CLAWS Feline Welfare Study


The CLAWS study has now been completed.  Data from the study are being analysed and written up for publication, and some owners of study cats are now participating in the Bristol Cats Study.

The Cat Longitudinal Analysis of Welfare Study, or ‘C.L.A.W.S.’, is an exciting study being undertaken by researchers at the University of Bristol. We aim to collect a range of information on kittens aged 2 – 6 months until they are 2 years old. Collecting information about kittens early on in life and then following their development into adult cats will inform us of how the early environment of a kitten shapes his/her later health and behaviour. We are also interested in the types of owners who own certain types of cats so will be collecting data on owner characteristics. Finally we hope to study feline personality and learning ability; this is a relatively new research topic, so you and your cat would be pioneers in this extremely exciting field of research!

‘C.L.A.W.S.’ is an extension of the successful ‘Bristol Cats’ study, the cat-equivalent of the ‘Children of the 90’s’ study also run at the University of Bristol. The ‘Children of the 90’s’ study collects information on children who were born in the Bristol region in the early 90’s and has resulted in identifying ways to prevent many important conditions, such as cot death. The ‘Bristol Cats’ study is looking in the same way to identify causes of common welfare problems and diseases, so that they may be prevented in the future.  ‘C.L.A.W.S.’ will add to the knowledge gained by the ‘Bristol Cats’ study by looking to identify factors about a cat’s behaviour, characteristics, management and environment which are linked to certain welfare outcomes.  Together these studies will help us to prevent these problems from occurring in the future, thus improving the future welfare of our domestic cats.

What does the study involve?

Participants will be asked to complete a set of 5 straightforward questionnaires when they first adopt their kitten, and then when the cat is approximately 6-7 months, 12-13 months, 18-19 months and 24-25 months.

For those participants who are enthusiastic and living in the areas of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, we will also be looking for cats to join our ‘Felines in Focus’ (FIF) group, in order that we can directly observe their cat’s behaviour and run some behavioural tests at set time points within the 2 year study period. This is a very important aspect of the study as it will enable us to collect detailed data on cat behaviour and examine its link with feline welfare, as well as investigating feline personalities and learning abilities.

Results from the study

Click here to view preliminary results from the study.

Study updates - Newsletters

Newsletters are produced approximately every 6 months to update owners of study cats about the progress of the study, such as how many cats we have recruited and preliminary results as they become available. Click the links below to read the study newsletters. (PDF, 702kB)

Ethical approval and confidentiality

The study has been approved by the Faculty of Medical and Veterinary Sciences Ethics Committee. Information such as your name and address will not be used for any other purpose than linking the different questionnaires you complete for your cat at different ages, and will be held securely in line with the University of Bristol’s policy on data protection. Individual cats and their owners will not be identifiable in the results.

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