Aversion of the cat to dietary medium-chain triglycerides and caprylic acid

Physiol Behav. 1985 Sep;35(3):371-5. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(85)90311-7.


Young, specific-pathogen-free cats were fed purified diets containing different sources of fat. Food intake was depressed and cats lost weight when the diet contained either hydrogenated coconut oil (HCO) or medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). With an MCT preparation enriched in 8:0 (MCT8), cats would not eat after first tasting the diet. When cats were offered a choice of two high-fat diets, they chose the basal diet over a diet containing 30% HCO, by a ratio of 4.5:1. Low levels of MCT8 (5% or 10% by weight) were also rejected, whereas cats did not reject 5% or 15% MCT12. Caprylic acid, at 0.1-1.0% of the diet, was rejected. In other studies, food intake and body weight decreased when HCO was added to a fat-free diet. Cats fed 25% or 35% HCO lost weight. When 5% safflower seed oil was added to the HCO diets, body weights and food intake improved, but were still less than optimal. These studies indicate that the food intake depression in cats fed dietary HCO and MCT is primarily a result of impalatability, and that the fatty acid moiety may be responsible for the aversion.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Caprylates*
  • Cats
  • Coconut Oil
  • Dietary Fats*
  • Food Preferences*
  • Hydrogenation
  • Plant Oils*
  • Species Specificity
  • Taste
  • Triglycerides*


  • Caprylates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Plant Oils
  • Triglycerides
  • octanoic acid
  • Coconut Oil