Interpretive Summary: Avocado meal: A novel dietary fiber source in feline diets.
By: Dr. Caitlin Vonderohe
Cats have exponentially increased in popularity as pets in the last several years. The human population has also increased to be over 7.6 billion people in 2018. The growth of the pet population coupled with the growth of the human population has resulted in a need to find new ways to efficiently use food products and byproducts to limit waste. Avocado oil and avocado pulp are used and consumed by humans, however humans do not consume or use the avocado peel. Additionally, there are other avocados that may be byproducts of avocado oil extrusion or are not otherwise suitable for human consumption.
Cat food typically has a fiber source included in the formulation. Avocado meal, a byproduct of the avocado oil industry and avocado processing for human consumption, may serve as an alternative fiber source to include in feline diets. The objective of the study described in an abstract entitled “Avocado meal: A novel dietary source in feline diets,” published in the August 2017 issue of the Journal of Animal Science was to evaluate avocado meal as a fiber source in feline diets.
Eight neutered male cats were fed one of three diets, that included avocado meal, beet pulp (a commonly used fiber source), or cellulose (plant fiber) in a Latin square design. Urine and feces were collected from each cat in each experimental period, and feed intake was measured. Fecal consistency was scored throughout the study. Blood samples were also collected at the end of each experimental period.
The results of this study showed no differences between the dietary treatments in daily feed intake or daily fecal output. The fiber source in the diets did not affect the digestibility of the diets. The protein in the diet containing avocado meal was approximately 9% less digestible than the diet containing cellulose, and 4% less protein digestible than the diet containing beet pulp. The consistency of the feces from cats fed the diet containing avocado meal did not differ from the cats fed the other fiber sources. The blood work was not different from cats fed any of the three diets.
The lack of significant differences between blood work, fecal consistency and minimal differences in digestibility in cats fed avocado meal compared to other fiber sources shows that avocado meal may be a novel fiber source that may be used in feline diets. This represents a new way for the pet food industry to be more efficient and sustainable.
To view the full article, visit the Journal of Animal Science.