Kickstarter is the birthplace for a lot of strange ideas, but this one is very unique. It all started with a project called kittybiome. A group of scientists pitched this crazy idea that people should pay money to send their cat’s poop to researchers for examination. And the internet loved it. The Kickstarter project was fully funded, raising over $23,000, which was $20,000 more than their goal.
So why were they asking for a bunch of cat feces? The simple answer: to better understand the health of felines. By sequencing the DNA of as many cats as possible, they can start to look for patterns and clues on how the feline microbiome can influence health and behavior. By understanding the personality and physical fitness of a cat and matching it up against their DNA, they can try to determine the impact that different microbes can have.
But it didn’t just stop at cats. Recently, the same group of scientists decided to try the same thing with our canine companions. DoggyBiome asks pup owners to send in a sample and a questionnaire about their furry friend so these researchers can better understand dog health, too.
As with any Kickstarter, different donation levels are rewarded with different incentives. $20 will get you a tank top or a dog toy, $59 a scarf, $75 a hoodie, and Doggy Gut Assessment Kits start at $79.
Once you send in a sample, the scientists get to work. Once they’ve finished analyzing every part of your pet’s poo, they send you a detailed analysis of their findings. You can see all the different types of bacteria in their bodies and compare their microbiome to other sampled pups.
Who knew poop could be so powerful? With enough samples, these researchers can really dig into what makes our pets tick and, hopefully, be able to help vets provide better medical care in the future.
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