Why does my cat want marshmallows?
February 11, 2018 6:42 PM   Subscribe

My cat usually has no interest in human food - even cat-friendly stuff like shrimp. But if she catches a whiff of marshmallows, she WANTS them. BAD. Even after taking a lick. But...cats don't even have sweet receptors, so what's the attraction?

I know, I know, cats are weird. But what's to want in a marshmallow except the sugar?

And of course, obligatory cat photo.
posted by Caravantea to Pets & Animals (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd guess it's the vanilla smell, if anything. Or maybe she thinks it's milk?
posted by ancient star at 6:46 PM on February 11

Well, the non sugar marshmallow bits are gelatin, which is made of ground up animal bits, maybe she likes whatever those bits are?
posted by leesh at 6:47 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]

Your cat may enjoy the spongy texture. I had a cat who went absolutely MAD over styrofoam coffee cups and probably would have passed out in ecstasy over an unattended box of packing peanuts.
posted by xyzzy at 6:49 PM on February 11 [10 favorites]

My cat likes them, too. It's gotta be the gelatin. (Although my cat likes a lot of human food. She ate a chocolate glazed doughnut once, has a strawberry fetish, and is the reason I keep bread in the fridge)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:53 PM on February 11 [5 favorites]

My guess is that it's the cornstarch. If you have some in your pantry, offer her a bit and see how she reacts.
posted by kitty teeth at 7:12 PM on February 11

I know science says and all that - but my current cat just wants the sweetest sweets from us. If we leave out a plate of pancakes and breakfast meat, she’ll just lap up all of the maple syrup. Pretty sure she’s into marshmallows. Any candy. And doughnuts YES.
This cat has changed my mind that cats don’t have a sweet tooth.
posted by littlewater at 7:38 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]

My cat was obsessed with chocolate covered digestive biscuits and blueberry bagels. Cats are weird.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 7:49 PM on February 11

My cat ate half my birthday cake one year when I was out. Mostly the icing! I was one devastated 8 yr old, lol. Also we had to hide cheddar cheese from her, she would eat half a block easily. Confirm that cats are weird!
posted by everydayanewday at 8:02 PM on February 11

Yes yes I know, cats don't care about sugar. No one told my cat. Maybe it's the fat or the gelatin or the cornstarch or whatever, but my cat loves marshmallows, cereal (dry & w/milk), any pastry of any kind but especially sweet ones, candy corn (seriously, will tear open bags, a step he doesn't normally take to get to them - SCREAMS at us when we eat them), cookies, ice cream, frosting, cake, and on and on and on. He only ever gets the tiniest tastes and not all the time, but he'd lick sugar cubes if you let him.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 8:31 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]

My cat looooves marshmallows- he'll rip open a bag and lick them all if left within reach.

They're made of gelatin, so they're an animal product. Plus, maybe he associates the scent of vanilla from his many dips into my ice cream and yogurt. He's never had any ill effects after eating marshmallows (and he's eaten a lot of 'em), so I usually share.

His favourite is if I mush them up in my fingers for a bit, so they look like sticky chewed gum- then he can actually bite off tiny bits instead of just licking.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:08 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

I think it could be a texture thing, as I have a cat that loves unsalted, plain rice cakes. They're all texture, and he loves them.
posted by fiercekitten at 10:24 PM on February 11

One of my cats would chew through layers of plastic to get to the marshmallows. Raw english muffins, too. He loved the 'mallows though. He also enjoyed hot sauce and bitterants, butter, cheese, ice cream, and anything that was on my plate.

The other cat loved saltines and steamed edamame. Cats be weird.
posted by monopas at 11:20 PM on February 11

I think some cats get a taste of something when they're young and want that forever-- as an example, a foster kitten I met who had been found in the dumpster of a KFC refused all food until someone brought in KFC for lunch. They had to mix cat food with popcorn chicken until they could acclimate him to just cat food!

His tastes had adapted to what was around...it may be that cats, like humans, have a development period early in life that will predispose them to liking non-cat foods. Maybe your cat got some marshmallows as a baby. Also, cats are weird.
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:48 AM on February 12 [8 favorites]

She ate a chocolate glazed doughnut once, has a strawberry fetish, and is the reason I keep bread in the fridge

Oh, hello Hon.

Yes, Ginny has a strawberry fetish. She just plays with them, doesn't really eat them, and loves when i bring home the Costco shopping in a strawberry crate.

Cats are weird, is the overall answer here.
posted by notsnot at 6:11 AM on February 12

Growing up, my sister's cat had a thing for powdered donuts or anything wintergreen. Both were like catnip to her.
posted by k5.user at 6:55 AM on February 12

Cats are weird is your answer, I think. I can't leave my COFFEE (cream but no sugar) unattended because she'll drink it.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:09 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]

My cat went nuts for a jar of mixed black and green olives with herbs in olive oil. Just the smell of it. Exactly like it was catnip. I could also find no answers.

But I'm guessing they smell like something other than marshmallows to your cat, hence the crazy.
posted by tinwhiskers at 11:16 AM on February 12

I had a cat once who would eat candy corn.
Who says they don't have a sweet tooth?
posted by SLC Mom at 12:11 PM on February 12

Came in to say it's the gelatin, and yep, cats are weird.

Ours goes bonkers for nutritional yeast and popcorn.
posted by onecircleaday at 1:15 PM on February 12

Yeah...not all cats get the memo that they can’t taste sugar.

Mine would come at you claws out for not sharing banana Laffy Taffy. Found that out our first Halloween together.

She would eat any human food at all, really, unless it had too much mustard. But Laffy Taffy and garlicky kale were her favorites.
posted by ananci at 8:22 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]

My cat eats cupcakes, potato chips, doritos, those bland baby cracker things my son loves to eat. But cooked fresh salmon? Turns her nose up at it.

posted by Everydayville at 12:36 PM on February 13

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