WHAT DO VETS RECOMMEND USUALLY
FOR STERILIZED CATS ?
In Europe, more than half of the feline population is sterilized, and these neutered cats represent the most important part of the feline practice in veterinary clinics. Let’s have a look at what pratictioners usually recommend concerning feeding sterilized cats.
20 % do not give any special recommandation
It could be useful to remind to those vets a few elements important to take into account for the dietary follow up of these cats.
1- Obesity is 3,4 times more likely in sterilized cats.
Sterilized cats have a tendancy to eat more after the surgery, whereas their energetic requirements become 25-30 % lower than before. Then, they are able to gain more than 50 % of their bodyweight within 2- 3 months. Consequently, they require a less fatty diet, that makes easier the control of the bodyweight evolution.
2- Sterilization is a risk factor for urinary calculi formation.
Probably because sterilized cats urinate less often, and because the urine stays longer in the bladder. This problem can be prevented by feeding an adapted diet, that maintains the urinary pH at a level incompatible with the uroliths formation. Urinary acidification fights against struvite calculi, and calcium oxalate uroliths cannot develop if the pH of the urine is close to 7,0.
3- Sterilized cats live longer compared to intact cats.
Then, the diet must take into account:
- the probability of appearance of such or such kind of uroliths
- digestive performance of the cats according to the age
- the general aging process, and especially kidney aging.
52 % recommand to reduce the amount of food
That is a good point, but are the cat owners able to follow this advice ? A cat that is used to eat a certain volume of food can be very demanding for begging more when he got restricted… Rather than frustrating both the cat and the owner, it is preferable to propose a cat food specially designed for this purpose. Palatable, but less energetic thanks to a low-fat content associated to a high-fiber content, and presented under a very expanded form to maintain a sufficient volume.
(Moreover, a single dietary restriction does not solve the remarks 2 and 3 above mentionned.)
28 % advise a specific diet
Among them, 62 % choose a light product.
It is theoritically a right answer to the obesity problem, but are we sure that the product is really “ light ” ? A lot of “ Light ” products contain more than 14 % fat, when a food for sterilized cats should not go over 10 %. There are some other products that respect this limit, but they are so poorly palatable that the owners end up feeding something else. The right product must stay highly appreciated by the cats, without supplying more than 3500 kcal/kg.
Besides, one must check that the chosen product can guarantee a correct urinary pH depending of the age of the cat.
Among them, 26 % choose a maintenance product.
Prescribing a maintenance product is the same as encouraging obesity in sterilized cats. Actually, most of these products contain between 16 and 23 % fat, and provide more than 4300 kcal/kg of metabolizable energy. If the cat has got an unrestricted access to the food, which is the most common situation, the bodyweight will increase progressively, but surely.
Among them, 12 % choose a acidifying product.
This dietary measure is interesting for the prevention of struvite calculi, but what about the energetic density of this acidifying product ? Most of the acidifiying products also have a high-fat content…
Then, acidification is not something suitable in any case. In cats over 5 years old, the incidence of struvite calculi dicreases, whereas the probability of appearance of calcium oxalate calculi becomes more and more important. And the latter are favored bu an acid urinary pH. Between 5 and 10 years old, a careful attitude is advised: a moderate acidification is preferable (pH from 6,4 to 6,8). After 10 years old, the best is to stay close from neutrality (pH from 6,8 to 7,2).
The Veterinary cat range is the only one that allows the vets to fight against obesity in sterilized cats, while controlling the urinary pH in an optimal way, and taking into account the effects of the aging process.
Donated by the Borg Cardona and Co. Ltd. visit Borg Cardona website