When your cat refuses to eat the pet food you've lovingly laid out, there's a chance puss is waiting on something more healthy.
New research shows cats are very diet conscious and while they may initially choose their food based on flavour, once they get to know a dish, they specifically choose the meal with the best nutrient to fat ratio, regardless of taste.
The study, by the University of Sydney and cat food producer Mars Petcare's WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition showed that over time, cats learnt about the fat and protein ratios in their food and regulated their intake accordingly.
How do you study a group of animals that are notoriously hard to wrangle?
More than 50 domestic cats were given homes and play spaces and their own little sleeping quarters at a facility in the UK and were presented with three food flavours -- fish, which makes sense, then rabbit, which I think we can all agree is a natural prey for cats and then, orange.
Apparently cats are cool with the taste of orange.
First, they were familiarised with the foods, then the next stage was being given one at a time and any uneaten food was weighed to determine which one was their favourite.
Then researchers randomly changed the protein-to-fat ratios so some days, fish had the highest protein levels, but some days, it was orange.
Researchers discovered that when the fat and protein ratios were the same, cats chose fish, then duck, then no flavour, then orange.
Yet when the protein and fat ratios were changed, cats always chose the food with the higher protein-to-fat ratio, even when it was orange flavoured.
The cats said no to their favourite fish dish to eat orange-flavoured nonsense because it was more healthy.
Good one, cats, you're better dieters than us humans.
A Mars Petcare spokesperson said it showed cat food needed to be healthy if cats were to eat it for long periods of time.