We are working with the Veterinary Genetics Lab at UC Davis to use DNA to map the relationships between cats in two feral cat colonies that have some crossover ( and ). Aside from the fascinating things we expect to learn that we can't yet predict, we are hoping to identify lines that may be at higher risk for certain medical issues (like the early-onset kidney disease we have seen), and learn more about how feral cats interact and reproduce within and between colonies.
This involves collecting buccal swabs from each feral or formerly-feral cat from this colony... which means we have to stick eight q-tips into their cheek pouches swirling each q-tip eight times to ensure a sufficient sample is collected. On feral cats. Out in the field. We can totally do this... probably... maybe?
These are the 66 cats we've collected samples from so far. Our goal is to get as many as possible, including the 133 cats and kittens adopted out from these colonies. We have to collect the samples before we can start testing. Stay tuned for updates as this is a pretty massive undertaking!
TinyKittens Society is a volunteer-run non-profit society registered in British Columbia, Canada.