Bristol Cats: A Birth cohort of kittens owned by UK households

Submitted by emily_blackwell on Mon, 07/22/2019 - 11:59

The Bristol Cat Study is a pioneering longitudinal study of cat health, welfare and behaviour. Between 2010 and 2013, 2,203 kittens aged between 8-16 weeks old were recruited to this unique cohort study. Owners completed online or paper questionnaires at recruitment, when their cats were 8 to 16 weeks old. Further questionnaires were completed when the cats reached the ages of 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 2.5 years, 4 years and thereafter at annual time points. More details regarding cohort recruitment and questionnaire design and distribution can be found here: Murray, J., Casey, R., Gale, E., Buffington, C., Roberts, C., Kinsman, R. and Gruffydd-Jones, T. (2017). Cohort Profile: The ‘Bristol Cats Study’ (BCS) to a birth cohort of kittens owned by UK households. International Journal of Epidemiology 46. Longitudinal health-related data among domestic cats represents an important information deficit in veterinary literature. Cats are popular household pets in the UK, with approximately 23% of households in the UK owning one or more cats. In 2015, the approximate cost of caring for a cat during its lifetime was estimated to be approximately £17?000, excluding veterinary costs associated with treating ill or injured cats. Commonly diagnosed health problems affecting pet cats of all ages include periodontal disease (68% of cats) and overweight/obesity (5 to 38% of cats). Cognitive dysfunction, chronic kidney disease (CKD) and hyperthyroidism are among the most prevalent health conditions diagnosed in cats over the age of 10 years, with reported prevalences of approximately 36%,10% and 10%, respectively. Trauma (including road traffic accidents) is the most frequently recorded cause of mortality in young (< 5 years) cats, and renal disorder is the most commonly attributed cause of mortality among cats aged 5 years or older. Unwanted behaviours such as inappropriate elimination and aggression towards people and/or other cats are common reasons for which owners seek help from clinical animal behaviourists, or cite as reasons for relinquishment of pet cats to rehoming organisations. The ‘Bristol Cats Study’ cohort was set up with the aim of collecting data prospectively from owners and veterinarians that could be used to advance veterinary knowledge of these and other common feline disorders through examining possible links between owner- and/or veterinary-reported disorders and environmental exposures.


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