Cats love to play with other cats.
But when they’re not doing that, they love to be with food.
A new study has found that cats love to nibble on a variety of foods, including vegetables, fruits and even nuts.
So it makes sense that they would eat nuts and seeds in the same way.
Researchers at the University of Bristol in the U.K. and the University at Buffalo in New York used two types of cats to see if cats prefer nuts to seeds.
The first was a “snowflake” cat, who liked to play in snow, and the second was a cat with a “sandwich cat” personality, who would play in sand.
Both groups of cats were kept in a house in which they ate different kinds of food and were fed different kinds and amounts of treats.
In both groups, the snowflake cat ate less and less as it went along.
“The snowflake cats did well on their own food,” says study co-author Richard J. Johnson, a veterinary assistant professor of veterinary medicine at the university.
“However, the sandwich cats did not.”
But the sandstorm cats were still more interested in treats than seeds.
“It’s not a surprise,” Johnson says.
“There’s a common misconception that they’re just eating their food.”
So it’s possible that cats like to eat treats because they like the sensation of chewing, or the fact that they like being able to nibly on something that isn’t food, Johnson says, and that they find the taste of food irresistible.
Johnson says it’s not just that cats are drawn to the smell of food.
“In this case, we also observed that the cats also preferred nuts and fruits when they were placed in a home environment where they could get a treat,” Johnson explains.
“So it’s the difference between the taste and the texture of the food, that really stands out.
So we think the cats are actually using the texture to identify the food.”
But is it safe to feed a cat a cookie or a carrot?
Johnson says yes.
“We’re not suggesting that feeding a cookie is the best way to feed cats,” he says.
But “the way we do it, we use treats, and in that context, treats can be a safe way of feeding a cat,” Johnson adds.
If you’re a cat owner, Johnson suggests keeping your cat’s food-eating habits under wraps.
“If you want to feed your cat a treat, that’s fine,” he advises.
“But it’s better if you don’t give your cat treats at all.”
And for more food-related tips, click here to learn how to keep your cat happy and healthy.