kittybiome: microbiomes for cat health & biology
$8,479 raised
78 contributors
2 Years running
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.

Our Mission

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 the Illumina 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!

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Perks

$25 USD
Cats for science t-shirt
  • 22 claimed
Support microbiome research for cats and get a soft heather gray t-shirt with our fabulous "cats for science" logo.
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$35 USD
Kittybiome scarf
  • 12 claimed
Support science and get a custom kittybiome chiffon silk scarf designed by the amazing maker of science-y art, Michele Banks @artologica.
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$75 USD
Cat Tracker participant rate
  • 3 claimed
We will send you a kit with detailed instructions for collecting a small fecal sample from a Cat Tracker kitty participant that you will send back to us for analysis. You will receive access to an interactive website once your kitty's results are ready. Please add $5 for shipping in the USA and Canada and $15 for other international locations. International participants are responsible for return shipping.
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$99 USD
Sequence my kitty's microbiome!
  • 33 claimed
Estimated delivery Jul 2015
We will send you a kit with detailed instructions for collecting a sample from your kitty that you will send back to us for analysis. You will receive access to an interactive website once your kitty's results are ready. Please add $5 for shipping in the USA and Canada and $15 for international addresses.
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$180 USD
Microbes for two kitties
  • 11 claimed
We will send you a sampling kit to collect two samples from your kitty or one sample from two kitties. You will receive detailed instructions for collecting these samples and sending them back to us for analysis. You will have access to an interactive website once your kitty's (or kitties') results are ready. Please add $5 for shipping in the USA and Canada and $15 for international addresses.
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$260 USD
Microbes for three kitties
  • 2 claimed
We will send you a kit to collect samples from three kitties (or three samples from one kitty). You will receive with detailed instructions for collecting these samples and sending them back to us for analysis. You will receive access to an interactive website once your kitty's results are ready. Please add $5 for shipping in the USA and Canada and $15 for international addresses.
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$320 USD
Microbes for four kitties
  • 4 claimed
We will send you a sampling kit to collect four samples from your kitty or sample four kitties. You will receive with detailed instructions for collecting these samples and sending them back to us for analysis. You will receive access to an interactive website once your kitty's results are ready. Please add $5 for shipping in the USA and Canada and $15 for international addresses.
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$380 USD
Microbes for five kitties
  • 0 claimed
We will send you a sampling kit to collect five samples from your kitty or sample five kitties. You will receive with detailed instructions for collecting these samples and sending them back to us for analysis. You will receive access to an interactive website once your kitty's results are ready. Please add $5 for shipping in the USA and Canada and $15 for international addresses.
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