Cat Taste Preferences: An Experimental Design

So last week I shared some info I found on the taste buds of cats. I still have not been able to find any more decent and recent research that explains to me why some cats love fruit.

Fruit aside, I’m still interested in exploring the flavor preferences of my cats. Perhaps this will help me when choosing what flavors of wet foods and treats to choose? And I find doing projects that could easily be displayed at an elementary school science fair to be entertaining. (Seriously, I’ve been programmed to homeschool my future kids).

Here’s the setup…

– 8 Test Subjects

– 2? flavors of treats (same kind of treat, Temptations, but 2 different flavors). I’m thinking we should keep it simple at first and either go with Chicken vs. Beef or Chicken vs. Fish or Beef vs. Fish.

– Cats will be tested individually in a closed room.

– 6 treats will be laid out on paper plates, labeled with the flavor (since cats can’t read, may as well make it easy on me). Three individual treats of each of the two flavors will be dispersed in a random order.  Treats will be laid out before that cat enters the room.

– Cats will be placed in the room, and their reactions to each treat observed. I’m doubtful that cats have a “save the best for last” concept, so the treats they choose to eat first will be considered “preferred”.

– Each cat will be subject to 3 separate sampling events, occurring on 3 separate days. This will be a total of 24 (8 cats x 3 events) trials.  Plates will be placed randomly each time to ensure location relative to the door is not a factor.

I’m open for suggestions on how to improve this design (within the bounds of not spending any money). Keep in mind, while I am a scientist…this isn’t a grant-funded proposal that I’m going to be publishing. This is just on MY CATS for my OWN entertainment. It is what it is, don’t be silly. (For those of you who don’t know, I’m friends with many scientists…and well, they could point out numerous flaws in this plan…if we were doing real science, but this isn’t real science…just fun science).

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