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The Cat Microbiome

A group of researchers, including the University of California, Davis' Jonathan Eisen, are seeking funds to study the microbiomes of cats for their Kittybiome project. According to their Kickstarter page, they want to see how the microbiome influences cat behavior and health.

Supporters of the project will receive a sampling kit as well as a questionnaire asking about their cat; those who want to support the project but don't have a cat can choose to have the microbiome of a shelter cat sequenced instead.

"With your help, we will create the largest database of microbiome data and other data (behavior, health, diet, breed, geography) on cats," Eisen and his colleagues say at their Kickstarter page.

The researchers add that participants will receive their cat's results, and they pledge to publish their results in an open-access journal. In addition to supporters' cats, they also plan to examine the microbiome of two famous cats — LilBub, who has its own genome sequencing effort, and Eleanor Clift's cat Preshie.