Cats do not appear to like the taste of sugar either as cakes, biscuits or in sugar-laden drinks. Those who live with cats have known this for quite some time but now it seems the gene which operates the receptor for the taste of sweetness is filled with ‘errors.’
Mammals use taste buds on their tongues to taste sweetness. Sweet substances bind to two proteins on the cell surface. A study of cat DNA showed that the gene to make one of those proteins is defective probably rendering the sense of ‘sweetness’ immaterial.
Researchers laid out plain water and sugar water for domestic cats and found that they had no preference for either. Interestingly, cats did not prefer the plain water in which case it is likely that cats simply do not register, or are indifferent, to sweetness.
It is not so much that cats dislike sweets but that they cannot taste sweetness.
As with so many things in the world of cats, the larger cousins to domestic felines also showed the same lack of interest. Wild cats, lions and tigers and their kin also displayed disinterest in sweets.
Cats are carnivorous animals and it is reasonable to speculate that carnivores do not need to taste sweetness in order to appreciate meat. Interestingly though cats do enjoy chewing on grass so they do have some interest in carbohydrates but they may simply prefer the bitterness in some grasses rather than the sweetness of others.