Monday, 25 February 2013

Raw Meat Diet May Not Be Enough for Cats (or Tigers): Pet Owners Risk Increased Pathogens, Nutrient Imbalances


Feb. 18, 2013 — Animal scientists say a raw meat diet is a good source of protein for cats, but pet owners may need to supplement with other nutrients.

In a new paper in the Journal of Animal Science, researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium analyzed the value of raw meat diets for cats and exotic felids. The researchers used several tests to evaluate the nutrients in meat from bison, cattle, horses and elk.

To test how the different diets affected cats, the researchers collected blood serum and fecal samples from domestic cats and captive African wildcats, jaguars and Malayan tigers. The researchers also used cecectomized roosters to analyze amino acid digestibility in the different diets. Cecectomized roosters have had an organ called the cecum removed, which allows scientists to better analyze amino acids in their waste.

They found that raw meat diets met many nutrient requirements for cats, but there were some gaps. None of the diets contained the recommended levels of linoleic acid, the horsemeat did not provide the levels of arachidonic acid recommended for kittens, gestating females and lactating females.

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