ABSTRACT: Obesity is a growing problem in pets as well as in humans. Overweight and obesity are linked to insulin sensitivity and subsequently in older cats, to an increased risk of developing diabetes mellitus. In the experimental cat population of the Institute of Animal Nutrition of the Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, an overweight phenotype in intact cats younger than 1 year became evident. The aims of the present study were to determine whether an association between insulin sensitivity and body condition score (BCS) or feline body mass index (FBMI) is already present during young adulthood in these cats and to test the hypothesis that the phenotype lean/overweight is significantly associated with monthly body weight during the growing period. Therefore, 41 kittens from the mentioned cat breeding colony were studied. They were weighed weekly and checked monthly (third to eighth month after birth) for BCS and FBMI. At the age of 8 months, they were classified into an overweight and lean phenotype based on BCS on a scale of 9 (median; maximum and minimum: overweight male (6.4; 6.8; 6.0); overweight female (6.1; 6.2; 6.0); lean male (5.4; 5.7; 5.0); lean female (5.2; 5.6; 5.0). A significant association between the phenotype and body weight was obvious during the growing period from the third to the 8 months (p = 0.0001). At month 8, body fat content was measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry and a glucose tolerance test to determine the insulin sensitivity index was performed. Insulin sensitivity was significantly associated with BCS (p = 0.0007) and body fat content (p < 0.0001) but not with sex (p = 0.61). Our data provide evidence that already in young intact cats; insulin insensitivity is significantly associated with BCS or a presumed phenotype lean/overweight.
J Anim Physiol a Anim Nutr 07/2012; · 0.86 Impact Factor