Indexed on: 25 Feb '11Published on: 25 Feb '11Published in: The Journal of experimental biology
We report feeding studies on adult domestic cats designed to disentangle the complex interactions among dietary protein, fat and carbohydrate in the control of intake. Using geometric techniques that combine mixture triangles and intake plots from the geometric framework, we: (1) demonstrate that cats balance their macronutrient intake, (2) estimate the composition of the target balance and (3) reveal the priorities given to different macronutrients under dietary conditions where the target is unachievable. Our analysis indicates that cats have a ceiling for carbohydrate intake, which limits ingestion and constrains them to deficits in protein and fat intake (relative to their target) on high-carbohydrate foods. Finally, we reanalyse data from a previous experiment that claimed that kittens failed to regulate protein intake, and show that, in fact, they did. These results not only add to the growing appreciation that carnivores, like herbivores and omnivores, regulate macronutrient intake, they also have important implications for designing feeding regimens for companion animals.