Individual study: Influence of feeding raw or extruded feline diets on nutrient digestibility and nitrogen metabolism of African wildcats (Felis lybica)
Vester B.M., Burke S.L., Liu K.J., Dikeman C.L., Simmons L.G. & Swanson K.S. (2010) Influence of feeding raw or extruded feline diets on nutrient digestibility and nitrogen metabolism of African wildcats (Felis lybica). Zoo Biology, 29, 676-686
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Carnivores: Feed commercially prepared diets
A replicated, randomized study in 2013 of African wildcats Felis silvestris lybica in a zoo in the USA found that when fed a high protein commercial extruded diet, crude protein digestibility was lower and food intake and faecal output were higher compared to feeding a raw meat diet. Crude protein digestibility was lower when consuming a commercial diet (84%) compared to a raw meat diet (92%). Food intake and faecal output were higher on a dry matter basis when fed the commercial extruded diet (61.8 and 12.9 g/day respectively) compared to a raw meat diet (43.7 and 6.7 g/day respectively). There were no differences in faecal scores, ammonia or fatty acid concentrations between diets and no differences in the apparent digestibility of other nutrients, most blood metabolite levels or nitrogen retention. If commercial diets are nutritionally similar to raw meat diets then they may be preferred to reduce the risk of pathogens. Five adult wildcats were fed a raw meat or a high-protein dry commercial extruded diet and then switched to the other diet. Food offered and refused was weighed daily. Urine and faeces were collected in metabolism cages. Blood samples were collected from anaesthetised wildcats and serum metabolite was determined.