Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people

Fellow: Allison Cowan
Mentor: Elizabeth Berliner

Department of Population Medicine & Diagnostic Sciences
Email:; Phone: 607-253-3607
Sponsor: American Humane Association (AHA)
Grant Number: N/A
Title: Growth, Disease, and Mortality in Kittens in Animal Shelters & Foster Care
Project Amount: $4,000
Project Period: 05/01/14-08/31/14

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This study aims to investigate growth rate, occurrence and nature of disease, and the mortality of kittens residing in animal shelters and in foster care. Current literature focuses on kittens within research colonies, catteries, and specific pathogen-free colonies with an incredible scarcity of information regarding shelter kittens, and to the researcher's knowledge no information on foster kittens. An estimated 6 to 8 million cats enter animal shelters in the United States annually, with a large number of those entering being disadvantaged kittens. With such a large population this study has the potential to impact many of the most underprivileged felines by providing vital information to shelter veterinarians. This information will allow veterinarians to recognize health issues and intervene earlier, to develop optimal guidelines for foster care providers as well as preventive medicine protocols, and to address a knowledge gap that is potentially contributing to the deaths of thousands of homeless kittens.