November 04, 2021

Interpretive Summary: Short term health impacts of feeding cats black soldier fly larvae meal

Interpretive Summary: Short term health impacts of feeding cats black soldier fly larvae meal

By: Anne Kamiya, MS

There is currently great potential for including black soldier fly larvae meal (BSFLM, Hermetia illucens) in companion animal feed. Although high in protein and nutrient rich, the health impacts of including BSFLM in companion animal feed are largely unknown. In this recent Journal of Animal Science Study, researchers evaluated the short-term health impacts of feeding cats BSFLM feed.  

A total of eight male cats in good health were fed a commercial diet that was slowly transitioned over to the experimental BSFLM feed (containing 4% BSFLM) over a period of 6 days. Cats were fed meals twice daily. At the end of the 6-day transition period, all cats were eating the experimental BSFLM diet and remained on it for a total of 21 days. 

Results indicated that complete blood count and serum biochemistry were statistically unchanged from their initial values, before the cats started the experimental BSFLM diet. Some minor changes in other bloodwork parameters such as alanine aminotransferase, potassium, sodium and mean corpuscular hemoglobin were noted, but the authors attributed these changes to potential differences in the macronutrient compositions between the two diets. 

Overall, this small, preliminary study does support the possibility that BSFLM could be a viable protein alternative and supplemental feed ingredient for companion animals. It warrants further testing into the safety and value of feeding companion animals BSFLM feed. Further studies into the long-term impacts of feeding cats, or other companion animals, such as dogs, BSFLM supplemented feed is another area for potential future study. 

The original article, Short communication: the effects of a semi-synthetic diet with inclusion of black soldier fly larvae meal on health parameters of healthy adult cats, will soon be viewable in the Journal of Animal Science.