According to its authors, the Geometric analysis of macronutrient selection in adult domestic cats, Felis Catus is the most extensive study of macronutrient regulation ever conducted on any carnivore.
The results of this study are extremely exciting, but not surprising to those of us who understand the importance of providing species-appropriate animal food to companion animals.
The study was conducted to determine if adult domesticated cats, given a choice, deliberately select food that is biologically appropriate for them (similar to the prey they would hunt and eat if they lived in the wild).
From the study:
Most domestic cats are fed commercial pet foods by their owners. Some of these products are moist and others are based on a dry formulation.
As well as differing in water content and texture, there are macronutritional differences between wet and dry commercial foods, notably a higher carbohydrate content of dry foods (required for their manufacture).
Our results show strong nutritional regulation, reinforcing the fact that macronutrient regulation is common across trophic levels [feeding positions in a food chain] and providing important information for the design of domestic cat nutritional regimes.
- Given the option, the cats exclusively chose high-protein food over high-carb food even when there was less of the high-protein food available.
- Cats offered a choice of three foods with variable amounts of protein, carbs and fat mixed them to achieve a daily intake as follows:
- 100 calories or 52 percent from protein
- 67 calories or 35 percent from fat
- 24 calories or 12.5 percent from carbs
- When the cats were restricted to a high-carbohydrate food, they did not eat enough of it to get the targeted amount of protein (52 percent).
- Experienced cats eating dry food increased protein intake and ate less carbohydrates than naÔve cats offered the same choices. This indicates, given the option, cats learn to avoid eating excessive amounts of carbs.
Research Proves It: Cats and Carbs Donít Mix!
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they have nutritional requirements that can only be met with a diet based on animal tissue. The macronutrient profile for cats is high in protein and fat, consistent with a meat-based diet.