The recently launched Feline Healthy Ageing Clinic has just welcomed its 100th ‘senior’ patient through the door, as part of an ambitious long-term study to improve understanding of the ageing process in cats.
The team, directed by professor Alex German and led by Nathalie Dowgray, has been undertaking extensive examinations of cats aged seven to 10 years and has already collected some telling data, including 56 percent of cat owners noting changes to their cats eating behaviour as they grow older and 27 percent of owners feeling their cats have gained weight as they have aged.
With the aim of researching the many factors associated with ageing, the 100 cats have diverse lifestyles. For example, 25 percent are rescue cats, 20 percent spend more time inside as they have aged and 97 percent are neutered.
Lead researcher, Nathalie Dowgray BVSc MRCVS MANZCVS, said: “We are inviting up to 300 cats in total to take part in the five year study, which is the largest of its kind. With 100 cats signed up, we have reached a significant milestone and have already started to get some interesting findings into the health of middle-aged cats. The valuable data we are collecting will enable us to analyse the effects of ageing in more detail than ever before, and on a far larger scale.
“We are ultimately working towards improving the quality of life for these patients, taking strides towards a healthy ageing process.”
As long-term sponsors and partners in the clinic’s success, Royal Canin aim to innovate alongside the Feline Healthy Ageing clinic, sharing in their findings and determining the role of nutrition alongside the many other factors affecting ageing in cats.