A collaborative team of researchers has shown that adding moisture to a cat's diet slows down the rate of weight gain. This finding, at least in part, appeared to be driven by increased activity. This research was conducted at the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, the fundamental science centre supporting Mars Petcare brands such as WHISKAS and ROYAL CANIN.
In a series of studies conducted in partnership with the University of Aberdeen, WALTHAM scientists found that cats fed a dry diet with a total of 50 percent moisture had a slower rate of weight gain and were more physically active than those cats fed the dry diet alone containing 10 percent moisture. This is the first time a hydrated diet has been associated with a lower rate of weight gain and increased physical activity in cats.
"These findings advance our understanding of the factors that influence body weight in cats and provide a strong basis for further research," commented study author and WALTHAM® scientist Dr. Penelope Morris.
"Obesity is a growing problem in the cat population, recent figures indicate that up to 50 percent of cats are either overweight or obese," added Dr. Morris. "These findings could have important implications for developing feeding strategies for cats that modulate weight gain." This work also provides a clear rationale for including wet foods in a cat's feeding regimen as an easy way of increasing dietary moisture level.
WALTHAM® is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of companion animals. This research forms part of a wider programme of ongoing collaborative research into the effect of food and nutrition on body weight in both cats and dogs.
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The research has been published in the June edition (Volume 95, Issue 3) of the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition and is available in print and online: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1439-0396.2010.01107.x/abstract