Leicestershire, England - Researchers have shown for the first time that increased dietary moisture really is beneficial for urinary tract health in cats. The research was conducted at the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition, the science centre supporting Mars Petcare brands such as WHISKAS® and ROYAL CANIN.
The research demonstrated that a diet high in moisture boosts a cat’s total daily water intake to a level that cannot be achieved by simply providing drinking water alongside dry food. The higher daily water intake resulted in increased urine volume and dilution. Urine dilution has shown to be beneficial in reducing the risk of urinary stone disease in cats.
“Bladder stones occur in around 2% of cats and, if left untreated, can cause severe discomfort and a range of health problems,” said study author and Head of Value Transfer at WALTHAM®, Dr. Abigail Stevenson. “Although the benefits of a wet diet for urinary tract health are widely accepted, this had not previously been established in a well-designed study.”
The research involved six healthy adult cats, which were fed dry food with three levels of added water. The original dry food contained 6.3% moisture and water was added to deliver 25.4%, 53.2% and 73.3% moisture. When cats were fed the 73.3% moisture diet they produced larger volumes of more dilute urine with a lower risk of stone formation than when they were fed the lower moisture diets. This indicates that the dietary moisture window for urinary dilution, i.e. the level at which benefits are seen, is between 53.2% and 73.3% dietary moisture.
These findings reinforce the benefits of feeding cats a diet high in moisture in order to promote urinary tract health. The benefits seen in this study can be achieved by incorporating wet foods (pouch, tray, can) into the daily food ration.
WALTHAM® is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of companion animals. This research forms part of a wider programme of ongoing collaborative research into cat and dog health and nutrition. WALTHAM® has previously conducted similar research with small breed dogs.
These findings were originally presented at the WALTHAM® International Nutritional Science Symposium (WINSS), which took place in September 2010 in Cambridge, UK. The research has since been published as part of a special edition WINSS supplement to accompany the October issue of the British Journal of Nutrition and is now available in print and online.
WINSS 2010, which was hosted in partnership with the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge University and The Nutrition Society, brought together many of the world’s leading experts on pets and nutrition to present and discuss the latest developments in the field of veterinary and nutritional science.
About the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition:
The WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition is a leading scientific authority in pet nutrition and wellbeing and has been advancing the frontiers of scientific research into the nutrition and health of companion animals for nearly 50 years. Located in Leicestershire, England, the renowned state-of-the-art science institute focuses on the nutritional and behavioural needs of companion animals and their benefits to humans, enabling the development of innovative products which meet these needs in a practical way. WALTHAM® has pioneered many important breakthroughs in pet nutrition, and in collaboration with the world’s foremost scientific institutes, supports leading Mars brands such as WHISKAS®, PEDIGREE®, NUTRO®, TRILL®, CESAR®, SHEBA®, KITEKAT®, AQUARIAN®, WINERGY® and the ROYAL CANIN brand.
About Mars, Incorporated
In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars’ first roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the philosophy of a “mutuality of benefits” for all stakeholders – this vision serves as the foundation of the Mars, Incorporated we are today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $30 billion and six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks and Symbioscience. More than 65,000 Associates worldwide are putting our Mars Principles in action every day to make a difference for people and the planet through our performance.
Mars brands include: Chocolate – M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Petcare – PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, SHEBA®, CESAR® and ROYAL CANIN®; Wrigley – ORBIT®, EXTRA®, STARBURST®, DOUBLEMINT® and SKITTLES®; Food – UNCLE BEN’S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS® and SEEDS OF CHANGE®; Drinks – ALTERRA COFFEE ROASTERS™, THE BRIGHT TEA CO.™, KLIX® and FLAVIA®; Symbioscience –SERAMIS®, CIRKU™ and COCOAVIA™.
For more information, please visit www.mars.com.