Cats And Olives Why Do Cats Like Them?

Do you consider yourself a cat aficionado who couldn’t imagine life without your feline companion? Have you ever caught your cat taking a keen interest in olives and wondered why? Fear not, as you’re certainly not alone. Cats are notorious for their peculiar behaviors that often leave their human counterparts scratching their heads in confusion. One such behavior is their inexplicable love for olives. So, what’s the deal with cats and olives, anyway?

It’s worth noting that not all cats share this particular taste preference. For those that do, however, it’s likely due to the unique scent and flavor of this Mediterranean fruit. Olives contain a compound called oleuropein which can influence the hormones responsible for regulating appetite and satiety in cats. Furthermore, the taste of olives is often compared to that of catnip – a plant that has been known to drive cats wild.

But let’s be clear – olives aren’t the only human food items that can pique a cat’s interest. From cheese and yogurt to bread and popcorn, felines have been known to indulge in an array of unexpected foods.

So if you’ve ever found yourself wondering why your cat seems to be eyeing your olive plate with great interest, now you know. Your furry friend might simply have an affinity for the unusual and exotic flavors. Follow along as we delve into how your cat’s biology and genetics play a role in shaping their curious behavior patterns.

What Are Olives?

These small, oval-shaped fruits come in different colors, ranging from green to black and brown, depending on their ripeness. Olives are a staple ingredient in many cuisines around the world and have been cultivated for thousands of years.

Not only are olives delicious, but they are also packed with nutrients. They are known for their high content of healthy fats and antioxidants, as well as their good amount of vitamin E, iron, and fiber. However, olives are also high in sodium, so it’s important to consume them in moderation.

Olives can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, including as toppings on pizzas, in salads and sandwiches, and even as olive oil in Mediterranean dishes. But did you know that some cats also seem to have a fondness for olives?

While the reasons why cats like olives are not fully understood, there are several theories. It’s possible that olives contain compounds that mimic pheromones produced by cats’ anal glands. These pheromones are used by cats to communicate with each other and mark their territory, so by consuming olives, cats may be trying to enhance their own scent and assert dominance.

Another theory suggests that cats are attracted to the salty taste and strong aroma of olives. With their keen sense of smell, cats may be drawn to the distinctive scent of olives. Additionally, the high sodium content of olives may appeal to cats’ natural craving for salt.

It’s also possible that cats enjoy the texture of olives. As curious creatures who love tactile stimulation, the unique texture of olives may provide a satisfying sensory experience for cats.

If you’re a cat owner and want to treat your furry friend to some olives, it’s important to monitor their behavior and ensure that they don’t consume anything harmful. Olives should be given to cats in moderation due to their high sodium content. Additionally, some cats may have allergies or sensitivities to certain foods, so it’s best to introduce new foods slowly and in small quantities.

Pheromones Theory

The secret lies in the magic of pheromones.

Pheromones are chemicals that animals release to communicate with each other. These chemicals convey information about everything from mating readiness to territorial marking. Cats have an incredibly keen sense of smell, making them especially sensitive to pheromones.

When a cat encounters a scent that contains pheromones, such as the aroma of olives, it can trigger a variety of responses in the cat’s brain and body. One theory is that olives contain pheromones that resemble those produced by cats, which is why cats may be drawn to them. Another theory is that the scent of olives may be similar to the scent of certain plants that cats find appealing, such as catnip.

It’s important to note that not all cats will be attracted to olives. Just like us humans, cats have unique tastes and preferences. However, for those feline friends who do love the scent of olives, it can provide a source of sensory enrichment in their lives.

Salt and Aroma Theory

The answer lies in the fascinating salt and aroma theory.

Cats are known for their extraordinary sense of smell, which plays a crucial role in their attraction to strongly scented foods. Olives, in particular, have a unique aroma that comes from the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released when they are sliced or crushed. These VOCs can tantalize a cat’s sense of smell and make them more intrigued by the food.

In addition to their alluring aroma, olives contain a high level of sodium, which is an essential nutrient that regulates body fluids and electrolytes. This high salt content may also contribute to cats’ fascination with olives. However, it is important to note that not all cats are fond of olives, and some may even have an adverse reaction if they consume too much salt.

Texture Theory

This theory suggests that cats have a preference for food that is both crispy and crunchy, as well as soft and easy to digest. Interestingly, olives, with their unique texture, might be appealing to some cats.

Cats have sharp teeth and a powerful jaw that allow them to chomp on hard food with ease. Therefore, they enjoy food that has a crispy or crunchy texture. However, as descendants of wildcats, they also relish soft-textured food like canned or wet food since their ancestors would eat prey that was easy to digest.

Olives have a slightly chewy texture that can be intriguing for cats. They are firm enough for cats to bite into without being too hard, and they have a slightly chewy texture that can be irresistible for some feline friends. Furthermore, the taste of olives might also be attractive to cats because they are known to be drawn to strong smells and flavors.

It’s crucial to note that not all cats will like olives or any specific type of food since they have individual preferences just like humans do. Therefore, it’s essential to offer your cat a range of textures and flavors in their diet to ensure they receive all the nutrients they require.

Other Possible Explanations

While we explored the reasons behind their love for olives, there are other possible explanations for why cats may enjoy certain types of human food.

One theory is that cats have evolved to crave a variety of flavors in their diet. In the wild, they would consume different prey animals with distinct tastes. Therefore, when presented with a new food like olives, a cat’s curiosity and desire for something new may lead them to try it. It’s no secret that cats are curious creatures that love to explore and experiment with new things, including food.

Cats are also known for their love of strong scents and flavors. This trait could explain why they enjoy foods such as olives, which have a pungent aroma. After all, who can resist the allure of a deliciously fragrant meal? Additionally, cats have a heightened sense of taste compared to humans, particularly when it comes to bitterness. Some researchers believe that cats may be attracted to the bitter taste of olives because it indicates the presence of beneficial compounds such as antioxidants.

However, it’s important to note that not all cats may enjoy olives or other human foods. Each cat has its unique preferences and reactions, so it’s essential to observe your cat’s behavior before making any conclusions about what they like or dislike. Your furry friend might not be a fan of olives, but they might love other human foods like chicken or tuna.


To sum up, the love affair between cats and olives may seem odd, but there are solid reasons behind it. The fragrance and taste of olives contain compounds that can influence hormones responsible for regulating appetite and satiety in cats. Moreover, the flavor of olives is often compared to catnip, which can drive feline friends wild.

However, not all cats share this particular taste preference, so it’s crucial to observe their behavior when introducing new foods into their diet. Olives should be given to cats in moderation due to their high sodium content. Some cats may also have allergies or sensitivities to certain foods.

While we don’t fully understand why some cats adore olives, there are several theories. Cats’ acute sense of smell makes them sensitive to pheromones, which could explain why they’re drawn to the scent of olives. Additionally, the high sodium content and unique texture of olives might be appealing to some feline friends.

Ultimately, each cat has its unique preferences and reactions when it comes to food. As curious creatures that love exploring new things, it’s essential to offer a range of textures and flavors in their diet while ensuring they receive all the nutrients they require.