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Feline research: where have we come from and where are we going?
  1. Andy Sparkes
  1. International Cat Care, Place Farm, Tisbury, Wiltshire SP3 6LW, UK, USA
  1. E-mail: andy.sparkes{at}

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Searching the published literature using tools such as PubMed or other online databases are now a common feature in many of our working lives. The ready access to a vast array of scientific literature is both exciting and, often, overwhelming. In an age of electronic information, the huge amount of data stored on the internet is only ever a few clicks away.

It is interesting then to have a little peek at the history of veterinary publications and in particular the publications relating to the care of cats. Using PubMed as the basis and using the term ‘veterinary’ as an initial filter, when searching the database I found that the first publication relating to dogs appeared in 1809,1 whereas the first relating to cats appeared in 1868.2 It is, of course, well recognised that good veterinary knowledge about canine welfare and disease significantly pre-dated similar information about cats, primarily because dogs were adopted as common household pets at an earlier stage.

Since that first feline publication listed in PubMed, using the same search, a total of 59,838 publications on cats are found. This of course is a crude figure based on an unsophisticated search pattern, but nevertheless it gives some idea of the vast number of publications that have appeared over the years.

Fig 1 shows the breakdown of these cat veterinary publications in the PubMed database over time.

Fig 1:

Number of publication of papers …

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