PhotoYou have to admire the scientific mind. It is constantly on a quest for new knowledge and insights. Just last week, researchers posited that we are fat because we eat too much.

And now another group of researchers has found that cats eat more during the winter and -- therefore -- cat owners should give their pet more food during the winter months.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool's School of Veterinary Science, in collaboration with colleagues at the Royal Canin Research Centre in France, spent four years monitoring how much cats chose to eat. They found that food intake increased in colder months and decreased during the summer. The research appears in PLOS One.

The 38 cats studied had a microchip on their collar which allowed them to take as much food as they wanted from a dispenser which only opened for them. At the same time, this microchip recorded how much the cat had eaten and when.

"Cats, like many humans are more inclined to comfort eat when it's cold outside but, in their case, it's likely to be due to the extra energy they need to keep warm when out and about," said veterinarian and study author Alex German. 

The study found that cats ate approximately 15% less food during the summer, when the temptation to rest contributed to the swing in activity levels during the year.

Seasonal food intake has also been examined in the past on farm animals, such as dairy cows, to establish new ways of increasing milk production, but this is the largest study that has yet taken place with domestic cats.

"People should consider the amount of food their cats need at different times of year as this can be part of helping them to maintain a healthy weight," German said.


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