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Domestic Cats Eat 15% Less During Summer

I don't think that this is startling news but nonetheless it is interesting that a formal study confirms what is perhaps common sense knowledge.
Cat in Winter. Eats more. Photo Charlotte Claeson.


A study reported on the PLOS ONE website assesses differences in food intake in 38 adult colony cats of various ages and genders.  Food intake was recorded on a daily basis and the mean daily intake for each calendar month was worked out.  The study took place in the South of France.

There were in fact 3 periods of different levels of food intake.  Food intake was at its lowest for the cats during the summer months e.g. June to August and food intake was the greatest during the months of late autumn and winter e.g. October to February.

An intermediate level of intake took place in the spring e.g. March to May and early autumn, September.

Peaks and troughs in both the temperature and daylight length coincided with food intake peaks and troughs.

The study concluded that food intake was 15% down in the summer compared to the winter.  I suppose the reason is that cats need to keep warm and therefore need more calories to achieve that. Also cats are lazier and less active during summer months and therefore eat less.

I'm sure that this study has little relevance to full-time indoor cats.  It would seem to be primarily relevant to cats living outside but I may have that wrong.  Cats living inside full-time are immune to variations in temperature but they may be affected by daylight length.  Therefore there may be some impact upon full-time indoor cats.

Study

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