Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Silvia Rossbach

Second Advisor

Carol Beaver

Third Advisor

Diana Carter


This study used fecal samples from four indoor cats and four indoor-outdoor cats in order to identify the microbial communities in the gut of cats. This information was then used to compare the microbial phyla between both groups for any differences. Total microbial DNA was isolated from each fecal sample, and the 16S rRNA gene was sequenced using Illumina MiSeq high throughput method. The sequences were identified using the bioinformatics program mothur. The results show that indoor cats had a more diverse microbial community as compared to outdoor cats. Indoor cat samples had 26% more microbial species, and eight more phyla compared to outdoor cat samples. The predominant phyla present in both indoor and outdoor cats were Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, and Proteobacteria. Indoor cats also contained a significant number of Fusobacteria. After analyzing a dendrogram, it was found that indoor cat microbial populations were more related to each other compared to outdoor cat bacterial populations, whereas outdoor cat microbial populations were quite diverse from each other.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access