We are studying whether differences in the microbiomes (bacteria, fungi and other microbes) of cats reveal insights into cat behavior and biology, and how the kitty microbiome depends on and may shape the health of your cat.
Discover your cat!
You are invited to join kittybiome, a citizen science study of the kitty microbiome to better understand how microbiomes differ among cats, whether those differences reveal insights into cat behavior and biology, and how the kitty microbiome depends on and may shape the health of your cat.
The microbiome is all the bacteria, fungi and other tiny things that live in and on us and on our kitties. These microbial communities differ between ears and noses and mouths and tummies. This project focuses on characterizing bacteria living in the microbiome of kitties.
There are many questions that can be answered using today’s DNA sequencing technologies to characterize the microbiome of your kitty.
- How do grumpy cats compare to happy cats?
- How do athletic cats compare to couch potato cats?
- Does it matter if you feed your cat a paleo-mouse diet?
- How do indoor and outdoor cats compare?
- What happens when your cat goes on antibiotics?
- How does the microbiome change during your cat’s nine lives?
Join kittybiome and we will send you a sampling kit and ask you some fun questions about your cat. You send us a sample and we take care of the rest. When the results are ready, you and your kitty can explore its microbiome on our interactive website.
We love Cats. We are studying how microbes interact with cat biology, behavior and health. We invite YOU and your CAT to join our study on the microbiome and biology of cats that also include cats living in shelters and wild cats.
We love Science.
Latest technologies. We are using the latest DNA sequencing methods to characterize the microbial diversity in cats.
Big data. With your help, we will create the largest database of microbiome data and other data (behavior, health, diet, breed, geography) on cats.
Open science. We are committed to open science. While protecting your privacy, we will openly share the results of this study with you. And we will share the database with other researchers who are developing new methods and applications. We will publish our findings in open access journals that everyone can read.
We value Diversity.
Cats. We are launching the largest study of the microbiome of kitties. By looking at all kinds of kitties, from big to small, house cats and wild cats, cats spanning a wide range of health conditions and personalities, we will begin to understand how kitties differ and what makes for happy kitties.
People. We are committed to including all kinds of people in science. We believe in citizen science and invite everyone who cares about kitties to join this project.
Microbes. A healthy gut microbiome contains a diversity of microbes.
Your support can help make kittybiome happen.
How we will sequence the samples
We will perform ultra-high-throughput microbial community analysis using theIllumina MiSeqplatform. Bacterial taxa present in the samples will be identified by sequencing the V4 hypervariable region of 16S rRNA.
Sequencing will be performed with minor modifications following the protocols of the Earth Microbiome Project. DNA will be extracted from samples using the MoBio PowerFecal Kit(Carlsbad, CA) with bead beating. DNA concentrations will be standardized across all samples for PCR enrichment and library preparation. After verifying amplification, amplicons will be cleaned with magnetic beads and quantified using a Qubit Fluorometer (Invitrogen, NY), and pooled in equimolar concentrations for sequencing. The resulting libraries will be sequenced in one Illumina MiSeq lane (paired-end 250 base pair sequencing) according to standard protocols.
Bacterial species will be identified using the Quantitative Insights in Microbial Ecology (QIIME)and Mothur. We will assess differences in microbiome diversity using various nonparametric multivariate methods in R. Results will be presented in an interactive website that we are developing for this project.
Thank you and meow!