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Studying the Role of Chronic Inflammation on Behavior and Cognition in Aging Cats

Researchers will study how age-related chronic inflammation affects cognition, behavior and overall health and well-being of senior cats to help identify preventive measures that can be shared with owners and veterinarians. DESCRIPTION: Recent surveys of cat owners indicate approximately 28% of cats aged 11 to 14 years old develop signs of behavior and cognitive decline, with prevalence increasing to over 50% in cats aged 15 years or older. Researchers want to know if low-grade chronic inflammation (as measured by specific blood markers and physical changes) affects the quality of life and cognitive performance of older cats. A multi-institutional team of researchers, including cat behavior experts, will enroll and study 100 older cats (7 years or older) to ascertain if chronic inflammation is linked to physical and behavior changes, even in the absence of disease, in these senior pets. Results will provide veterinarians with innovative tools for early detection and monitoring of chronic inflammation that affects the health and well-being of their feline patients. Researchers also hope findings will help educate cat owners on the relationship between physical, cognitive and behavioral health to help improve the quality of life of their aging pets."