A novel study into the causes of common behaviour patterns and diseases of cats has received funding to continue throughout 2012, and researchers are calling on vets and VNs to promote the study to cat owning clients.
A novel study into the causes of common behaviour patterns and diseases of cats has received essential funding to continue throughout 2012, and researchers are calling on veterinary practices to promote the study to cat owning clients.
Launched in the Bristol area in June 2010, and rolled out across the UK in March 2011, the Bristol Cats study is a “first of its kind” investigation into cat health, welfare and behaviour.
The cat-equivalent of the famous Children of the 90s study, it collects information from kitten owners that contributes towards helping find causes of common behaviour patterns and diseases of cats, including obesity and hyperthyroidism.
The study has proved to be extremely popular with more than 1,000 kittens and cats enrolled.
Now, due to a boost in funding, the study is set to continue throughout the whole of 2012, so researchers at the University of Bristol are calling on UK veterinary practices to help them continue gathering information by encouraging anyone with a kitten to take part – including non-pedigree, pedigree breeds and multiple kittens from the same household.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
To help spread the word to kitten owners, cat breeders or anyone with a kitten, veterinary practices can email organisers directly for a supply of posters and flyers to display and pass on to kitten owners who visit their premises.
If you have a kitten between 8 and 16 weeks of age, please log-on to the updated website and tell them about your kitten – they would also love to hear from owners of more than one kitten.
HOW INFORMATION IS COLLECTED
Kitten owners complete four online or postal questionnaires, initially when their kittens are between 8-16 weeks, then again at 6, 12, and 18 months of age.
If further funding becomes available, the study will continue to a lifetime study of the kittens – but kitten owners can leave the study at any point should they wish to. The data is analysed to see what extent certain characteristics (e.g. obesity) are associated with management (e.g. diet, lifestyle) and other factors (e.g. breed).
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
To provide guidance to the cat community at large, such as veterinary practitioners, cat breeders, owners and improve the health and welfare of cats – in the same way that the Children of the 90s study identified ways to prevent many important conditions in children, such as cot death.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss any aspect of the study, contact:
Dr Jane Murray
Cats Protection Research Fellow
Bristol Cats, University of Bristol
Langford House, Langford,
BRISTOL, BS40 5DU
Tel: 07827 981412