Scientists have found that cats have an evolutionary ability to taste bitter things, giving them the ability to screen their food for poisons and toxins, according to the Daily Mail.
New findings indicate that a cat's tongue has several "functional bitter taste receptors" that allow the animals the ability to suss out their food for toxic chemicals and harmful poisons.
The report was published by the Monell Center, a nonprofit research institute that studied taste and smell.
The Monell Center discovered that the previous belief that animals developed taste sensitivity to protect themselves from eating poisonous plants may be off, and that animals, like cats, can even taste the harmful substances in flesh and bone.
Researchers believe the animal kingdom has evolved over the years to develop the taste buds to detect these harmful substances, thereby helping the creatures to survive.
"Alternate physiological roles for bitter receptors may be an important driving force molding bitter receptor number and function," said study author Dr. Gary Beauchamp. "For example, recent Monell-related findings show that bitter receptors also are involved in protecting us against internal toxins, including bacteria related to respiratory diseases."
The nonprofit's research has been published by PLOS One and includes information on cats as well as other creatures that have developed a higher sensitivity to bitter tastes over sweet, which in some animals has been phased out altogether.