Dietary Management of Obesity Minimally Effects Variation of the Feline Fecal Microbiota's Metabolic Function
Obesity has serious health consequences for the feline population. It is recognized that a dysbiosis in the phylogenetic composition and metabolic functions of the fecal gastrointestinal microbiota (GIM) play a role in obesity. These obesity-associated microbial changes in the feline GIM are, therefore, worth investigating further. This study characterized the taxonomic and metabolic function of the healthy domestic cat’s GIM; and compared the metabolic function of the GIM between lean and obese cats, and in obese cats before and after a standardized weight loss program. The healthy cats taxonomic and metabolic characterization proved similar to previous studies. No significant differences were detected between lean and obese cats, and obese cats before and after weight loss. However, a wide variability in functional attributes was associated with an obese GIM. Future research should aim toward creating nutritional strategies to increase stability and decrease variability of the obese feline GIM metabolic functions.