Testing Your Cat's DNA
Cats are amazing animals. Cat owners, unlike dog owners, have only recently had the ability to use a home DNA test to gather information on their feline friends. Cat DNA test are very new on the market, and there is only a small number of companies offering the tests at this time.
Available Cat DNA Tests
There are different options in cat DNA tests. Orivet offers a health DNA test, which is designed to alert cat owners about any potential genetic health issues that may be of concern with the animal.
Optimal Selection by Wisdom Panel is marketed for breeders to address issues such as coat colors and types, body types, and breed information for known genetic diseases. This is helpful for breeders to avoid mating cats with specific genetic combinations that could produce a higher risk of offspring that do not conform to breed standards or that may be more likely to develop known genetic conditions.
For most cat owners, Basepaws offers the best testing kit option. It provides information on 18 known cat breeds and also measures 38 different genetic markers in cats. This test also reports on screening for common cat diseases, which is helpful for pet owners to watch for early signs of potential health problems. Unlike the Wisdom Panel test, this is not a pedigree test and only reports on similarities in your cat's genome to those of specific breeds in the database.
What to Expect
The process for each cat DNA test kit should be carefully reviewed. Owners will need to gather a sample, which is a non-invasive procedure. The owner uses the swab provided in the kit to gently rub the inside of the cat's cheek.
As cat owners know, most cats are not comfortable with this type of handling. Ideally, hold your cat and have help in getting the swab. All it takes is a brief, 5-second swipe of the inside of the cheek. It is absolutely painless for the cat.
It is important to know that cat DNA usually contains a mixture of breeds as well as wild cat DNA. Since cats have not been bred in purebred lines for the length of time as dogs or other animals, there is a very limited database of "purebred" cats to compare the genome information.
The Difference in Diagnosis and Genetic Markers
As with any type of DNA test, cat DNA health tests only provide information on the presence of specific markers. These markers only indicate the cat has that genetic mutation.
The presence of markers does not mean the cat has the condition, nor does it mean the cat will develop the condition in the future. However, if you are breeding your cat, knowing what genetic markers are present can help you select a cat without the same genetic markers, reducing the risk of health issues in the kittens.
For more information on pet DNA testing, or to read reviews on different DNA tests and reports on the market, browse the blogs and shop at the Genomelink store.