I’m going to say this as bluntly as possible: Halloween sucks if you’re a diabetic. I know some of you will argue with me that there are many candy-free ways to enjoy the holiday (costumes, pumpkins, haunted houses, etc), but the truth is that the only thing I’ve ever liked about Halloween is the candy. I spent some time thinking about how I can celebrate Halloween if I can’t eat M&Ms, and realized the answer has been right beside me all along, something ghoulish, but good– I’ll hang out with my black cat.
This is my beloved 12-year-old cat, Sabina Marie, also known as The Dodah. She has oily fur, one fang that hangs out a little too far out of her mouth, she suckles plastic bags, likes to sit on freshly worn shoes, and has more than the occasional hairball. What I’m trying to say is- she’s gross, really gross, but I love her and I let her share my pillow (which I guess in turn makes me gross).
I have always had cats as pets, and I’ve always deeply admired them. In fact, I can even say that on many occasions I’ve wished I were a cat. A few weeks ago I came across an article in Scientific American and learned a fascinating cat fact I hadn’t known before: cats, unlike every other mammal examined to date, lack the ability to taste sweet. Here’s an excerpt from Scientific American:
“The tongues of most mammals hold taste receptors—proteins on the cellular surface that bind to an incoming substance, activating the cell’s internal workings that lead to a signal being sent to the brain. Humans enjoy five kinds of taste buds (possibly six): sour, bitter, salty, umami (or meatiness) and sweet (as well as possibly fat). The sweet receptor is actually made up of two coupled proteins generated by two separate genes: known as Tas1r2 and Tas1r3.
When working properly, the two genes form the coupled protein and when something sweet enters the mouth the news is rushed to the brain, primarily because sweetness is a sign of rich carbohydrates—an important food source for plant-eaters and the nondiscriminating, like humans. But cats are from the noble lineage Carnivora and, unlike some of its lesser members, such as omnivorous bears or, even more appalling, herbivorous pandas, they exclusively eat meat.”
I’m not ready to turn into a carnivore, but I will hang out with one this Halloween. I’m even considering dressing up as The Dodah tonight. Perhaps if I do, I won’t crave any candy. How great it would be to not even know what I’m missing…