The feline cutaneous and oral microbiota are influenced by breed and environment. Academic Article uri icon


  • Previous research revealed the feline skin bacterial microbiota to be site-specific and the fungal microbiota to be individual-specific. The effect of other factors, such as genotype and environment, have not yet been studied in cats, but have been shown to be potentially important in shaping the cutaneous microbiota of other animals. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to evaluate the effect of these factors on the bacterial and fungal microbiota of feline skin and oral cavity. The influence of genotype was assessed through the analysis of different cat breeds, and the influence of environment through comparison of indoor and outdoor cats. DNA was extracted from skin and oral swabs, and bacterial and fungal next-generation sequencing were performed. Analysis of the skin microbiota of different cat breeds revealed significant differences in alpha diversity, with Sphynx and Bengal cats having the most diverse communities. Many taxa were found to be differentially abundant between cat breeds, including Veillonellaceae and Malassezia spp. Outdoor environment exposure had considerable influence on beta diversity, especially in the oral cavity, and resulted in numerous differentially abundant taxa. Our findings indicate that the oral bacterial microbiota and both fungal and bacterial microbiota of feline skin are influenced by breed, and to a lesser degree, environment.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

altmetric score

  • 17.07

author list (cited authors)

  • Older, C. E., Diesel, A. B., Lawhon, S. D., Queiroz, C., Henker, L. C., & Rodrigues Hoffmann, A.

citation count

  • 26

complete list of authors

  • Older, Caitlin E||Diesel, Alison B||Lawhon, Sara D||Queiroz, Cintia RR||Henker, Luan C||Rodrigues Hoffmann, Aline

editor list (cited editors)

  • Dawson, T. L.

publication date

  • January 2019