Increasing dietary crude protein does not increase the essential amino acid requirements of kittens

M. J. Strieker, James Morris, Quinton Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Essential amino acid (EAA) requirements of omnivores and herbivores (e.g. chicks, Iambs, pigs and rats) are directly related to the concentration of dietary crude protein (CP). When an EAA is limiting in the diet, addition of a mixture of EAA lacking the limiting one (which increases dietary CP) results in a decrease in food intake and weight gain. This interaction has been referred to as an AA imbalance and has not been studied in depth in strict carnivores. The objectives of these experiments were to examine the effects on growing kittens (2-week periods) of the addition to diets of a mixture of AA lacking the limiting one. The control diets were at the requirement of the respective limiting EAA (or about 85% of the 1986 National Research Council requirement). In experiment 1, with the dietary EAAs at the minimally determined requirements, the concentration of the essential or dispensable amino adds was increased to determine if CP or an EAA was limiting. Results of growth rates (n = 12) and plasma AA concentrations indicated that tryptophan was limiting, but increased body weight gain also occurred when the concentration of CP was increased as dispensable amino acids without additional tryptophan. Experiment 1 was repeated in experiment 2 using a crossover design. Again, when tryptophan was limiting additional concentrations of dispensable AAs increased body weight gain. This response is the opposite of that in herbivores and omnivores. Experiment 3 consisted of 10 separate crossover trials, one for each of the 10 EAA and examined the effect of two concentrations of dietary CP (200 and 300 g CP/kg diet) on body weight gain of kittens (n = 8) offered diets limiting in each respective EAA. Body weight gain was numerically greater when diets contained 300 g CP/kg than 200 g CP/kg for eight of 10 EAAs (p < 0.05 for only isoleucine and threonine) when each amino acid was limiting. This response is the reverse of that which occurs in chicks, lambs, pigs and rats when an EAA is limiting and dietary CP lacking the limiting EAA is increased. These results indicate that the EAA requirements of kittens are not positively correlated with dietary CP concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-353
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2006


  • Essential amino acid requirements
  • Feline
  • Kitten

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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