Food selection by the domestic cat, an obligate carnivore

Bradshaw, John W.S., Goodwin, Deborah, Legrand-Defrétin, Véronique and Nott, Helen M.R. (1996) Food selection by the domestic cat, an obligate carnivore Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, 114, (3), pp. 205-209. (doi:10.1016/0300-9629(95)02133-7).


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The domestic cat Felis silvestris catus is the most accessible member of the family Felidae for the study of the relationship between food selection and nutrition. In contrast to pack-living animals such as the dog, and opportunistic omnivores such as the rat, the cat is generally able to maintain its normal body weight even when allowed ad libitum access to palatable food by taking small meals and adjusting intake according to the energy density of the food(s) available. The most extreme adaptations to carnivory discovered to data lie in the taste buds of the facial nerve, which are highly responsive to amino acids and unresponsive to many mono- and disaccharides. Preferences for particular foods can be modified by their relative abundance, their novelty, and by aversive consequences such as emesis: the mechanisms whereby these are brought about appear to be similar to those used by omnivorous mammals.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/0300-9629(95)02133-7
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Keywords: felidae, cat, feeding behaviour, palatability, olfaction, taste, facial nerve, meal patterns, aversion, neophobia

ePrint ID: 18262
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Date Event
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2006
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 23:12
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