"Die Katze hat Hunger. Sie isst Fleisch."
This is in animals 1 4, German. https://www.duolingo.com/skill/de/Animals-1/4
Where the actual discussion should be happening is locked for some reason.
I typed frisst instead of isst, sure that I was just hearing it wrongly. But no, they actually do want isst, despite drilling us to always use fressen with animals.
Che passa. Is it that both fressen and essen are fine with animals, though fressen is most common? (I get that essen is only for people and using fressen with them is vulgar, like referring to your food as Fraß.) I found some discussion here. https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/17088041/essen-vs-fressen
In general, you are right: The verb "fressen" is used for animals, and it is vulgar to use it for people, for the reason you mentioned.
However, "essen" can also be used for animals. I feel that this is done by people who associate overly human traits with their pets.
And if the listening comprehension required "essen" to be written, then this was the word to be used.