If you want to know what is DNA testing for cats you’ve come to the right place. In this post you’ll discover everything you need to know about DNA testing for cats and if it’s worth it.
Up until recent times DNA testing has been mostly for people. It’s a way of identifying potential health problems and can be very useful.
As pets are now considered family by most people, demand for pet health care has increased. This is why you may have come across the idea of DNA testing for cats.
However, it’s still very new, and you’re more likely as a dog owner to have used DNA testing. Keep reading as I share important information about DNA testing and what it can reveal about your cat.
Why Get Your Cat’s DNA Tested
You my decide to get a DNA test for your cat to identify any gene mutations. These can be used as markers to show potential diseases.
It can also identify your cat’s breed. This can be very interesting if you have a mixed breed kitty.
Maybe you’ve adopted a cat from a shelter and want to know if she’s part Persian. Sometimes pedigrees end up for adoption for a variety of reasons.
What Type Of DNA Tests Are Available?
DNA test kits for cats are still very limited, with only a handful of reputable companies. On the other hand if you were to search for DNA test kits for dogs you’d be spoilt for choice.
The most basic kits can identify breed, while more advanced kits are able to provide health profiles. However, you’ll be pleased to hear, the few DNA test kits available for cats are designed for both breed and health profiling.
How Is The Test Taken?
I’m sure you’re wondering how on earth you can get a DNA sample from your cat! After all, even giving a pill to a cat can be a nightmare.
The following video demonstrates how to take a swab from your cat’s mouth. Apparently, all kits come with full instructions making it easy for you.
You’re provided with swabs and phials as well as box to return them. After posting your cat’s sample you can expect to wait between two to three weeks for results.
What DNA Testing For Cats Reveals
As previously mentioned, you can expect both a breed profile and health screening. The following test kits are the two most popular at this time.
While both should reveal a lot about your cat, I have shared details about each making it easier to decide. I’m not medically trained and any information I share is from research or my own opinion.
In addition, I may make a small commission on any sales which in no way affects the price you pay.
Basepaws Cat DNA Test
Basepaws cat DNA test kit was founded by entrepreneur Anna Skaya. After successfully pitching her product on Shark Tank, she managed to gain two investors from the show.
Her love of cats and growing up with parents in scientific professions encouraged her interest in DNA. Basepaws came about after her realisation, there’s very little research in cat DNA
As previously mentioned, far more research has been carried out with dogs. In fact, there are 150 health markers for dogs, with only a fraction of that for cats.
What’s Included In The Kit
You get a swab with instructions making the process simple and easy to carry out. After posting the sample you activate your test and wait for results.
These are normally sent back within 4-6 weeks, and you’d be notified by email. Also, you get updates every 14 days so you know how things are progressing.
If you’re wondering how the DNA test for cats works, keep reading..
How Your Cat’s DNA Test is Calculated.
Once your cat’s swab arrives at the lab, work begins to extract DNA. Amazingly, there are around 20,000 genes in your cat’s DNA!
These contain fun and invaluable information about your cat. In addition, you’ll be interested to learn, the process of reading genes is known as sequencing.
Breed And Trait Report
Knowing your cat’s breed and traits can be fun. However, a few buyers found this report a bit vague, or obvious. Most were very happy though.
At this time, Basepaws has 21 different breeds on their database. This is growing though as more are added.
Health Markers Report
This report can be invaluable, as you get to know which potential health problems to watch for. Specific breeds, especially pedigrees can inherit certain diseases.
To help you understand each report you get access to videos and articles. These can also be passed onto your vet.
Apart from giving peace of mind, it enables you to be proactive. You’d know what to look for and even take steps to prevent.
Dental Health Report
This can be very useful and even help avoid expensive dental treatment such as extractions. At least if you know dental disease is marked as a likely possibility you can be proactive about it.
It’s believed as many as 90% of adult cats have dental health problems. This is why oral hygiene is so important. Brushing your cat’s teeth and regular checkups are just as important for your cat as they are for you!
- Reputable company founded with help from Shark Tank
- Easy to follow video for taking swabs
- Basepaws database has 21 breeds of cat
- Breed and trait report
- Health markers report
- Dental health report
- Results within 4-6 weeks
- 14 day updates on progress
- Free lifetime breed updates
- Recognised by veterinarians
Average rating 4.5 out of 5
Wisdom Panel DNA Test Kit For Cats
Wisdom Panel originally provide DNA test kit for breeders only. However, they now offer a complete DNA test kit for everyone.
While not as well known as Basepaws, Wisdom Panel provides a comprehensive DNA test. In fact, they have a database of 70 breeds.
This is a lot more than Basepaws provides, and is regularly updated. In addition there are 45 tests for generic conditions and 25 for traits.
Traits include fur color, markings, eye color, length of tail, and many more. In addition, you get to know a little bit about your cat’s ancestry.
While this can’t reveal a family tree, it can show which region her ancestors originated from. It can be fun and give a background on your cat’s past.
As well as breed and health profile you also get your cat’s blood type. This is invaluable information should your cat ever need a transfusion.
Wisdom Panel health screening can reveal potential diseases including PKD, and even sensitivities to certain medications. This type of information should always be passed onto your vet.
It can not only help avoid potential health issues, but ensure your cat isn’t given medication she’s allergic to.
In addition to revealing your cat’s breed, Wisdom Panel claim to identify this down to one percent.
- Wisdom Panel has database of over 70 cat breeds
- Blood type detection
- Over 25 traits tested
- Breed accuracy down to one percent.
- Over 45 health tests
- Results within 3-4 weeks
Average rating 4.7 out of 5
DNA testing can be fun as well provide invaluable information. As you can see, a lot can be discovered from your cat’s DNA.
Whatever breed of cat you have, there’s a lot about her ancestry that can be discovered. While both Basepaws and Wisdom Panel provide comprehensive testing, Basepaws may be seen as the most reputable company.
This is not only because they’re recognised by vets, but the fact they were awarded two investors on Shark Tank. Plus, the founder has a genuine love of cats.
Wisdom Panel though does have a larger database of breeds, plus you get a dental health report. This may be of benefit as dental disease is so common.
As mentioned previously, DNA testing for cats is still in it’s infancy, but will continue to develop as time goes on. At best you’ll have vital information about your cat’s heath that can be passed onto a vet.
You may also discover fascinating information about your cat’s ancestry. Although I’ve never given my cat a DNA test I can see the appeal, but decide for yourself:)If you’ve enjoyed this post and it’s helped understand what is DNA testing for cats, please share. Also, if you have any questions, or would like to share experiences, leave a comment below.
Wishing you a purrfect day:)