Domestic felines eat less in the summer and may need less food according to research from the University of Liverpool.
Pet food manufacturer Royal Canin collaborated with researchers from the university's School of Veterinary Science monitoring how much cats chose to eat. They discovered that cats eat decreased amounts during the summer and increased amounts in colder months — under certain circumstances.
Microchips tell the tale
The researchers studied 38 micro chipped cats for four years. The microchip was in a collar and operated a unique dispenser for each cat. This allowed the cats to eat as much as they wanted and only from their personal food dispenser. This permitted accurate measuring of each cat’s food intake. The special microchip also recorded how much each cat had eaten and when.
Cats chow down when it's cold outside
Turns out that cats are like humans. They like comfort food when it’s cold outside and eat more. Veterinarian Dr Alex German speculated that the extra food is “likely to be due to the extra energy they need to keep warm when out and about."
Out and about is not the best place for cats, southern France or not, which is where these cats lived. Cats are best kept indoors, where food needs can remain consistent, and the cat can live a longer, healthier life.
These little research participants were allowed to play and exercise outside year round. They were observed in a natural environment and fed to their heart's content. They were mixed breeds and of various ages and genders. Computer modeling provided information on how temperature changed throughout the year.
The study found that cats ate approximately 15 percent less food during summer. The veterinarians concluded that reduced activity during hot summer days contributes to the reduced need for food. Another reason to keep cats indoors. Their activity level remains stable and so does your pet food budget.
Fight obesity in pets
Obesity is a problem in companion animals and their humans. Knowing how much they need relative to their activity level is a good way to help them maintain a healthy weight. Keep them indoors, monitor their activity, and feed accordingly.