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Behaviour in order to evaluate the palatability of pet food in domestic cats

By Aurélie Becques, Claire Larose, Céline Baron, Cécile Niceron, Christophe Féron, Patrick Gouat

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Abstract

Palatability of pet food has been mainly assessed by intake ratios. In the present study we have searched for behavioural clues of food palatability in domestic cats Felis catus. Two diets differing in palatability (Very Palatable Kibbles and Low Palatable Kibbles) were evaluated by a panel of 17 cats using an automated feeding station and video recordings. The cats tested each diet in two different sessions, with only one diet during a given session. A session lasted for two consecutive days with food continuously available during 20h per 24h period. At each of their visit to the feeding station, the quantity of food eaten by a cat, the speed of consumption and the latency to eat were recorded. The behaviour of the cat was also analysed for each visit. All the cats made at least four visits to the feeding station during a 24h period. We compared the different quantitative variables between the two diets for the first three visits and for the last visit of each of the two days of a session. Our results showed that, as expected, cats ate more VPK than LPK. Addressing behavioural patterns, the length of sniffing was significantly reduced with VPK on the two first visits of the first day, suggesting less hesitation in this situation. Neither the latency nor the speed of consumption was affected by the palatability of the kibbles.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 159
Pages 55-61
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.07.003
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Tags
  1. Cats
  2. Feeding behavior
  3. palatability
  4. pet foods