Gait analysis has been extensively performed in dogs and horses; however, very little is known about feline biomechanics. It was, therefore, the aim of this study to determine the coefficient of variation (CV) among three ground reaction force (GRF) measurements taken for 15 client-owned European shorthaired cats without a training period and a short acclimatisation time. Gait was measured as each cat walked across a pressure-sensitive walkway, and measurements were made three times over a multi-week period (range: 2 to 17 weeks). The parameters evaluated were peak vertical force (PFz), vertical impulse (IFz), stance phase duration (SPD), step length (SL), paw contact area (PCA) and symmetry index (SI%) of the front and hind limbs. After averaging each of the values from the three measurements, the CV and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated for all parameters. PFz showed the lowest CV (~ 3%), while IFz showed the highest CV (~11%) when normalised to body mass. When the GRFs were normalised to total force, the CV of PFz dropped to ~2% and that of IFz dropped to ~3%. The CV of SL and PCA were lower (~6% respectively ~5%) compared to the CV for SPD (~10%). The SI% for both PFz and IFz were comparable to the values reported in the gait analysis literature for dogs. Results of the current study indicate that gait analysis of cats using pressure-sensitive walkways produces reliable data and is a promising approach for evaluation of lameness. The results also suggest that PFz may be a more reliable parameter than IFz and that normalisation to percent of total force may aid in interpretation of the evaluated data.
Analysis of Variance Animals Biomechanical Phenomena Body Weight Cats Female Forelimbphysiology Gaitphysiology Hindlimbphysiology Locomotionphysiology Male Pressure Reproducibility of Results