DNA testing for cats

We all know of, and some of us have probably tried, DNA testing. Companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA offer at-home kits where you can provide your saliva sample and have a lab analyze the results of your ancestry. Now there are companies coming out with DNA kits for your pets! In this post, I would like to talk specifically about basepaws, a DNA kit for cats.

Robbie, our exotic shorthair, was lucky enough to be chosen by basepaws for their purebred project. This project focuses on health markers and we are happy to be sharing with you all the results. In addition, we would like to share Sven’s results. Since Sven, our domestic shorthair, isn’t a purebred and wasn’t qualified for the project, we purchased a kit for him. The kit cost $89 and it tests for wildcat lineage, breed composition, and health. (We didn’t get a test done for our third cat, Louise, since we came into our family after.)

The Process

  1. Purchase kit through Amazon or their website
  2. Activate your kit on their website
  3. Do a cheek swab (the hardest part in our opinion)
  4. Mail the kit back
  5. Wait for the report! Comes in 6-9 weeks!

Basepaws’ report overview

Robbie’s Health Markers Report

Health makers tested (new markers are continuously being added to their database):

  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) (common in Exotics and Persians if not bred properly)
  • Cardiomyopathy, heterotrophic (HCM) – common feline heart diease
  • Retinal degeneration II
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis – group of metabolic disorders
  • Gangliosidosis
  • Cystinuria – high cystine found in urine
  • Porphyria – diseases that affect nervous system
  • Factor XII deficiency – blood clotting disorder
  • Mannosidosis, alpha
  • Myotonia – neuromuscular disorder
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Vitamin D deficiency rickets, type I – softening of bones
  • Niemann-Pick disease, type C1
  • Hypokalaemic periodic paralysis – low potassium levels
  • Pyruvate kinase deficiency of erythrocyte – disrupted survival of red blood cells

How the results will present:

Each gene related to each disease tested will have one of the four results listed.

Robbie was clear for all health markers except one. He tested as a carrier for Factor XII deficiency. This result was consistent with a story his breeder recently shared with me. Robbie’s grandfather had excessive bleeding and the vet had trouble stopping the bleeding after getting neutered. If Robbie is a carrier for this mutation, then one of his parents and grandparents will have the mutation in one or both chromosomes. In his grandfather’s case, he mostly likely had both and that is why his blood had trouble clotting.

To see Robbie’s full health report, click here.

Sven’s genetic report

For Sven, we were able to get a full genetic report. His health report was coincidentally exactly the same as Robbie! He was clear for all genetic mutations except Factor XII. On top of health markers, you will get a full report on what breed your cat is. For most domestic shorthairs like Sven, they are a mix of many breeds. It is nice to finally see which breeds he is most similar to! The report also provides a wildcat index, which shows you how similar your cat is to wildcats. Sven is most similar to cheetah, cougar, leopard, and tiger.

Below is a glimpse of Sven’s report. The full report goes more into details about each breed he is similar to and the percentages. Although he is 39.1% western, it doesn’t mean he is 39.1% Ragdoll. It just means that he is 90.73% most similar to Ragdoll for the western composition of his genome.

To see Sven’s full genetic report, click here.

Doing a DNA test on my cats has been very informative. I have always worried that my cats would have common underlying diseases, but the report definitely relieved some of my worries. I will definitely get a kit for our third cat, Louise. If you are interested in knowing your cats’ health and breed composition, I highly recommend this kit! You can purchase the kit using the links above under “The Process” section. I wish you and your cat the best of luck!

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