinctively know what they should not eat?

    I got this suggestion from a thread on the Lilies forum, where people who have both cats and lilies deny there is a high risk of death despite the overwhelming contrary evidence in scientific studies. Obviously I will never believe it, but this is an interesting idea. Here is the topic:

    Leftwood
    It is likely that cats inherently just "know" not to eat lilies. Similar to poisonous caterpillars with certain vivid markings: somehow the predators just "know" not to eat them. The empirical facts are there that document a poison in lilies (listed in my first post). But no need to get uppity about it. Gosh, if we tried to keep all poisonous things away from pets, it would be more than a full time job!
    magnolialover


    Some cats also are not attracted to plant material. They've apparently done studies on this, read about it a couple years ago. Here I have plant munchers. One of my cats bit into a lily leaf, but did not take any material out. I was thankful, but maybe Lefty's theory prevails here. He knows it tastes like death and took off without ingesting any.
    RoseBlush1
    I agree with @Leftwood ... "It is likely that cats inherently just "know" not to eat lilies." I think all animals avoid plant foods that are poisonous to them instinctively. Of course, some animals are smarter than others, but that's the same with humans.
    https://garden.org/thread/view/21601...ies/?offset=40

    The thread got off topic for a while, so I don't recommend reading many other posts in it. I am just throwing it out here to see what other people think.
    Keep your cats inside and safe.

  2. #2
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    I often wonder about this too, from experience they seem to know not to eat food thats gone bad.

  3. #3
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    I've had plants in the house over the years that were supposed to be toxic to cats and they never ate them and never got sick. Rhubarb is supposed to be toxic to dogs, but I've had rhubarb in the yard for almost 40 years and the dogs never ate it and never got sick. There are toxic mushrooms all around, including when we go somewhere camping, the dogs never ate them and never got sick. I think even though there's a rare instance of an animal getting sick from eating something, in general they can sense what to stay away from and what isn't good for them.

    Like Elora said about food, if my dog or cat puts his nose up to some kind of food or drink, I'll pay attention and decide if it's spoiled and has to be dumped.

  4. #4
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    Yes, cats do avoid spoiled food that has changed color and texture, but how do you explain their willingness to eat poisoned food and toxic Purina products?
    Keep your cats inside and safe.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CatMom1994 View Post
    but how do you explain their willingness to eat poisoned food and toxic Purina products?
    I think it's different from something growing out of the ground from the earth/soil, than pet foods that are made to be palatable to cats and dogs despite some undesirable ingredients. Also, poison is usually disguised in something tasty that smells good, like a meatball, etc. Dogs or cats are usually anxious to eat the tasty treat and don't suspect poisonous tampering.

  6. #6
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    I think that those company's use a lot of phycology and science and use food combinations that the brain doesn't recognize. Pretty much like us with sugar products.

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