Panel discussion: Cats are unique creatures: New nutrition research

Though a smaller part of the overall pet food market, cat food represents a growth segment globally, as more pet-loving consumers turn to cats as companions. Product development is starting to catch up, emphasizing that cats are not small dogs; they have their own unique nutritional and health needs. What does the latest research show? Topics and experts include:

  • Long-term effects of diet format on body weight, body composition and insulin sensitivity in the cat — Emma Bermingham, Ph.D., AgResearch
  • Cat feeding enjoyment – Chris Wildman, Ph.D., AFB International
  • Potential benefits of supplementing dietary choline to cats — Alexandra Rankovic, University of Guelph

Panel members include:

Emma Bermingham, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, AgResearch

Alexandra Rankovic, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Guelph

Chris Wildman, Ph.D., Senior Manager of Customer Engagement and Product Development for AFB International

Emma Bermingham, Ph.D., obtained a bachelor’s degree animal science from Massey University and a Ph.D. from Massey University (based at AgResearch). She undertook several post-doctoral positions including at the Waltham Centre of Pet Nutrition. In 2007, she returned to AgResearch to investigate the effects of diet on intestinal health and in 2009 was appointed senior scientist, responsible for conducting commercial and applied nutritional research for companion animals. Research interests include the effects of diet on intestinal health for companion animals, focusing on intestinal microbiota.

Alexandra Rankovic is a doctoral candidate from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. Her doctoral research focuses on the lipotropic effects of dietary choline supplementation in overweight and obese cats. She previously obtained her master’s degree in companion animal nutrition, where her research focused on the glycemic index and the effects of carbohydrates on health in dogs. Rankovic has presented her research at a large number of international conferences and has contributed to numerous peer-reviewed publications. She has experience working with several pet food companies, including Royal Canin Canada and Petcurean Pet Nutrition.

In his role as senior manager of customer engagement and product development for AFB International, Chris Wildman, Ph.D., focuses on integrating the technical know-how at AFB with the experiences he’s gained from his previous roles in product development in the pet food industry, to provide results-driven solutions for AFB customers. Prior to earning a Ph.D. in animal nutrition from the University of Georgia, Wildman obtained a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in animal science and crop and soil science, respectively. The potential for life-changing results to be delivered through nutrition is something about which Wildman is very passionate.