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Helen Miles
January 26th 05, 11:16 AM
"Ted Davis" > wrote in message

> Depends on what you mean by natural. I read somewhere that one of the
> few differences between the African Wild Cat and modern domestic cats
> is that the modern cats have a digestive system modified in the
> direction of less specialized diets, that is, in the direction of
> improved carbohydrate digestion.///

Certainly one of the ways to differentiate between European Wildcats
"Felis sivestris silvestris", and Domestic cats "Felis Silvestris catus"
is by gut length. Wildcats have a shorter gut than domestic cats, which
I would suggest is due to a lower proportion of grain in their diet.
This anomaly is backed up by studies that were done on rodents (can't
find the exact reference at the moment but can dig it out of wanted),
whereby rodents were fed differing levels of cereals in their diet and
over a few generations the gut length changed "significantly" (i.e.
became longer) in the rodents on a more cereal based diet. Given the
levels of cereal in cat food these days, it would be a fair leap to
conclude that domestic cats had adapted slightly to differences in a
comercial diet.

Having said that, I wouldn't feed my cats a pure dry diet - they get a
mixture of wet, dry and fresh food.

Just my $0.02c.

Helen M


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Ted Davis
January 26th 05, 03:22 PM
On Wed, 26 Jan 2005 10:16:49 +0000 (UTC), "Helen Miles"
> wrote:

>"Ted Davis" > wrote in message

>> Depends on what you mean by natural. I read somewhere that one of the
>> few differences between the African Wild Cat and modern domestic cats
>> is that the modern cats have a digestive system modified in the
>> direction of less specialized diets, that is, in the direction of
>> improved carbohydrate digestion.///
>
>Certainly one of the ways to differentiate between European Wildcats
>"Felis sivestris silvestris", and Domestic cats "Felis Silvestris catus"
>is by gut length. Wildcats have a shorter gut than domestic cats, which
>I would suggest is due to a lower proportion of grain in their diet.
>This anomaly is backed up by studies that were done on rodents (can't
>find the exact reference at the moment but can dig it out of wanted),
>whereby rodents were fed differing levels of cereals in their diet and
>over a few generations the gut length changed "significantly" (i.e.
>became longer) in the rodents on a more cereal based diet. Given the
>levels of cereal in cat food these days, it would be a fair leap to
>conclude that domestic cats had adapted slightly to differences in a
>comercial diet.
>

I don't think modern commercial cat foods are a significant cause -
more a result: they are formulated for cat digestive systems as found.
I think that centuries of scavenging human leavings and eating grain
fed rodents, along with intentional feeding of grain based foods to
cats in previous centuries (oriental cats were often fed mostly rice -
same as the humans - meat being scarce) ... basically the same diet as
their humans. Of course, they also ate what they could catch, but the
ones that could deal with the supplemental food best would be the
healthiest and have the most surviving offspring. Of those that had
the best tolerance for carbohydrates, the ones least afraid of people
would have the best access to supplemental food - the obvious result
of the simultanious selections for tameness and carbohydrate tolerence
alone woul enough to cause the development of a subspecies, or at
least populations, of cat better adapted to living with humans.


T.E.D. )
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