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You’ve heard of the dog DNA tests, and now we have good news for feline owners: There are cat DNA tests, too.
They share the same principles as the ones for canines. The Basepaws Breed + Health DNA Test can help you determine whether your cat is predisposed to certain diseases or is more likely to demonstrate certain physical traits. The test also reveals your cat’s breed profile, which can be particularly useful if you adopted your kitty from a shelter.
Like the dog DNA tests, you would swab for your cat’s saliva and then send the sample to the Basepaws cat DNA brainiacs in Los Angeles, who will then consider the more than 20,000 genes in the DNA to generate a report that breaks down your cat’s breed makeup, its wildcat index, and whether “markers” for certain genetic diseases showed up in his DNA.
Specifically, the health markers are there to tell you whether your cat is more at-risk for diseases like polycystic kidney disease, cardiomyopathy, myotonia, and more.
With Basepaws, you can purchase the standard DNA and health test (also available on Amazon), or you can spring $500 for the more expensive test that sequences your cat’s entire genome and provides lifetime health and breed updates.
“People like to know about their pets, like to imagine their pets life story, and they like to consider their physical features as being special, so it makes sense they would want DNA tests,” says Daily Paws Pet Health and Behavior Editor Haylee Bergeland, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, RBT.
Unless you’ve bought or adopted a purebred cat, it can be hard to determine which breeds are dominant in yours. Cat owners going to a specific breeder for a specific breed is much rarer compared to the dog owners who do the same, Bergeland says.
“Most people are cool with just going to the shelter and picking a cat they like on site, based on color, size, or whatever reason,” she says.
Bergeland also notes, for example, that the kittens in the same litter can actually have different fathers, which could lead to unexpected DNA results. (Side note: This can happen with humans, too, which is pretty wild.)
With all that mystery, the breed possibilities for your cat DNA test results can be endless. But probably more important is whether the DNA test can tip you off to potential health problems in your cat’s future. Talk with your veterinarian about whether you should consult something like the Basepaws cat DNA test for your cat’s health outlook, Bergeland says. The DNA test can be valuable, but they might not catch everything. That’s why it’s important to keep up with regular vet visits.