Protein requirement for lactating cats

The Nutrient Research Council recommendations for cats for energy and protein during gestation and lactation are based on limited data. This study aimed to answer if the energy requirement can be met with wet food or if the volume is restrictive.

Balance trials were conducted in 10 queens before mating, during the fourth and seventh week of gestation and during the second and sixth week of lactation. The cats were fed wet food ad libitum, and their body composition was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry before mating, after parturition and after weaning.

Eight of 10 cats had increased body fat content and lean body mass during gestation. The weight loss during lactation led to a loss of lean body mass, but only six cats lost body fat of widely differing amounts. The queens’ dry matter intake was consistent with that of queens fed ad libitum with dry food. The cats lost lean body mass during lactation and had negative protein balances in the second week of lactation, which seems to be physiological. Nevertheless, the protein recommendations for lactation seem to be too low.

Source : B. Wichert et al., 2011. Cats during gestation and lactation fed with canned food ad libitum: energy and protein intake, development of body weight and body composition. JAPAN online August 2011. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2011.01214.x

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