Thank you for your interest in our exciting new study of kittens. This webpage is designed to tell you more about the ‘C.L.A.W.S.' study…..
The Cat Longitudinal Analysis of Welfare Study, or ‘C.L.A.W.S.’, is an exciting new 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.
Who can join the study?
Anyone aged 18 years or above who is adopting a kitten aged 2 – 6 months (inclusive) from a rescue organisation can join the ‘C.L.A.W.S.’ study. Participation is completely voluntary and you would have the right to leave the study any time you choose. If you and your cat are already participating in the ‘Bristol Cats’ study, this does not exclude you from also participating in ‘C.L.A.W.S.’!
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.
The C.L.A.W.S. team are very grateful for every completed questionnaire we receive as it enables us to investigate factors which influence the behaviour and health of cats, in our quest to improve feline welfare. We couldn't do this without you! So as a thank you and an added incentive, all completed questionnaires will now be entered into a prize draw! Every 6 months, all owners who have completed their appropriate questionnaire (for 2-6 month, 6 month, 12 month, 18 month and 24 month old cats) when requested will be entered into a prize draw for a £50 gift voucher of their choice from www.voucherexpress.co.uk. Furthermore, owners who complete all 5 questionnaires during the two year study period will be entered into a draw to win £100 worth of vouchers. So keep those completed questionnaires coming in! Thank you and good luck!
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.
The 'C.L.A.W.S.' project now has a facebook page, where participants can share photos of their kittens and keep updated with the study.
Cat of the month
Each month we will be selecting at random a C.L.A.W.S. cat participant to be named 'Cat of the month'! As well as enjoying a celebrity status on our website and Facebook page, each 'Cat of the month' will win a cat toy to enjoy! Post pictures of your cat on our facebook page, or send pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org for your kitten to be in with a chance of being selected for this prestigious title!
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.
If you would like to take part, please complete our FIRST questionnaire:
To complete the first questionnaire (for 2-6 month old kittens) for ONE kitten, please click here
If you have TWO kittens (age 2-6 months), please click here to complete the first questionnaire for them
To complete the second questionnaire (for 6-7 month old kittens) for ONE kitten, please click here
Two kittensIf you have TWO kittens (age 6-7 months), please click here to complete the second questionnaire for them
To complete the third questionnaire (for 12-13 month old cats) for ONE cat, please click here
If you have TWO cats (age 12-13 months), please click here to complete the third questionnaire for them
If you would like to request a paper version of the questionnaires or if you have any questions about the study, please do not hesitate to get in touch using the contact details at the bottom of this page.
I hope that having read this information you are excited about this study as we are, and that you are keen to help us improve feline welfare by enrolling your rescue centre kitten. We hope to hear from you soon!
Lizzie Rowe at: email@example.com