Friday, July 29, 2005

Sour-Tongued Rascals

I don't know if this has already made it to every single cat lover in the world already, but in case it hasn't:

An interesting discovery from someplace called the Monell Chemical Senses Center, which spends all its collective time working on science related to the senses of smell and taste and on chemical irritation.

Thanks to a genetic mutation somewhere back in the mists of time, cats apparently have lost the ability to taste sweetness. Their tongues simply don't include the sweet receptors that humans and other mammals have.

Here's the press release on it. Or, for a more general approach that talks less about base pairs and start and stop points on amino acid coding sequences, here's the CNN take on it.

Short form: It's not so much that cats just don't have sweet receptors, more that they don't work. Mammalian sweet taste receptors are created by a combination of two proteins, called T1R2 and T1R3. Thanks to the mutation, the gene sequence that defines T1R2 isn't read properly, and the protein isn't made. T1R3 IS made, but without T1R2, it just sits there and doesn't do anything. Result: cats can't taste sweet.

Cat owners have guessed this for a long time - cats don't care about sweet things the way dogs and other animals do - but now we know why.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Moved the Sofa

A few days ago I decided it was time to take apart the modular sofa, move the pieces out of the way and vacuum. A selected inventory of items recovered:

two wine corks

a fuzzy purple ball with bell, trailing a shredded length of red cord

an eraser

an electronic thermometer

a cardboard tube a bit under an inch wide and long - stamps came rolled around it

a pen

an intact, but empty, clear plastic cylindrical container - the sort of thing that holds small toys in vending machines

a blue Lego figure with a really stylin' haircut. (These last two, we do not own. I have no idea where they came from.)

An infinite number of wadded up paper balls.

Leela was quite delighted to recover some of these. Indeed I'm sure many of them are once again under the couch.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Gratuitous Cat Picture #14

What an overstimulated Bengal looks like. Leela exploring playground furniture at the park.

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