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J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2005 Apr-Jun;89(3-6):199-202.

Comparison of feed preference and digestion of three different commercial diets for cats and ferrets.

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1
Institute of Animal Breeding, Nutrition and Laboratory Animal Science, PO Box 2, Budapest, SZIU, H-1400 Budapest, Hungary. fekete.sandor@aotk.szie.hu

Abstract

Diet preference and digestibility experiments were conducted using a total of 10 cats and 10 ferrets. The composition of the three different kinds of dry cat feed was as follows (each data are given in dry matter, DM): (i) normal diet (N): 95.3% DM, 33.7% crude protein (CP), 20.4% ether extract (EE), 37.6% nitrogen-free extract (NFE); (ii) 'light diet' (L): 94.2% DM, 31.6% CP, 10.7% EE, 52.2% NFE; (iii) 'veterinary diet' (D): 94.57% DM, 38.7% CP, 9.6% EE, 47.2% NFE. During the period of the preference test, the average daily dry matter intake (calculated with the mean of the three diets: 94.7% DM) was 98.0, 15.0 and 16.7 g DM in cats and 25.0, 7.3 and 8.1 g DM in ferrets. The preference rates of the three different diets, expressed in percentage of their total consumption, were as follows: 60.4% N (54.4 g DM), 12.4% L (12.1 g DM) and 27.2% D (26.6 g DM) in cats, and 46.2% N (11.6 g DM), 29.9% L (7.5 g DM) and 23.9% D (6.0 g DM) in ferrets. This indicates that cats and ferrets have a clear preference for diets of higher fat content. In all three diets, the digestibility of CP was significantly (p < 0.05) lower (70.1 +/- 5.4 vs. 75.9 +/- 5.8) while that of EE was significantly (p < 0.05) higher (95.6 +/- 1.5 vs. 89.4 +/- 5.3) in ferrets than in cats. The average digestible/metabolizable energy (DE/ME) ratio of feeds turned to be 95.6% for cats and 90.6% for the ferrets. From the data one can conclude that the ferret cannot be used as a model animal for cats either for preference or digestibility studies.

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