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Study using activity monitors to track cats’ activity levels

Posted May 21, 2019

Does your cat live indoors? Researchers from the University of Bristol Vet School want to hear from indoor cat owners for a new study looking at cats’ mobility levels using cat activity monitors.

The researchers want to study the effect of joint disease on cats’ activity levels by using activity monitors to measure the movements of cats with and without mobility problems.  They hope their findings will further advance their understanding of this challenging and painful condition.

A cat wearing the activity tracker. Image credit: Bristol University

A cat wearing the activity tracker. Image credit: Bristol University

Dr Emily Blackwell, Director of Companion Animal Population Health at the Bristol Veterinary School, said: “The welfare of cats taking part in the study is our top priority, so participating cats must be happy to meet and be stroked by strangers and wear a breakaway (safety) collar.

“By taking part in the study participants will help us to identify the earliest signs of joint disease which could make a difference to the lives of millions of cats in the future.”

The results of the study will be used to help improve the health and welfare of cats in the future, in the same way that the University’s Children of the 90’s study, a long-term health research project that has followed the health and development of 14,000 children since 1991, has helped in the knowledge of childhood diseases.

Cats taking part in the study should be:

  • over six years of age;
  • be kept indoors or have outdoors access within a closed run and/or on a lead;
  • shouldn’t be on any pain medication, and
  • live within one to two hours’ drive from Bristol.

Cat owners, aged 18 years or over, will need to complete two short questionnaires, which will take around 15 minutes to complete; be happy for researchers to visit them and their cat at home to carry out a gentle examination of their cat’s joints and for their cat to wear a light activity monitor on their collar for two weeks.

The Feline Activity Study is part of ‘Bristol Cats’, a pioneering longitudinal study, launched in May 2010, which is led by academics at the Vet School.  The study, which follows the lives of around 2,200 registered cats, is being carried out because little is known about the causes of common behaviour problems and diseases of cats, such as, obesity, kidney disease, aggression between cats, and lower urinary tract problems.

Source: University of Bristol

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