Lots of people view their pets as children these days, so it makes sense that we’re seeing an increase in products geared toward these furry family members, from alternatives to pet insurance to telemedicine services for pets. What’s next?
The majority of DNA tests on the market appear to be designed for dogs. We think cats deserve equal attention, and while feline DNA tests are not as widespread as canine kits, there are some available for cat owners to utilize.
So, if you’ve ever wondered about your cat’s breed or health status, you can get their DNA tested! That’s right, there are pet DNA tests available that are similar to the ones we have for ourselves, and the advent of direct-to-consumer brands that send goods straight to your door have made it possible to test your cat’s DNA from the place where you and your pet feel the most comfortable: home.
So, if you adopted your cat and you’re not sure about its breed, or maybe want to learn about their parents, breed testing can clear up any confusion and help answer questions. They can also look at health markers to help you understand more about any of your pet’s possible health risks.
One such cat DNA test kit comes from the company Basepaws, which we’ll be reviewing in this article. We’ll take a look into how their process works and then share our own experiences using one of their test kits, so you can decide if this option is right for you.
Straight to the point: Basepaws provides legitimate and accurate DNA testing kits that can reveal everything from oral health issues to breed type to genetic health disorders. However, they are not the only company that provides feline DNA testing kits. Continue reading to find out exactly what Basepaws offers and how it compares to rivals.
Why should you get your pet’s DNA tested?
Cat DNA tests are now commonplace in commercial laboratories, allowing both veterinary clinicians and pet owners to acquire DNA test results. There are currently a variety of genetic tests available for the domestic cat to aid in veterinarian health care, breed management, species identification, and forensic investigations. Over fifty mutations in approximately thirty-five genes cause feline health problems or changes in the cat’s appearance, so it’s critical to understand them in order to prevent these health issues, should you need to.
If your cat is a mixed breed, a DNA test might tell you more than simply his or her ancestry. It can also assist you in caring for your cat’s health by identifying diseases that certain breeds are known to be prone to.
While dogs have been selectively bred for thousands of years, cats were previously largely free to reproduce on their own terms. It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that humans began to affect cat development through selective breeding for the (mostly aesthetic) qualities, that have led to our present image of a “purebred” cat.
So far, over 250 genetic disorders in cats have been found, and because purebred cats come from a smaller gene pool, they may be more susceptible to getting them. While a DNA test will never replace a vet’s diagnosis, knowing what’s in your cat’s genes allows you to recognize any symptoms more efficiently.
Persian cats, for example, are disproportionately affected by polycystic kidney disease (one of the most frequent genetic disorders). Many other breeds are predisposed to cardiac problems, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or eye disorders like progressive retinal atrophy and diabetes.
So, are you ready to find what DNA test kits like those from Basepaws can help you with? Read on.
While dog owners have a multitude of options for testing their pup’s DNA, cat owners have been mostly overlooked by the genetic testing sector. Founded by Anna Skaya in 2016, Basepaws was the first company to divert its focus to cat genetics as a provider of at-home DNA test kits for cats.
In a nutshell, these tests examine cat DNA and its 20,000+ genetic variants, and can tell you a lot about your cat’s breed, dental health, and overall wellness.
What can Basepaws cat DNA test for?
Basepaws offers three types of tests:
|Basepaws tests||Dental Health Test||Breed + Health DNA Test||Whole Genome Test|
|What does it report on?||Periodontal disease
Bad breath (Halitosis)
|Breed groups similarity
Individual breeds similarity
Breed report updates
Breed weight estimate
|Everything in Dental Health and Breed + Health DNA test|
|Additional features||Provides recommendation on general health,home care, andclinical care||Provides information about health markers, traits, dental health, and wellness||Full access to the raw data (sent on USB drive)
A lifetime of health and breed report updates
1-hour consultation with a feline genetics coach
|Best for?||Sharing the information with the vet||If you cat is adopted from a shelter and you don’t know much about it||Sharing the information with the vet
If you cat is adopted and you want to learn more
It’s not common to get your cat’s DNA checked, but with companies like Basepaws extending their services, we decided to seize the opportunity with our own paws, er, hands! While the other tests are equally important, we decided to first try the Breed + Health DNA test kit:
As advertised, the box arrived in sturdy packaging. It states on the box that it should not be discarded as it will be used to return the sample to their labs for processing. That served as an excellent caution to keep it away from our cats and their deadly little paws, since they were about as intrigued as they look in the picture.
So, how much does the Basepaws testing kit cost?
The price of the Basepaws DNA testing kit is $109, but if purchased in more packs, the price is reduced ($198 for two tests, $285 for three tests). While this is a significant one-time expense, it may provide you with vital information on your cat’s breed and genetic health.
If you adopted your cat from a shelter and don’t know much about their breeding and past, this could be a great method to learn more about them. It can assist you in providing tailored care to keep your cat as healthy as possible.
The set contains:
- Mailing box
- Swab testing tube
- Specimen bag
In addition, shipping is free in the United States.
How does Basepaws DNA testing work?
According to Basepaws, their tests are based on years of genetic research on felines and have been approved by veterinarians. Each month, it analyzes thousands of cats using its handy at-home testing kits, adding to its ever-growing database. They collaborate with global experts to help them achieve their aim of “eliminating the preventable feline diseases”.
Basepaws DNA testing kit couldn’t get any better; its testing services can help you save thousands of dollars in emergency vet visits by encouraging preventative care through health information. It can also help save money, as it features a straightforward direct-to-consumer strategy that operates via mail. I’ll be honest, I was a bit weary about trying to hold my cat down for a DNA test, as I didn’t quite know what that would entail.
I was pleasantly surprised – the explicit instructions for collecting the sample, sealing it, and returning to their labs for processing were very straightforward and much more manageable than I’d expected:
Step 1: Choose the kit you want and buy it through the website or Amazon.
Step 2: When you receive your CatKit in the mail, make an account to register your kit.
Step 3: Use the kit to take a quick swab of your cat’s teeth and gums, just rub it along the inside of your cat’s cheeks. Although keeping the swab in your cat’s mouth for 5 to 10 seconds is optimal, they can still reliably acquire good quality DNA if the swab is in the cat’s mouth for three to five seconds. Perfect, for the feisty cats out there!
Step 4: Send the kit back in the mail, with shipping included in the cost.
Step 5: The kit is tested in an accredited Basepaws lab located in LA.
Step 6: Receive results by email in 4-6 weeks.
Step 7: Continue to receive updates on your cat’s specific breed group for a lifetime (for free!), as Basepaws adds more samples to its database and increases scientific understanding. Pay extra fees to gain more information on health markers and traits.
Basepaws encourages pet owners to test regularly in order for them to be aware of any potential health concerns as early as possible.
Basepaws results: What can their DNA testing kit tell you?
Your cat’s results will be presented in a 30-page document. Some material are general information about how to interpret the results, including detailed information about the 65 genetic health markers tested for by Basepaws. The rest is customized to your cat’s results and include more breed-specific reviews, and includes a page with breed analysis and a chromosome map.
Along with your cat’s results, a brief summary of any health issues is provided. If any of your cat’s readings are anything other than clear, you should consult with your veterinarian.
Some of these results can help you better understand what diet might be the best for your pet, as well, as well as the best food for dog and cat owners.
Basepaws breed analysis
Based on their genetic makeup, you may identify which breed grouping(s) your cat belongs to. Basepaws detects genetic similarities between five groups, and the test can presently identify 22 breeds. Your cat’s results will be updated as additional information is added to the database. One con: if you want to know if your cat is of any “uncommon” breed relatives, this information isn’t available at the moment.
It summarizes the top breeds with the most genetic likeness to your cat, as well as the percentage of their DNA that is identical. Here are the five groups that Basepaws detects genetic similarities between:
- Western breeds: e.g., American Shorthair, Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Russian Blue
- Eastern breeds: e.g., Burmese, Birman, Thai Siamese
- Exotic breeds: e.g., Egyptian Mau, Bengal
- Persian cats: e.g., British Shorthair, Himalayan, Persian
- Polycats: Domestic Shorthair mixed breed
The chromosome map utilizes colors to show which parts of your cat’s DNA belong to specific groupings. The Breed Analysis is a report that you can interact with – you can view the Chromosome Map or the Breed Groups and its accuracy slider can be adjusted – the more statistically confident the report, the more accurate the results.
Basepaws wildcat index
Basepaws compares the DNA of your cat to that of several wildcats. Just because all house cats (except select hybrid breeds) are descendents of Near-Eastern wildcats does not imply that your cat is half-wild. The Wildcat Index simply indicates which of the top four wild cats have the most DNA in common with your cat. But hey, at least you could reenact Lion King with your cat. No one? Just us? Okay!
Basepaws health markers
Basepaws examines 65 health markers to detect 43 different genetic disorders in your cat. This section determines whether a cat has genetic variations that increase its chance of health problems. For each marker, your cat will be labeled as “clear”, “carrier”, “at risk”, or “at high risk”. If your cat is a carrier of genetic mutations, they could pass the trait on to their future offspring (also known as carrier status).
Basepaws can provide you with important information. It’s an excellent way to avoid any future health concerns and can determine if your cat and their offspring are at risk for certain diseases.
Here are a few examples of genetic illnesses that Basepaws can help identify if your cat is predisposed to.
- Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
- Autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS)
- Factor XII or Hageman deficiency
- Hypokalemic periodic paralysis (hypokalemia)
- Feline congenital hypothyroidism
- Alpha mannosidosis
- Niemann-Pick disease type C1
- Myotonia congenita (MC)
- Vitamin D-deficiency type I (rickets)
Basepaws dental health report
The report can identify the microbes found in your cat’s DNA sample, which ranks your cat’s risk of periodontal disease, tooth resorption, and halitosis (one of the most common dental diseases). Basepaws also explains how these risks affect your cat’s general health. Unfortunately, it does not indicate whether or not a cat has a dental problem.
Basepaws vs Wisdom Panel vs Orivet: Which is best pet DNA test kit?
The following chart gives you a clearer idea of how Basepaws stacks up against other competitors, in this case, Orivet and Wisdompanel.
Best cat DNA test kit: Basepaws vs Orivet vs Wisdom Panel
|Available feline testing||Breed + Health DNA Test
Dental Health Test
Whole Genome Test
|Full Breed Profile (includes DNA, breed specific traits and diseases)
|Wisdom Panel Complete for Cats (includes health tests, breeds, family tree, traits, blood types)
Optimal Selection Feline for breeding
|Pricing||$129 for Breed+Health DNA
$79 for Dental Health Test
$479 for Whole Genome Test
|$119 for Full Breed Profile
$45 for each genetic condition
$40 for DNA Profiling
|$129.99 for Wisdom Panel|
|Tests for?||43 genetic conditions
65 health markers
25 genetic traits
28 genetic conditions
Genetic traits differ depending on the breed
|45 genetic conditions
25 genetic traits
|Free shipping in the US?||✅||✅||✅|
|Testing method||Oral swab test||Oral swab test||Oral swab test|
|Wait for results||4-6 weeks||3-5 weeks||2-3 weeks|
|How to order||Website or Amazon||Website or Amazon||Website or Amazon|
All three brands work in a similar way. After receiving your test, you carry out an oral swab on your pet, send the swab back, and receive results. No matter which brand you choose, you get a great direct-to-consumer experience that allows you to test your cat without leaving home… or having to bring your cat anywhere!
Basepaws puts its full emphasis on cats to learn as much as it possibly can about feline genetics, while Orivet and Wisdom Panel also focus on dogs. This shows that Basepaws could be a good choice for testing your cat, with their broad knowledge of solely cats. Basepaws also claims to have the only test for cat dental health, so they can help you learn more about the risk for bad breath, periodontal disease, and other common feline dental conditions, as well as give general health recommendations.
Basepaws tends to take a little longer than the other two with their results, with a turnaround time of four to six weeks. If you need results fast, Wisdompanel claims the quickest delivery, only taking two to three weeks.
It’s difficult to compare the pricing between the brands because they have varying offerings. Nonetheless, the main testing option for each brand comes with comparable pricing of $129 for Basepaws, $119 for Orivet and $129.99 for Wisdom Panel. With Basepaws, you can learn about dental health and see the whole genome (for a little extra), and they also regularly offer deals to discount the listing price. Orivet also offers genetic tests by breed and then tests for only a few selected genetic diseases (about 7 to 8) and genetic traits (about 8), rather than Basepaw’s entire 28 genetic conditions.
Below are some Basepaws money-saving tips if this is the test you’re interested in:
- Check back for sales.
- Get an immediate 10% off your first kit by joining the newsletter.
- Buy multi-packs and save on each one.
Basepaws reviews: What do the customers have to say?
The customer reviews back up what we’ve said regarding the Basepaws DNA testing kit, although there are a few applications that were reported to misidentify the breed. Most, however, were excited to share that the health report resulted in improved health treatments after sharing with their vet. These customer reviews say it all.
Is Basepaws legit? The verdict on their cat DNA testing kit
Basepaws is an informative DNA analysis kit that can reveal facts about your cat’s ancestry and health. It alerts you to potential dental problems and health risks that you should be aware of, helping you better care for your best friend.
These outcomes are achievable with the Breed + Health Kit, which is reasonably priced. You can get an even better value if you buy it on sale or purchase 2 or 3 kits together. Let’s be honest; the possibilities of a single cat for a cat owner are slim.
However, if you want reliable information about your cat’s breed and overall health, going to the vet may be the way to go. If you have a shelter cat and don’t know anything about their history, the information regarding their genetic health indicators can be valuable and can assist you in tailoring their care to better suit their particular needs with a vet, which, don’t all cat owners desire??
If you have a pedigree cat whose breeder has previously provided health test results for their parents and grandparents, you may not find any additional valuable information.
Basepaws currently only tests for a small number of breeds, so don’t expect any super extraordinary results regarding your cat’s lineage. Unless your cat is purebred, they’ll almost certainly be listed as having a high percentage of “polycat” DNA, which is just another way of stating they’re a mixed breed or Domestic Shorthair.
With Basepaws, your cat’s results will be updated as they add additional breeds to their database. You can also feel good about your purchase with Basepaws, as it helps add to feline research, and a portion of every sale is donated to animal shelters, animal rescue organizations, and trap, neuter, release (TNR) programs.
Have you ever gotten your pet’s DNA tested? Was it for a dog or a cat? Let us know in the comments below!
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