DO THE VETCAT PRODUCTS REALLY HELP TO CONTROL THE BODYWEIGHT OF STERILIZED CATS?
From February to June 1998, a large european study has been conducted to screen the palatability, the digestive tolerance and the influence of Vetcat products upon the evolution of catsís bodyweight after they have been sterilized. In partnership with 22 veterinary clinics (from France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Nederlands), 134 cats have been included in the study. Here, we shall report only the results concerning the influence of Vetcat products on the evolution of catsí bodyweight after sterilization.
Protocole of the study
Each cat was initially weighed by the veterinarian before beeing sterilized. From the day after the surgical sterilization, the owner was told not to feed anything else than Vetcat Young Adult, and to strictly respect the feeding tables. It meant a great change in their usual way of feeding, as only 20 % cats were fed a drycatfood before, and only 1/3 of cats were not fed ad libitum by their owner.
2 months after the sterilization, cats had to be presented to the veteriarian again, for a complete clinical examination. It occured for 65 cats, i.e 48 % of the initial group.
Males presented an average weight gain of 7 %: their initial average bodyweight was 4,1 kg (+/- 0,87 kg), and 2 months later, it became 4,4 kg (+/- 0,98 kg).
Females presented an average weight gain of 13 %: their initial average bodyweight was 3,0 kg (+/- 0,54 kg), and 2 months later, it became 3,4 kg (+/- 0,65 kg).
The apparent superior weight gain in females was probably due to the fact that they were younger at the moment of the sterilization. Their growth period came to an end during the study.
When we look at the individual results, we can notice that:
- 47 % of cats maintained their bodyweight during the study
- 22 % lost some weight (an average of 300 g for an initial average bodyweight of 4 kg)
- 31 % of cats gained weight, and among them:
- 22 % gained between 500 g and 1 kg; these were 13 cats, 6 of them were not food-restricted, and 7 were young cats, with an average age of 8,4 months old.
- 9 % gained more than 1 kg ; those were 6 cats including 5 non-food restricted cats!
The average bodyweight gain was low compared to results obtained in other studies, where cats received a high-fat diet after sterilization. For example, by feeding sterilized adult cats with a 21 % fat-diet, Goggin (1993) observed an average bodyweight gain of 1 kg within 2 months, i.e 26 % increasing.
If the low-fat content of Vetcat is certainly a major help for preventing obesity in sterilized cats, the control of catís food consumption by the owner remains undispensable. Vetcatís palatability is such that no control at all would make difficult to reach the initial goal, which is to maintain the ideal catís bodyweight, even after the sterilization.
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