LETTER: More kittens needed!

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Kitten owners living in the UK are helping with the “Bristol Cats” study being run by the University of Bristol, but even more kittens are needed to take part in the first study of its kind that will help improve the health and welfare of cats in the future.

The researchers wish to recruit a further 700 kitten owners who own a kitten aged between eight and 16 weeks by the end of December 2012.

“Bristol Cats”, led by academics at the University’s School of Veterinary Sciences, is being carried out because little is known about the causes of common behaviour patterns and diseases of cats, such as, obesity, diet, lifestyle, aggression towards people, spraying and lower urinary tract problems.

Kitten owners, who are over 18 years of age, complete four online or postal questionnaires, initially when their kittens are approximately eight to 16 weeks, then again at six, 12, and 18 months of age. These questionnaires provide the researchers with very valuable data. The researchers can analyse these data to see to what extent certain characteristics or conditions are associated with the cat’s management and other factors.

Details about the study, including access to online questionnaires and results, are available at www.bristol.ac.uk/vetscience/cats. Owners can complete questionnaires online or request paper questionnaires. Participation in the study is voluntary and owners have the right to withdraw from the study at any point.

If you are interested in helping with the study, please call the “Bristol Cats” team on 07827 981412 or email cat-study@bristol.ac.uk.