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Br J Nutr. 2011 Oct;106 Suppl 1:S19-23. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511001851.

Effects of neutering on food intake, body weight and body composition in growing female kittens.

Author information

1
Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, Freeby Lane, Waltham-on-the-Wolds, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire LE14 4RT, UK. lucille.alexander@effem.com

Abstract

To understand the effects of neutering on food intake, body weight (BW) and body composition in kittens, data from an unrelated study were subjected to post hoc analysis. A total of twelve pairs of 11-week-old female littermates were randomly assigned to either a neutered group (neutered at 19 weeks old) or an entire group (kept entire) and offered free access to a dry diet until the age of 1 year. Neutered kittens exhibited increased food intake and increased BW after neutering (both P < 0.00 001). Food intake (per kg BW) peaked 10 weeks after neutering; the mean intake of neutered kittens was 17 (95 % CI 8, 27) % more than entire littermates (P = 0.00 014). The intake was then reduced until there was no significant difference between the groups 18 weeks post-neutering. By 52 weeks of age, the neutered kittens were 24 (95 % CI 11, 39) % heavier than entire littermates (P < 0.0001) with a body condition score (BCS) 16.6 (95 % CI 0.9, 34.8) % higher (P = 0.0028). Neutered kittens continued to grow significantly fatter after neutering (all P < 0.0014), while entire kittens showed no significant change after 18 weeks of age. As neutered kittens consumed similar amounts of energy to their entire littermates from 18 weeks post-neutering, while their BW, BCS and percentage fat continued to increase, we suggest that neutered kittens have a reduced metabolisable energy requirement, and should therefore be fed to maintain an ideal BCS rather than ad libitum. Moreover, to maintain an ideal BCS, entire kittens consumed 93 (95 % CI 87, 100) % of their theoretical intake at 26 weeks of age, and 79 (95 % CI 72, 87) % at 52 weeks of age, suggesting that the current energy recommendation is inappropriate for these kittens.

PMID:
22005425
DOI:
10.1017/S0007114511001851
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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