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Subject: Feline Food Preference Research

Author: Maxwell Katz © 2001


This just in...

From the unintended-research food-preferences and feline behaviour kitchen of Max Katz.

Experimental Design: Food left unattended.

Materials: Skillet filled with sliced sweet bell peppers, both red and yellow, plus olive oil.

Subject: Franklin the cat. Sam, who is unable to execute flawless acrobatic leaps to the stovetop, is regrettably unwilling to participate, though will be available for counter top studies, as un-planned for the future.

Method: Peppers are slowly sauteed, stirring occasionally. When fully cooked, skillet is left to cool atop stove, while experimenter takes an extended nap. To control for possible confounds of hunger, kittycat bowls are topped up before retiring.

Results: The experimenter, after attending to numerous other matters upon awakening, enters the kitchen, and in the process of transferring sauteed red peppers to the top of a frozen sausage pizza, notes the following:

No yellow peppers remain in the pan, and no evidence of the oil from skillet is present upon the stove top. Fewer red peppers remain than when the cooking was completed.

Discussion: It would appear that Franklin prefers sweet yellow peppers, but will settle for red ones in a pinch. Furthermore, previous observations of Franklin's exceptionally precise control of teeth, tongue, and paws, strongly suggests that he ate directly from the cooled pan, and spilled no peppers in the process.

SamThough not supported by observational evidence, it might be a fair supposition, that subsequent to eating the peppers, he then spent some time licking the vestiges of oil from the portions of his face, immediately adjoining the edges of his mouth.

This single-subject design is offered as a contribution to the field of individual-feline food preference research. Though Franklin has previously shown such preferences as a near-maniacal devotion to asparagus, while shunning the ice cream to which Sam is most attentive, this is a first-observal of preference for sweet sauteed bell peppers. Further non-intended experiments must be conducted, to eliminate the possible confounding factor of the olive oil, but the clearly shown preference for yellow over red sweet bell peppers is robust. Also, previous observations of the quantity of vegetable food eaten by Franklin, over time, strongly support the 'hedonic principle' hypothesis of Franklin having eaten to satiety, or gastric capacity.

Whether this was accomplished by eating both red and yellow in alternation, until the small skillet was nearly emptied, and then finishing the yellow, or whether all of the yellow were first eaten, prior to consuming the red, can not be determined from the results.

It is remotely possible that Sam may have accomplished the leap to the stove top, and participated in removal of peppers, but as Sam invariably removes food from open vessels, and drops it nearby on the surrounding substrate before eating, and as the heated area above the pilot light has been previously shown to repel the licking of cat tongues, this notion may safely be considered unworthy of further pursuit, at this time.

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