Behavioural indicators of food preferences in domestic cats (Felis catus). (#671)
Pet food palatability is mainly assessed by looking at the intake ratios while pets are offered two different foods presented simultaneously into two bowls. In the present study we have searched for behavioural clues related to the expression of a preference and thus of food palatability in domestic cats Felis catus . Two dry diets differing in palatability - High Palatable Kibbles (HPK) and Low Palatable Kibbles (LPK) - were evaluated by a panel of 17 'expert' cats using an automated feeding station and video recordings. The cats had the opportunity to taste each diet in two different sessions, with only one diet presented at a time. A session lasted for two consecutive days with food continuously available during 20h per day. The behaviour of the cat into the feeding station was analysed for each visit and the quantity of food eaten, the speed of consumption and the latency to eat were recorded. All the individuals made at least four visits to the feeding station per day. The different quantitative variables between the two types of kibbles for the first three visits and for the last visit of each of the two days of a session were compared. As expected, cats ate more HPK than LPK. When looking at behavioural patterns, the length of sniffing was significantly reduced with HPK on the two first visits of the first day, suggesting less hesitation in this situation. Neither the latency nor the speed of consumption was affected by the type of diet.