Abstract

This study used an owner-directed online questionnaire to collect data regarding their food and water provision for their pet cats. The survey was conducted in 2019. The anonymous online 30-question survey was available via vetprofessionals.com. A total of 1172 cat owners fully completed the questionnaire. The respondents each owned a median of two cats (range 1-6). They reported being most strongly motivated to feed a particular ration because of palatability, observed and/or expected health benefits, or that the diet was/is perceived as 'natural'. The majority of owners (n = 946, 80.7%) fed their cats exclusively a commercially purchased complete wet food, dry kibble diet or mixture of both. Compared with a previous (unpublished) survey conducted by the same authors in 2013,1 there were substantial increases in the number of owners feeding therapeutic diets (26.6% vs 0.7%) and the inclusion of raw meat in cats' rations (15.6% vs 3.7%). The proportion of respondents providing at least one feeding station per cat was 83.1%, with significant use of enrichment feeding methods (29.1%). Veterinarians need to be aware of changing trends in cat feeding to provide owners with appropriate support. Veterinary advice was frequently sought by owners and can be used as an opportunity to improve cat health and welfare, particularly in multi-cat households, but was not often influential to client decision making.

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