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Seasonal variations in feline appetites

S. Serisier, A. Feugier, S. Delmotte, V. Biourge, A. J. German

SEASONAL trends in feeding activity have been documented in several wild mammal species. The aim of this study was to assess whether the self-regulated food intake of domestic cats varies by season.

Thirty-eight cats housed in a colony at a research centre in France as part of another longitudinal study were analysed. Twenty-two of the cats were in ‘ideal’ body condition at the start of the study, while the remainder were classified as overweight. The cats were fed ad libitum over the four-year study period and each cat had access to its own food station controlled by microchip recognition. Daily food intake per cat was monitored throughout.

Food intake was found to vary significantly by month. The amount of food eaten was lower during the summer months (around 52 grams per day) than the winter months (around 56 grams per day), with mean food intake during autumn and spring falling between the two extremes. Despite the variations in food intake, bodyweight was not linked to season. Statistical analysis indicated that number of hours of daylight, but not temperature, was associated with …

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