Medium chain triglycerides and a cat’s diet
Informational comment by Andrea Fascetti, VMD, PhD, DACVIM, DACVN, and professor of nutrition at the University of California-Davis.
“I do not recommend adding coconut oil (a source of medium-chained triglycerides, MCTs) to a cat’s diet. It has been documented that cats do not find MCTs very palatable (MacDonald et al., Physiology and Behavior, 1985). It is important to note in the Trevizan et al. paper (AJVR, 2010) cats were fed a kibble diet that included not only coconut oil, but also incorporated beef tallow and a flavor coating, likely increasing the palatability of the diet. This is different from trying to add coconut oil to a diet at home. I think this is especially important in a cat with inflammatory bowel disease, as some cats with this condition may not be eating well. The addition of coconut oil may cause a reduction in food intake and weight loss. Supplementing coconut oil can make it difficult to determine if a cat is not eating well because of their underlying disease or because they simply don’t like their food. By adding coconut oil to a diet they like and are eating well, you risk turning them off of their current diet (even if you discontinue the coconut oil). Fat has a high energy density, and adding fat to an already balanced diet can unbalance the diet. If you wish to alter or augment your cat’s diet in any way, I recommend you consult with your veterinarian before doing so.” (AF)