Is Your Cat a Moggy? Can We Find Out Its DNA?

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DNA tests for humans are a popular topic, but have you heard of DNA tests for cats? Since I rescued my pet cat “Mila,” I have wondered about my furry friend’s ancestry and breed. While searching for cat DNA tests, I came across the Basepaws Breed and Health DNA kit. After going through the customer reviews, I decided to test it out. As it turns out, it was worth the price tag.

To help you know more about your feline friend, I will review this DNA test kit based on my experience.

About the Company: Basepaws

Basepaws, a brand dedicated to your feline friends, is a service and product chain that provides its consumers with at-home DNA test kits. Founded by Anna Skaya, the CEO of Basepaws, this brand has helped several pet owners learn more about the cat’s health, habits, breed, and traits with a simple Home-based DNA collection.

Compared to dogs, cats aren’t studied on a large scale. There are about 150 markers for dog DNA testing, but for cats, the number is just 39.

How much does the Basepaws Breed and Health DNA Test cost?

Basepaws brings to you 3 different testing options that start at $89 for the Breed Groups DNA test. On the other hand, the Breed & Health DNA Test would cost you about $149, which would provide you with a quick comparison of your cat with all the breeds & breed groups.

Apart from this, you also get access to features such as:
  • Chromosome Map
  • Genetic Diseases Predisposition List
  • Wildcat Index
  • Lifetime Updates for the Breed
  • Health Markers

If your budget permits you, there is a costlier option: the Complete Genome Sequencing kit which is available for $599. But if you do not want to get into the raw data and genome details, the $149 kit would suffice.

Basepaws does bring in multiple discount offers on different occasions, so do look out for them if possible and get a good bargain.

What Features Does the Basepaws Profile Offer?

I found the Basepaws Profile about my pet very informative. I got to learn so much more about my furry friend. There are three features the profile offers:

1. Breed Analysis

First, the Breed Analysis component analyzes your cat’s genetic composition to determine which cat breeds are most genetically similar. This knowledge can help you understand your cat’s behavior, personality characteristics, and physical appearance. It personally helped me understand what makes my cat moody at times.

2. Wildcat Index

Next, the Wildcat Index feature gives a fascinating peek at your cat’s ancestry and evolutionary history. Basepaws compares your cat’s DNA to wildcats such as tigers, leopards, cheetahs, and cougars and ranks the results based on genomic similarities. While it does not prove direct lineage, it does shed light on your cat’s position in the domestic cat evolutionary spectrum.

3. Health Markers

For me, the most critical feature of the Basepaws profile is its Health Markers. It is essential for maintaining your cat’s long-term health. The DNA test looks at 39 different genetic markers and provides results on mutation carrier status and predisposition to 17 different diseases. These conditions include polycystic kidney disease (PKD), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), retinal degeneration, and myotonia. After taking the test, you will know your pet’s health risks and can take proactive steps to prevent them before they become problems.

Is DNA testing with Basepaws Breed and Health DNA Test difficult?

Now, you would assume that DNA testing with a kit would require you to be scientifically advanced and intelligent enough to decode the perfect way. However, even someone with no scientific affiliation can easily perform the test at home.

However, the hard part is ensuring that your cat doesn’t move in the process. Even with my cat’s gentle demeanor, sticking the swab for DNA collection into its mouth was a big struggle. In case your cat doesn’t throw tantrums, and you can easily control them, this would be an easy-peasy task.

What is the Process of Basepaws Breed and Health DNA Test?

I found the process pretty straightforward and user-friendly. As mentioned on the company’s website, I followed the below steps:

Step 1: I created a Basepaws account and registered my kit online to start testing. It is needed to ensure that my kit is correctly linked to my account for tracking and reporting. It is a relatively easy and quick task. It asked for my basic information, such as name, email, and address.

Step 2: Swabbing, the most laborious task of the process, is next. I have mentioned tips on collecting a DNA sample from your pet below. Make sure to follow these tips to make things easy. I used the swab provided by the kid to gently swab the inside of my pet’s mouth for 5-10 seconds. I swabbed both the gums and teeth to collect the sample.

Step 3: Now that I had the sample, I needed to send it back to Basepaws for testing. US shipping is free both ways, which is the best part. For international orders, complete shipping charges are estimated at the checkout. My part of the testing process ended here.

Step 4: Once Basepaws gets my pet’s DNA sample, they begin processing it immediately. The report provided insights into my pet’s breed, health markers, and more.

Here are a few pointers you might want to keep in mind when swabbing your cat:
  • Do not swab the cat’s cheek if it has just eaten or drunk anything. Wait for at least 30 minutes after.
  • Although the packaging suggests that you need to swab the cat’s mouth for about 5-10 seconds, even a swab duration as small as 3-5 seconds can get the job done. However, you need to ensure that the swab makes complete contact with the gums, inner cheek, as well as tongue.
P.S.: Before you send off your swab for testing, make sure you register your session with the official Basepaws website.

How long will it take for the results to arrive?

According to the Basepaws website, the DNA result can take 4 to 6 weeks to be obtained. And for me, it took about five weeks. So, the timeline is true to its word. The company has been trying to shorten the timeline so you can keep yourself updated by checking the website.

You Got the DNA Result: What Now?

After the test results are ready, you will receive a notification mail. The test’s first page would have some general information that most of us, especially I, like to ignore and move over to the second page.

This is where the fun and learning starts. This article contains the details about your cat’s breed.

The breed division for cats is under 4 main categories that include:

  • Exotic
  • Western
  • Persian
  • Eastern

The page also contains the breed’s specific traits and makeup to help you make sense of its behavioral pattern.

Does the Test Confirm Your Pet is a Pedigree Pet?

Their breed testing focuses on mix-breed, non-pedigree, and domestic pets to see which breed your pet is genetically similar. It is not a breed verification test, so they do not analyze purebred status.

Pros of the Basepaws Breed and Health DNA Test

  • Learn your cat’s genetic similarity to a breed
  • Discover whether your cat is similar to leopards, tigers, cheetahs, or cougars
  • Know whether your cat is genetically predisposed to genetic health issues
  • Quick & easy process for sample collection

Cons of the Basepaws Breed and Health DNA Test

  • Test results, although rarely, might take a while to arrive
  • Information is currently slightly less for cats as compared to a dog’s genetic information

What Should You Keep in Mind?

When you get your cat’s DNA tested, you are not just getting interesting facts about your cat’s genetic history and lineage. The test also offers more important information, such as your cat’s health markers. The report can tell you whether your cat is genetically predisposed to health issues that might surface later in life. With these things in mind, you can avoid any health issues that might happen to your cat in the future as it ages.

The genetic diseases for which your pet would be tested include:

  • Gangliosidosis
  • Polycystic Kidney
  • Deficiency of Factor XII
  • Lymph proliferative autoimmune syndrome
  • Cystinuria
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis
  • Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
  • Mannosidosis
  • Myotonia
  • Niemann-Pick Disease
  • Porphyria
  • Primary Hyperoxaluria
  • Retinal Degeneration
  • Deficiency of Erythrocyte Pyruvate Kinase
  • Rickets

Conclusion

Basepaws Breed and Health DNA test is a fantastic option for people who want to learn about their cats and get closer to them. The test helps you understand your furry friend’s personality and behavior. It also allows you to ensure that your cat is healthy with no genetic predisposition to diseases that could surface later in life.

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