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Digestion and cat foodFeatured science projectScience project video


This science fair project was performed to examine how much of the cat food eaten by the feline is actually digested and absorbed. The tests were done using 4 brands of cat food IAMS, Friskies, Pet Promise and Nutro Natural Dry.


 The IAMS brand which is also the most expensive will have the highest percent of food digested and absorbed through the cat’s intestine.

Scientific Terms

Carnivorous, amino acids, protein, carbohydrates, enzyme, liver, pancreas, amino acidS


Cat food and digestion

Cats are carnivorous animals; they survive on meat. Ironically, they are not able to synthesize some of the amino acids that  is contained in meat. Therefore, it is important for cats to consume a lot of protein from meat in order to meet their nutritional requirements.

Dry  cat food normally contains about 40% carbohydrates. Carbohydrates hold the crunchy kibble pieces together. The kibble helps reduce the build up of tartar and plaque in the felines’ teeth. However, as carnivores, the cats will have difficulty digesting carbohydrates.
As a carnivorous animal, the cat has jaws that will only be able to cut, tear and bite. Their teeth will not be able to grind food and thier saliva does not contain the required enzymes to digest starch and carbohydrates.

A cat has a very small stomach. The stomach stores the meat that a cat has consumed. Stomach acid dissolves and denatures proteins in the meat. The digested food bits are released in a gradual manner into the small intestine. There, enzymes from a cat’s liver and pancreas convert fat into fatty acid, and protein into amino acid. Only a small amount of carbohydrates are digested.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
It will take an hour to prepare for this science project and 3 days to conduct it
Material availability:
The cat food can be purchased at a pet store or at a supermarket. Lab equipment is required
Safety concerns:

Be carefuly when handling acid.