'Bristol Cats' Study

alumni logoSTOP PRESS:  Further funding awarded to Jessica Wilson (BSAVA Petsavers MSc student): The University of Bristol Alumni Foundation have awarded Jess a travel grant of £500 towards attending the Annual Meeting of the Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine in Denmark, (March 2016).  Jess will present the early results of her study of risk factors for feline gingivitis at this meeting.  Well done Jess and thank you to the Alumni Foundation!
The Bristol Cats Study

Thank you for your interest in our exciting study that records the environment, health and behaviour of cats from their registration with us at 2-4 months of age until adulthood.  This webpage is designed to tell you more about the ‘Bristol Cats’ study…..

‘Bristol Cats’ aims to be the cat-equivalent of the ‘Children of the 90’s’ study that is run by colleagues at the University of Bristol.  (The ‘Children of the 90’s’ study has collected information relating to children born in the Bristol region in the early 1990’s.  The results of this study have identified ways to help prevent many important conditions, such as cot death).

Registration of cats and kittens

Recruitment of new kittens closed on 31 December 2013, however the study will continue to follow the kittens and cats and analyse data from the cohort.  Approximately 2200 kittens have registered with the study since its launch in May 2010.

Why is the ‘Bristol Cats’ study being carried out?

Because we don’t know much about the causes of common behaviour patterns and diseases of cats.

Questionnaires that are completed by kitten owners will give us very valuable data.  We can look to see to what extent certain characteristics (e.g. aggression towards people) or conditions (e.g. obesity) are associated with the cat’s management (e.g. diet, lifestyle) and other factors (e.g. breed). 

The results from this study can be used to help improve the health and welfare of cats in the future, in the same way that the “children of the 90’s” study has helped our knowledge of childhood diseases.

Owner-completed questionnaires

Owners are asked to complete a questionnaire when their cats are aged approximately:

  • 8-16 weeks
  • 6-7 months
  • 12-13 months
  • 18-19 months
  • 2.5 years
  • 4 years
  • annually thereafter, subject to study funding.

If you give us permission, we will ask you to provide us with your veterinary practice’s details, so that we can collect additional information on your kitten from veterinary practice records (e.g. details on any vaccinations received)

We might ask you to send in samples from your cat (e.g. hair that can be collected when grooming).

If, for example, you are happy to complete questionnaires but do not want to provide any samples and/or give us details of your cat’s veterinary practice, this is fine - just let us know at the end of the questionnaire. 

Participation in this study is voluntary and you have the right to withdraw from the study at any point.

The ‘Bristol Cats’ study website and newsletter

Newsletters are produced approximately every 6 months to update owners of study cats about the progress of the study, e.g. how many cats we have recruited and preliminary results as they become available.


We have set up a facebook group (“Bristol cat study group”) and a twitter @BristolCats!

Ethical approval

The study has been approved by the Ethics of Human Research Committee and by the Ethical review group of the Animal Services Unit, providing that any cases of suspected neglect of a pet will be reported to the appropriate veterinarian.

Confidentiality and data protection

 In order to link the different questionnaires you complete for your cat at different ages, and access veterinary records (if applicable), we ask you to supply your name and address.  This information will not be used for any other purpose and will be held securely in line with the University of Bristol’s policy on data protection.  The study results will refer to overall percentages and numbers of cats, and individual cats and their owners will not be identifiable in the results.

Completion, and electronic or postal return, of a questionnaire indicates that you give permission for your questionnaire responses to be stored and used in the study, as detailed above.

If you have any questions about the study, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the study team, using the contact details below.

Thank you very much for considering participation in this study which is the first of its kind in the UK.  Information about your kitten and its life are very important to us and may help the cats of the future!

Bristol Cats, Dr Jane Murray
University of Bristol
Langford House
BS40 5DU

Tel/text: 07827 981412

Email: cat-study@bristol.ac.uk