The objective of the present study was to evaluate whether access to a running wheel increases voluntary physical activity in adult female and male domestic cats. Eight neutered domestic shorthair male cats (mean age 8·6 (SD 0·05) years) and eleven intact domestic shorthair female cats (mean age 3·3 (SD 0·14) years) were group housed for 22 h daily and individually housed during the feeding period. Voluntary physical activity was measured using accelerometers. Experimental design consisted of 1 week of baseline physical activity measurement, followed by 3 weeks of wheel habituation, and 1 week of physical activity measurement post-wheel habituation. Female cat voluntary physical activity levels increased (P < 0·05) post-habituation during the dark period, resulting in an altered (P < 0·05) light:dark activity ratio, whereas male cat voluntary physical activity levels remained unchanged post-habituation. Food anticipatory activity did not differ pre-And post-habituation. However, it corresponded to a numerically greater proportion of daily physical activity for males (17·5 %) v. females (12 %). In general, female cats were more active than male cats. Habituation to a running wheel appears to be an effective method to increase voluntary physical activity of younger female cats. Thus, running wheels might be a potential strategy in the prevention or management of feline obesity.
- Feline nutrition
- Running wheels
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism