Marmite is a yeast extract that can be eaten, spread on hot buttered toast. It is a typically British product, made from the leftover yeasty paste you get after brewing beer. Because Marmite has a very salty taste, people tend to have a strong reaction to its smell and flavour, and the idea that you either “love it or hate it”.
In our house, we LOVE Marmite! It is a regular topping for our breakfast toast, a tasty addition to cheese sandwiches, and an ingredient to flavour gravy. And it’s not just the humans in our house who like Marmite – the cat is a big fan too! Whenver we open the Marmite jar, he comes sniffing around to find out if he can have a lick.
And my 5-year-old wants to know why does FishFingers like the smell of Marmite?
Marmite is very salty and tastes sort of meaty, which is probably why the smell of it is so attractive to cats. Cats have a really good sense of smell – much better than their sense of taste because they don’t have very many tastebuds on their tongues.
Like humans, cats can taste savoury (meaty), salty, bitter and sour flavours but they don’t have much of a taste for things that are sweet. Cats need to eat meat in order to keep their bodies healthy, so they have a strong taste for savoury, meaty foods; but they don’t need to eat sugary things, which is probably why they don’t have many sweet tastebuds.
So cats probably like the smell of Marmite because it makes them think of meaty treats and the smell of warm Marmite on toast can be hard to resist!