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Am J Vet Res. 2011 Jul;72(7):918-23. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.72.7.918.

Effect of water content in a canned food on voluntary food intake and body weight in cats.

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Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.



To determine whether water content in a canned food diet induces decreases in voluntary energy intake (EI) or body weight (BW) in cats fed ad libitum.


16 sexually intact male domestic shorthair cats.


Maintenance EI was determined for 2 months in 10 weight-stable cats consuming a control diet (typical colony diet). Cats were allocated into 2 groups of equal BW and fed a canned diet (with-water [WW] diet) or a freeze-dried version of the canned diet (low-water [LW] diet) twice daily. Diets were identical in nutrient profile on a dry-matter basis. Each dietary treatment period of the crossover experiment lasted 3 weeks, with a 3-week washout period between diets. Body composition measurements were determined by use of deuterium oxide at the end of each dietary treatment. Daily food intake was measured for determination of dry-matter intake and EI. Six other cats were used in preference tests for the 3 diets.


EI was significantly decreased for the WW diet (mean ± SD, 1,053.0 ± 274.9 kJ/d), compared with EI for the LW diet (1,413.8 ± 345.8 kJ/d). Cats had a significant decrease in BW during consumption of the WW diet. Body composition was unaltered by diet. In short-term preference tests, cats ate significantly more of the WW than the LW diet.


Bulk water in the WW diet stimulated decreases in EI and BW in cats. The impact of water content on energy density and food consumption may help promote weight loss in cats.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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