Study Shows Flavor and Nutrition Influence Feline Food Choices
A new study by scientists at the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, part of Mars Petcare, and the University of Sydney, Australia, shows that flavor and nutrition both influence how cats choose their food. Published in Royal Society Open Science, the study demonstrates that cats regulate their food intake to reach a target ratio of fat and protein.
The researchers offered cats foods with various ratios of fat and protein flavored with fish, rabbit or orange. When first presented with the foods, the cats showed a preference based on flavor. Over time, however, they selected foods based on nutrient composition, regardless of flavor.
“This research has enabled Mars Petcare to understand more about developing foods for cats with both appealing flavors and the appropriate nutrient composition that ensures cats continue to eat foods in the long-term," said Adrian Hewson-Hughes, lead author of the study. "This in turn feeds into what we already know about nutrition—and through our brands such as WHISKAS, SHEBA and ROYAL CANIN we are committed to developing pet foods that first and foremost ensure cats have access to the right nutrition in a format they enjoy.”