Testing Adult Cat Food

Minimum Feeding Protocol for Proving an Adult Maintenance Claim for a Cat Food

CATS

A minimum of eight healthy adult cats at least one year of age and of optimal body weight shall be required to start the test. Queens in gestation or lactation shall be excluded. All animals starting the test must pass an initial physical examination by a veterinarian. A minimum of 30 cats shall be required for developing a historical colony average, with data used to establish averages for all parameters coming from the same individual cats. A minimum of eight cats shall be required for the concurrent control group.

DIET

The same formulation shall be fed throughout the test although different production batches may be used. Diets fed to a concurrent control group or to cats in the determination of historical colony averages must have successfully passed a minimum feeding protocol for an adult maintenance claim for a cat food. it may be helpful to consider diet type (i.e. dry vs. semi-moist vs. canned) in establishing colony averages.

DURATION OF TEST

The test should run for a minimum of 26 weeks and shall begin when cats are placed on the test diet.

FEEDING PARAMETERS

The test diet shall be the sole source of nutrients except for water. Cats shall be fed ad libitum or based on energy needs. Fresh water shall be provided ad libitum. Any interruption in feeding protocol must be disclosed and may invalidate the test.

CLINICAL OBSERVATIONS AND MEASUREMENTS

1. Daily consumption may be measured and recorded.
2. Individual body weights shall be measured and recorded at the beginning, weekly, and at the end of the test.
3. Hemoglobin, packed cell volume, serum alkaline phosphatase, serum albumin and whole blood taurine shall be measured and recorded at the end of the test.
4. All cats shall be given a complete physical examination by a veterinarian at the beginning and at the end of the test. Each cat shall be evaluated as to general health, body and hair coat condition, and comment shall be recorded.
5. Any medication and the reason for its use must be recorded.
6. A number of cats, not to exceed 25% of those starting the test, may be removed for non-nutritional reasons or poor food intake. The reason for their removal must be recorded. Cats may be removed for poor food intake only in the first two weeks of the test. Data already collected from cats removed from the test shall be retained although it does not have to be included in the final results.
7. A necropsy shall be conducted on any cat which dies during the test and the findings recorded.

    INTERPRETATION


    A. The diet shall fail if any cat shows clinical or pathological signs of nutritional deficiency or excess.
    B. All cat not removed for non-nutritional reasons or poor food intake must successfully finish the test.
    C. No individual cat shall lose more than 15% of its initial body weight. The average percent body weight change (final compared to initial) shall not be less than either:
    D. Negative ten percent; or

    1. The average for the concurrent control group, minus the allowance for normal variation. The allowance for normal variation is defined as 1.76 times the pooled estimate of the standard error of the difference of the two group averages (one-tailed, two sample t-test at p≤0.05, if n=8 per group).

    E. The average final hemoglobin, packed cell volume, whole blood taurine and serum albumin values shall not be less than either:

    1. Hemoglobin – 10.0 g/dl (no individual <8.0 g/dl)

a. PCV – 30% (no individual <24%)
b. Taurine – 300 nmole/ml (no individual <200 nmole/ml)
c. Albumin – 2.8 g/dl (no individual <2.4 g/dl); or

    2. The historical colony average minus 2.33 times the standard error. The standard error is defined as the colony standard deviation divided by the square root f the number of test animals; or
    3. The average for the concurrent control group, minus the allowance for normal variation. The allowance for normal variation is defined as 2.62 times the pooled estimate of the standard error of the difference between the two group averages (one-tailed, two sample t-test at p≤0.01, if n=8 per group).

    F. The average final serum alkaline phosphatase value shall not be greater than either:
    1. 100 IU/L (no individual >200 IU/L); or
    2. The historical colony average plus 2.33 times the standard error. The standard error is defined as the colony standard deviation divided by the square root of the number of test animals; or
    3. The average for the concurrent control group, plus the allowance for normal variation. The allowance for normal variation is defined as 2.62 times the pooled estimate of the standard error of the difference of the two group averages (one-tailed, two sample t-test at p≤0.01, if n=8 per group.

    OPTIONAL PROCEDURES

    The testing requirements for a maintenance cat food may be met by successfully performing either the growth or gestation/lactation protocols in lieu of performing the maintenance protocol.

    So, a pet food that has been labeled “100% NUTRITIONALLY COMPLETE CAT FOOD FOR ADULT CATS” has most probably been tested on 8 cats for a period of under 7 months.