The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of diet on the feline stress response by measuring plasma and urinary cortisol. A study diet was developed with a unique combination of nutrients that supports the management of stressful situations. The specific formulation of the diet included alpha-casozepine, which is believed to have an anxiolytic effect, and tryptophan supplementation. Tryptophan is the precursor for the synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Twenty-one indoor cats were fed with the study diet (n = 10) or a control diet (n = 11) for 8 weeks, after which physiological responses were evaluated. The study diet significantly increased the ratio of plasma tryptophan to large neutral amino acids and decreased urinary cortisol concentrations after being consumed daily for 8 weeks, but there was no effect on plasma cortisol levels following a stressful event (veterinary examination and blood draw). Further studies, such as behavioral analyses, are needed to clarify the effects of the study diet.
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