Article

Influence of Feeding Raw or Extruded Feline Diets on Nutrient Digestibility and Nitrogen Metabolism of African Wildcats (Felis lybica)

Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illnois 61801, USA.
Zoo Biology (Impact Factor: 0.83). 11/2010; 29(6):676-86. DOI: 10.1002/zoo.20305
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

The African wildcat is one of the closest ancestors to the domestic cat and is believed to have similar nutrient requirements, but research is lacking. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of feeding a high-protein extruded kibble diet vs. a raw meat diet on nutrient digestibility, nitrogen metabolism, and blood metabolite concentrations in African wildcats. Five wildcats were randomized onto either a high-protein (>50% crude protein) extruded kibble diet or a raw meat diet. The study was executed as a crossover design, with 21-d periods, consisting of a 16-d adaptation phase followed by a 4-d total fecal and urine collection phase. Cats were housed individually in metabolism cages and fed to maintain body weight (BW). A fresh fecal sample was collected for short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) and branched-chain fatty acid (BCFA) analyses. Blood was analyzed for serum chemistry and leptin concentration. Food intake (as is) did not differ (P>0.05) between diets. Food intake and fecal output (g/d DMB) were greater (P<0.05) when cats consumed the kibble diet. Protein digestibility was higher (P<0.05) when cats were fed the raw meat diet vs. the kibble diet. Nitrogen intake was greater (P<0.05) when cats consumed the kibble diet, and more (P<0.05) nitrogen was present in the feces; however, the percentage of nitrogen retained and nitrogen balance did not differ (P>0.05). Fecal scores, ammonia, SCFA, and BCFA concentrations did not differ (P>0.05) between diets. Fecal butyrate molar ratio was higher (P<0.01) when cats consumed the kibble diet. Blood analyses demonstrated few differences between diets, but alanine aminotransferase activity and bicarbonate were higher (P<0.05) when cats consumed the commercial raw meat diet. Owing to lack of differences, these data indicate that African wildcats can readily utilize a high protein extruded kibble diet, and may be able to replace a commercial raw meat diet.

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    • "Few comparisons of commercial and raw diets (raw meat based and whole prey) have been reported. There is evidence for increased digestibility of raw vs. extruded diets for domestic cats (Kerr et al., 2012), sand cats (Felis margarita; Crissey et al., 1997), and African wildcats (Vester et. al., 2010b; Kerr, 2012). For example, Kerr (2012) reported greater apparent total tract OM, CP, and fat digestibility of a raw beef-based diet (91, 93, and 96% digestibility, respectively) compared with a dry chickenbased diet (84, 82, and 91% digestibility, respectively)."
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    ABSTRACT: Our objectives were to evaluate the composition of whole 1- to- 3-day-old chicks (Whole), ground adult chicken (Ground), chicken-based canned diet (Canned), and chicken-based extruded diet (Extruded); and evaluate apparent total tract energy and macronutrient digestibility of these diets by four captive African wildcats (Felis silvestrus lybica) utilizing a Latin Square design. We analyzed diets for macronutrient and mineral (Ca, P, K, Na, Mg, Fe, Cu, Mn, Zn, and S) composition, and screened for potentially pathogenic bacteria. Canned and Extruded diets tested negative for all microbes and met macronutrient and mineral recommendations for domestic cat foods [AAFCO (2012). Official publication. Oxford, IN: AAFCO]. Whole prey diets (Ground and Whole) met macronutrient requirements for domestic cats; however, they were below recommendations in some minerals [Mn, Cu, K, and Na; AAFCO (2012). Official publication. Oxford, IN: AAFCO], and tested positive for potentially pathogenic microorganisms (Salmonella, E. coli spp.). For all diets, apparent total tract organic matter digestibility was high (>85%). Organic matter digestibility was higher (P ≤ 0.05) for cats fed Ground (94%) compared to those fed Canned, Extruded, or Whole (87, 86, and 85%, respectively). Apparent total tract crude protein digestibility was lower than expected (i.e., <85%) for cats fed Extruded (81%) and fat digestibility was lower than expected (i.e., <90%) for cats fed Whole (82%). Cats fed whole prey items tested herein adequately maintained BW short-term; however, long-term studies are needed. These data indicate that there may be a need to monitor whole prey composition and when necessary, adjust the diet to account for potential deficiencies. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Zoo Biology
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to determine differences in nitrogen (N) metabolism, nutrient digestibility, fecal and urine characteristics, and serum chemistry of domestic cats fed raw and cooked beef-based diets versus a high-protein extruded diet. Nine adult female domestic shorthair cats were utilized in a crossover design. Dietary treatments included an extruded diet [HP; ~57% crude protein (CP)], a raw beef-based diet (RB; ~53% CP), and a cooked beef-based diet (CB; ~52% CP). Cats were housed individually in metabolic cages and fed to maintain body weight. The study consisted of three 21-day periods: days 0-16 were used for diet adaptation; fecal and urine samples were collected on days 17-20; and blood samples were collected on day 21. Food intake was measured daily. During the collection phase, total feces and urine were collected. A fresh urine sample was also collected for urinalysis and acidified for N determination. In addition to total fecal collection, a fresh fecal sample was collected for determination of ammonia, short-chain fatty acid (SCFA), and branched-chain fatty acid (BCFA) concentrations. All feces were scored upon collection using a scale ranging from 1 (hard, dry pellets) to 5 (watery, liquid that can be poured). Blood was analyzed for serum chemistry. Total tract apparent dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), CP, fat and gross energy (GE) digestibilities were higher (P<0.05) in cats fed the RB and CB versus cats fed HP. Nitrogen metabolism differed among treatments. Nitrogen intake and fecal N were lower (P<0.05) in cats fed the RB and CB versus cats fed HP, while urinary N was not different among groups. Differences were also noted in fecal fermentative end-product concentrations. Total fecal SCFA concentrations did not differ among dietary treatments; however, molar ratios of SCFA were modified by diet, with cats fed RB and CB having an increased (P<0.05) proportion of fecal propionate and decreased (P<0.05) proportion of fecal butyrate as compared to cats fed HP. Fecal concentrations of ammonia, isobutyrate, valerate, isovalerate, and total BCFA were higher (P<0.05) in cats fed HP compared to cats fed RB and CB. Our results suggest that cooking a raw iii meat diet does not significantly decrease macronutrient digestibility or alter N metabolism, yet may minimize risk of microbial contamination. Given the increasing popularity of feeding raw diets and the metabolic differences noted in this experiment, further research focused on the adequacy and safety of raw beef-based diets in domestic cats is justified.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2010
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    ABSTRACT: The objectives of this study were to determine differences in apparent total tract energy and macronutrient digestibility, fecal and urine characteristics, and serum chemistry of domestic cats fed raw and cooked meat-based diets and extruded diet. Nine adult female domestic shorthair cats were utilized in a replicated 3 × 3 Latin square design. Dietary treatments included a high-protein extruded diet (EX; 57% CP), a raw beef-based diet (RB; 53% CP), and a cooked beef-based diet (CB; 52% CP). Cats were housed individually in metabolic cages and fed to maintain BW. The study consisted of three 21-d periods. Each period included diet adaptation during d 0 to 16; fecal and urine sample collections during d 17 to 20; and blood sample collection at d 21. Food intake was measured daily. Total feces and urine were collected for determination of nutrient digestibility. In addition, a fresh urine sample was collected from each cat for urinalysis, and a fresh fecal sample was collected from each cat for determination of DM percentage and ammonia, short-chain fatty acid (SCFA), and branched-chain fatty acid (BCFA) concentrations. All feces were scored after collection using a scale ranging from 1 (hard, dry pellets) to 5 (watery, liquid that can be poured). Blood was analyzed for serum metabolites. Apparent total tract DM, OM, CP, fat, and GE digestibilities were greater (P ≤ 0.05) in cats fed RB and CB than those fed EX. Total fecal SCFA concentrations did not differ among dietary treatments; however, molar ratios of SCFA were modified by diet, with cats fed RB and CB having an increased (P ≤ 0.05) proportion of fecal propionate and decreased (P ≤ 0.05) proportion of fecal butyrate compared with cats fed EX. Fecal concentrations of ammonia, isobutyrate, valerate, isovalerate, and total BCFA were greater (P ≤ 0.05) in cats fed EX compared with cats fed RB and CB. Our results indicated that cooking a raw meat diet does not alter apparent total tract energy and macronutrient digestibility and may also minimize risk of microbial contamination. Given the increasing popularity of feeding raw diets and the metabolic differences noted in this experiment, further research focused on the adequacy and safety of raw beef-based diets in domestic cats is justified.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2012 · Journal of Animal Science
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