Ask the expert..Nov-Dec 09


Q: What are the behaviour changes in cats with respect to climate and food?
Dr Sunil Kumar C, Thalassery, Kerala
Dr KG Umesh: Cats are true carnivores. They generally prey items, which are rich in water, protein & fat and low in carbohydrate and have no requirement for plant materials. Cats can not taste sugars/carbohydrates. It is generally believed that food at body temperature is preferred by cats. Whiskas cat food has been developed considering all these feeding behaviours and enjoyment of feeding. For example, Whiskas has specific design of kibbles size and shape, texture, aroma and variety. Adult cats are grazers, feed 2-5 or more small meals per day. Whether you are feeding wet, dry or semi-moist, water is a vital nutrient. 

The most important part of the environment is climate, which includes humidity, temperature and photoperiod. These climatic factors or seasonal changes influence the behaviour, breeding status and immunity of animals. Animals who live in hot/cold seasons/climates are adapted to their environment. Reduced food and thus nutrient intakes can be a problem in pets in hot environment yet energy requirements may be increased to maintain normal body temperature. Therefore, it seems prudent to feed the diets with a moderately increased energy level during cold or hot climate in cats. A nutritionally balanced diet with a continuous source of fresh clean drinking water appears to confer some protection from the detrimental effects of heat stress.