Feeding frequency and dietary water content affect voluntary physical activity in young lean adult female cats

Tuesday, July 22, 2014: 10:30 AM
3501B (Kansas City Convention Center)
Maria R C de Godoy , Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
Kazumasa Ochi , Nippon Pet Foods Co. Ltd, Tokyo, Japan
Laura F de Oliveira Mateus , Department of Animal Sciences University of São Paulo State, Jaboticabal, Brazil
Ana C C de Justino , Department of Animal Sciences University of São Paulo State, Jaboticabal, Brazil
Kelly S Swanson , Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, Urbana, IL
Abstract Text: Obesity is the most common form of malnutrition in the pet population in western countries. Approximately 58.3% of cats are considered overweight or obese in the U. S. It is imperative that in conjunction with the development of effective strategies to manage obesity, preventive measurements for this disease are also exploited.  Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate whether increased dietary water content and feeding frequency increased voluntary physical activity of young lean adult female cats.  A replicated 4 x 4 Latin square design with a 2 x 2 factorial treatment arrangement (feeding frequency and water content) was used. The four treatments consisted of: 1) One meal daily dry (without added water); 2) One meal daily wet (dry diet with added water to reach 70% moisture); 3) Four meals daily dry; and 4) Four meals daily wet.  Eight healthy adult, lean, intact, young, female domestic shorthair cats were used in this experiment.  Voluntary physical activity was evaluated using Actical activity monitors placed on collars and worn around the cats’ neck for the last seven days of each experimental period of 14 d. Food anticipatory activity (FAA) was calculated based on 2h prior to feeding periods and expressed as a percentage the total daily voluntary physical activity. The interaction between feeding frequency and water content was not statistically significant (P>0.05). Increased feeding frequency (four vs. one meal daily) resulted in greater average daily activity (P=0.0147), activity during the light period (P=0.0023), and light:dark activity ratio (P=0.0002). In contrast, physical activity during the dark period was not altered by feeding frequency (P>0.05).  Cats fed four meals daily had increased afternoon FAA (P=0.0029) compared with cats fed once daily.  Dietary water content did not affect any measure of activity.  Increased feeding frequency is an effective strategy to increase the voluntary physical activity of cats. Thus, it may assist in the prevention and management of obesity. 

Keywords: Feline, meal frequency and moisture content, physical activity