Self-selection of dietary casein and soy-protein by the cat

Physiol Behav. 1985 Apr;34(4):583-94. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(85)90053-8.


Growing specific-pathogen-free kittens were fed for two weeks a choice between two complete diets differing only in protein content. When casein diets containing 18, 36 and 54% protein were offered in the three possible combinations, the kittens consistently avoided the higher casein diets and kittens offered the two highest levels of casein significantly reduced their total food intake. In one soy-protein choice study, 16, 31 and 63% protein diets were each offered with a protein-free (PF) diet. When diets were similar in physical consistency, kittens selected similar amounts of both diets with the result that the PF:16% group consumed below their requirement of protein. In another soy-protein experiment the 16, 31 and 63% protein diets were offered in their three possible combinations. Kittens in all three groups selected similar amounts of both diets. Except for their avoidance of casein, the kittens did not regulate in a consistent manner their intake of protein and therefore, behaved very differently from the rat in the self-selection of dietary protein.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Caseins*
  • Cats
  • Dietary Proteins*
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Male
  • Plant Proteins*
  • Rats
  • Soybeans / analysis*
  • Species Specificity


  • Caseins
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Plant Proteins