BRUSSELS, June 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Research by scientists at the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition - part of Mars Petcare - and the University of Sydney, Australia shows flavour and nutrition both influence how cats choose their food
A study unveiled today by Mars Petcare has revealed that while flavour is important initially, domestic cats learn to choose their food based on nutrition rather than flavour. The study published in Royal Society Open Science (http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/lookup/doi/10.1098/rsos.160081) today confirms that over time cats learn about the fat and protein content in their food and regulate their intake to reach a target ratio of these nutrients.
Scientists at WALTHAM Centre of Pet Nutrition, Mars Petcare, and the University of Sydney, Australia offered cats foods with various ratios of fat and protein flavoured with fish, rabbit or orange. When first presented with the foods, the cats showed a preference based on flavour. However, over time they learnt about the nutrient composition and selected foods in order to reach a target ratio of protein and fat, regardless of flavour.
Adrian Hewson-Hughes from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition at Mars Petcare, and lead author of the study said the findings have implications for the development of foods for cats: "This research has enabled Mars Petcare to understand more about developing foods for cats with both appealing flavours and the appropriate nutrient composition that ensures cats continue to eat foods in the long-term. This in turn feeds into what we already know about nutrition - and through our brands such as WHISKAS, SHEBA and ROYAL CANIN we are committed to developing pet foods that first and foremost ensure cats have access to the right nutrition in a format they enjoy."
WALTHAM is the global scientific research centre for Mars Petcare delivering breakthroughs in pet nutrition and the science of human-animal interactions.
About the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition:
Celebrating over 50 years of innovative science, the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition serves as a leading scientific authority in advancing the frontiers of research into the nutrition and health of companion animals. Located in Leicestershire, England, the renowned state-of-the-art science institute for Mars, Incorporated generates knowledge that enables the development of innovative products that meet pets' needs in a practical way. Since the publication of its first original research in 1963, WALTHAM has pioneered many important breakthroughs in the field of pet nutrition and human-animal interaction, resulting in more than 1,700 publications, including over 600 peer-review scientific papers. Today, WALTHAM continues to collaborate with the world's foremost scientific institutes, driving Mars' Petcare vision to create A Better World for Pets and providing the science and expertise that underpins leading Mars brands such as PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, ROYAL CANIN®, Banfield Pet Hospital, and IAMS®, CESAR®, NUTRO®, SHEBA®, DREAMIES® and EUKANUBA®.
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 objective of creating a "mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders" - this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and more than 75,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance. For more information, please visit http://www.mars.com. Follow us: http://facebook.com/mars, http://twitter.com/marsglobal, http://youtube.com/mars .
SOURCE Mars Petcare