Food intake and energy expenditure in growing cats with and without a predisposition to overweight

November 16, 2018

Vivien Ghielmetti, Brigitta Wichert, Simon Rüegg, Diana Frey, Annette Liesegang.  Food intake and energy expenditure in growing cats with and without a predisposition to overweight.
J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr. 2018;102:1401–1410.

Obesity is a common problem in cats of the developed world. It is often related to neutering, low activity, highly palatable food, and genetics. This study examined kittens with a known genetic predisposition to obesity, following them from birth to eight months of age. Various parameters were measured over this time, including weight, blood glucose and insulin, food intake, and energy expenditure. The main finding of this study is that a predisposition to overweight is connected to a higher food intake early in life, with no significant alterations in energy expenditure.

In this study, kittens that became overweight ate more and faster than their lean littermates did. Both food intake and food intake rate were positively associated with a higher Body Condition Score and body fat percentage at 8 months of age. Another important finding is that kittens who ate more overall had larger meals at a higher frequency at 6 months of age. These findings together may indicate a possible disorder in the satiation and satiety feedback in cats that develop an overweight phenotype early in life.  (MK)