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Use of a Raw Meat-Based Diet or a Dry Kibble Diet for Sand Cats (Felis Margarita)

Updated: May 9, 2020

DATE: 1997


Crissey, S.D., Swanson, J.A., Lintzenich, B.A., et al. (1997). Use of a raw meat-based diet or a dry kibble diet for sand cats (Felis margarita). Journal of Animal Science, 75(8): 2154–2160.




Limited information is available on the utilization of different types of diets by captive exotic felid species. Utilization of diets by small exotic felids may differ depending on the diet fed. Eight sand cats (Felis margarita), which are small, 2- to 4-kg cats, were used to examine the digestibility of two types of diets: a raw meat-based diet and a dry kibble diet. Dry matter, crude protein and energy intakes and digestibilities were evaluated. Digestibilities for dry matter, energy, and crude protein were 83.5 +/- 4.8, 89.6 +/- 5.2, 92.4 +/- 5.3% for the raw meat-based diet and 72.7 +/- 12.3, 76.8 +/- 14.5, and 77.9 +/- 13.5% for the kibble diet. Physiological variables also were examined and included plasma taurine, vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, beta-carotene, calcium, and phosphorus. Plasma taurine means were 91.4 +/- 8.4 mumol/L in cats consuming the raw meat-based diet and 248.0 +/- 23.2 mumol/L in cats consuming the kibble diet. Plasma phosphorus was 5.2 +/- .1 and 4.5 +/- .1 mg/dL, respectively, in cats consuming raw meat-based and kibble diets. beta-Carotene was 25.2 +/- 2.9 and 2.9 +/- .3 micrograms/dL, respectively, for cats consuming the raw meat-based and kibble diets. These results indicate that diets formulated for small captive exotic felid species should be evaluated with respect to diet type and nutrient utilization.


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