Effects of weight loss with a moderate-protein, high-fiber diet on body composition, voluntary physical activity, and fecal microbiota of obese cats

Am J Vet Res. 2018 Feb;79(2):181-190. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.79.2.181.


OBJECTIVE To determine effects of restriction feeding of a moderate-protein, high-fiber diet on loss of body weight (BW), voluntary physical activity, body composition, and fecal microbiota of overweight cats. ANIMALS 8 neutered male adult cats. PROCEDURES After BW maintenance for 4 weeks (week 0 = last week of baseline period), cats were fed to lose approximately 1.5% of BW/wk for 18 weeks. Food intake (daily), BW (twice per week), body condition score (weekly), body composition (every 4 weeks), serum biochemical analysis (weeks 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 16), physical activity (every 6 weeks), and fecal microbiota (weeks 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 16) were assessed. RESULTS BW, body condition score, serum triglyceride concentration, and body fat mass and percentage decreased significantly over time. Lean mass decreased significantly at weeks 12 and 16. Energy required to maintain BW was 14% less than National Research Council estimates for overweight cats and 16% more than resting energy requirement estimates. Energy required for weight loss was 11% more, 6% less, and 16% less than American Animal Hospital Association recommendations for weight loss (80% of resting energy requirement) at weeks 1 through 4, 5 through 8, and 9 through 18, respectively. Relative abundance of Actinobacteria increased and Bacteroidetes decreased with weight loss. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Restricted feeding of a moderate-protein, high-fiber diet appeared to be a safe and effective means for weight loss in cats. Energy requirements for neutered cats may be overestimated and should be reconsidered.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Weight
  • Cat Diseases / diet therapy*
  • Cat Diseases / microbiology
  • Cats
  • Diet / veterinary*
  • Diet, Protein-Restricted / veterinary*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Eating
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Male
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / veterinary*
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal
  • Weight Loss*


  • Dietary Fiber