Comparison of inferred fractions of n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in feral domestic cat diets with those in commercial feline extruded diets.
Objective - To compare presumed fatty acid content in natural diets of feral domestic cats (inferred from body fat polyunsatrated fatty acids content) with polyunsaturated fatty acid content of commercial feline extruded diets. Sample - Subcutaneous and intra-abdominal adipose tissue samples (approx 1 g) from previously frozen cadavers of 7 adult feral domestic cats trapped in habitats remote from human activity and triplicate samples (200 g each) of 7 commercial extruded diets representing 68% of market share obtained from retail stores. Procedures - Lipid, triacylglycerol, and phospholipid fractions in adipose tissue samples and ether extracts of diet samples were determined by gas chromatography of methyl esters. Triacylglycerol and phospholipid fractions in the adipose tissue were isolated by thin-layer chromatography. Diet samples were also analyzed for proximate contents. Results - For the adipose tissue samples, with few exceptions, fatty acids fractions varied only moderately with lipid fraction and site from which tissue samples were obtained. Linoleic, α-linolenic, arachidonic, eicosapentaenoic, and docosahexaenoic acid fractions were 15.0% to 28.2%, 4.5% to 18.7%, 0.9% to 5.0%, <0.1% to 0.2%, and 0.6% to 1.7%, respectively. As inferred from the adipose findings, dietary fractions of docosahexaenoic and α-linolenic acid were significantly greater than those in the commercial feline diets, but those for linoleic and eicosapentaenoic acids were not significantly different. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - The fatty acid content of commercial extruded feline diets differed from the inferred content of natural feral cat diets, in which dietary n-3 and possibly n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids were more abundant. The impact of this difference on the health of pet cats is not known.