Objective—To evaluate the effect of dietary fat and energy density on body weight gain, body composition, and total energy expenditure (TEE) in neutered and sexually intact cats.
Animals—12 male and 12 female cats
Procedure—Male cats were castrated (castrated male [CM]) or underwent no surgical procedure (sexually intact male [IM]). Female cats underwent ovariectomy (spayed female [SF]) or laparotomy and ligation of both uterine tubes without ovary removal (sexually intact female [IF]). Cats were fed either the low-fat (LF) or high-fat (HF) diet for 26 weeks, with the final allocation consisting of 8 groups: IF-LF, IF-HF, SF-LF, SF-HF, IM-LF, IM-HF, CM-LF, and CM-HF. Mean food intake for each group was recorded daily, and body weight was monitored weekly throughout the study. Body composition and TEE were measured before surgery in week 0 and at the end of the study (week 26) by isotope dilution (double-labelled water).
Results—Neutered cats gained significantly more body fat and body weight (53.80 ± 5.79%) than sexually intact cats (27.11 ± 5.79%) during the study. Body weight gain of neutered cats fed the HF diet was greater than those fed the LF diet. Following correction for body composition, TEE was similar in all groups and no pattern towards increased food intake was evident.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Weight gain in neutered cats was decreased by feeding an LF, low energy-dense diet. To prevent weight gain in cats after neutering, a suitable LF diet should be fed in carefully controlled meals rather than ad libitum. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1708–1713)