On the hunt for your cat’s heritage?
We found the best cat DNA test that will tell you all about your furball’s genetic profile! Not only have we prepared an in-depth guide to help you understand what cat DNA testing means along with how to select the best company, but we’ve also reviewed the best options on the market.
Keep reading to learn more!
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- Three great tests available
- Biggest database
- Comprehensive test
- FREE vet consultation
- In-depth, user-friendly report
Best Health Test
- Sample report available
- Easy-to-read, informative report
- Designed for breeders and vets
- Connect with a vet for a consultation
- Breeder tool for professionals
Best for Breeders
- Matching your feline with potential mates
- Sample report available
- Reputable company
- Checks blood type
- Detailed breed information tool
Best Test Variety
- Easy at-home sample collection
- Fast and reliable cat DNA test results
- A reputable company
- Full genetic tests
- Variety of tests for cats
The Best Cat DNA Test Options in Detail
Now that we’ve had a glance at the available DNA tests for cats let’s dig deeper and find out more about what they offer. Please look over each option carefully to decide which would be most suitable for your cat.
- Scope of test: Breed, health, wild cat ancestry
- Tests offered: Breed and Health, Genome Sequencing, and Dental Health Test
- Turnaround time: 4–6 weeks
- Sample report: Available
- Updates: Continuous and free
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We found that among the best on the market at the moment is Basepaws. A trusted company across the board, it’s the go-to option for most cat owners.
Basepaws offers three different tests, depending on your needs and what you want to learn about your cat.
- Basepaws Breed + Health DNA Test
- Basepaws Whole Genome Sequencing
- Basepaws Dental Health Test
Overall, we feel that the most popular is the Breed + Health option, but the Whole Genome and Dental Health can offer great information.
Their products have the following features:
- Breed — The test shows how genetically similar your cat is to 21 of their registered breeds, divided into four major categories. It also includes the polycat, which is Basepaws’ equivalent of a mixed-breed.
- Health — Basepaws carries out 17 tests for genetic diseases that encompass 70 health markers. Besides detailed results and risk indicators, the report includes a brief description of each condition and tips on how to best care for your cat.
- Trait analysis — The test also offers insight into 20 different traits unique to your cat that incorporate 50 different markers.
- Wildcat index — Basepaws cat DNA is the only one that tests your feline’s relation to its wild cat ancestors. The results will show you how closely related your kitten is to four big cats compared to all other domestic cat samples in the database.
To get all this info, you just need to take a sample from your cat’s inner cheeks and send it to the company. The procedure is effortless and non-invasive. It’s also explained in detail on the kit and in a video on the official website. Basepaws’ results are easy to read and interpret. Still, if you’re having issues, the company provides a free consultation with a vet who will talk you through them.
Last but not least, Basepaws makes continuous updates on your feline’s report. They also plan to develop a technology that will tell you more about your cats closest sibling and relative matches. All of these features put Basepaws on the top of nearly all cat DNA test reviews.
- + Three great tests available
- + Biggest database
- + Comprehensive test
- + FREE vet consultation
- + In-depth, user-friendly report
- − Longer turnaround times
Best Health Test
- Scope of test: Health, parentage, and physical traits
- Tests offered: Health screen with life plan
- Turnaround time: 2–3 weeks
- Sample report: Available
- Updates: N/A
Orivet genetic testing has a wide selection of tests designed explicitly for breeders, vets, and cat owners. At the moment, for cats, they have only the Cat DNA Health Screen, which is more than enough to help you get a great idea of your cat’s overall health.
This test offers the following:
- Health screening for a number of feline traits and genetic diseases
- Create a personal life plan for your feline to better manage their health throughout their life
- Identify their blood group
- Full access to an online interactive report that can easily be updated throughout their life
What it doesn’t offer:
- Breed identification and you will need to know the breeds that make up your feline to use this test.
Orivet’s interactive live online report includes the basic test results. It provides more detail on the most common hereditary feline diseases. On top of that, it includes Health Reminders and Alerts (routine health reminders and owner-initiated reminders).
Even though Orivet’s DNA testing kits are simple and easy to use, the company still recommends that a professional collects the sample to avoid potential contamination. The company also recommends registering an account before ordering the test to ensure maximum privacy protection and security.
Orivet genetic care includes a one-of-a-kind Life Plan. It includes tracking your cat from kittenhood to adulthood and old age, thus ensuring that you give it the best possible care.
We came across just one drawback in our reviews of the Orivet DNA test—it’s only suitable for purebred cats. Other than that, there is no reason why you shouldn’t give this feline genetic test a shot.
- + Sample report available
- + Easy-to-read, informative report
- + Designed for breeders and vets
- + Connect with a vet for a consultation
- + Breeder tool for professionals
- − The breed must be known before testing
Best for Breeders
- Scope of test: health, genetic diversity, traits, blood type
- Tests offered: Feline genetic breeding analysis
- Turnaround time: 4 weeks
- Sample report: Available
- Updates: Continuous
Optimal Selection is another comprehensive and extensive test of your cat’s DNA. However, it’s solely intended for purebred cats, which is why it’s not ranked first on our list of top cat DNA test products.
Optimal Selection tests:
- Physical traits, such as your feline’s body size and shape, coat color, and pattern.
- Genetic diversity and relationships, including your cat’s diversity and the diversity of the breed population and related-breed groups.
- For 40 genetic diseases, which are only listed on the report if they have been verified as a potential risk. Optimal Selection health testing reviews indicate that this is one of the rare tests that check your cat’s blood type.
This test’s unique feature is the easy-access Breeder tool that matches owners and breeders with potential mates. It also provides data on their genetic results and the estimated genetic diversity for the kittens.
Collecting a sample from your cat with Optimal Selection is incredibly easy. The kit, which comes with two cotton swabs, is activated online, and the samples are sent afterward. Results are only accessible through a private account, which is more secure and offers better protection of your private data.
The Optimal Selection cats’ report is pretty extensive. It’s downloadable and transferable to a new owner but not very easy to read and interpret. The only fault with this test—it’s not a cat DNA test for breed identification, so it can’t really tell you where your alley cat came from.
However, it does help cat breeders breed out inherited diseases in new litters, increase litter sizes, and find potential mates for felines.
- + Matching your feline with potential mates
- + Sample report available
- + Reputable company
- + Checks blood type
- + Detailed breed information tool
- − Only for pedigree cats
- − Doesn’t track your cat’s ancestry
Best Test Variety
- Scope of test: Polycystic kidney disease and cat’s intolerance
- Tests offered: Feline PKD Testing and Cat Intolerance Test
- Turnaround time: 10 days
- Sample report: N/A
- Updates: N/A
EasyDNA Feline PKD Test is the most reliable feline DNA test for polycystic kidney disease. As with most of the best DNA test kits out there, getting started is not complicated. All you need to do is collect a sample by swabbing the inside of your cat’s cheeks. Then send the dried cotton swabs back, and you’ll get results in less than two weeks.
EasyDNA doesn’t provide a sample report, but it does have a live chat on the site with a DNA consultant to help you understand your results. Our EasyDNA reviews found this feature to be quite helpful and informative.
Besides the PKD test, EasyDNA also tests for cat intolerances. The lab runs tests for 44 food and 29 non-food items that might trigger a reaction and endanger your cat’s health and wellbeing. This test costs $89, but if you order a combination of more than one test, you can get it with a $10 discount.
For more curious cat fanciers, this company plans to include a Cat Genetics DNA Test in its portfolio, making its offers even more inclusive and comprehensive.
- + Easy at-home sample collection
- + Fast and reliable cat DNA test results
- + A reputable company
- + Full genetic tests
- + Variety of tests for cats
- − Tests are limited in results and focus
Most Advanced Testing Procedure
- Scope of test: PKD only
- Tests offered: PKD DNA Testing for Cats
- Turnaround time: 10 days
- Sample report: NA
- Updates: NA
DDC only has one test for felines—a highly reliable and accurate PKD test to discover how likely your cat is to develop this lethal disease.
The only (and biggest) downside we came across in our research is the limited range of their test. It’s only available for Persians, Himalayans, Exotics, and cross-breeds of these three (which are the most likely breeds to develop this condition).
Sample collection is straightforward and done with cheek swabs. In addition to the mail collection kit the company sends, cat owners can make their own collection at home (detailed instructions are available on the official site). Results are fast and easy to read, while DDC provides a free consultation for more details on PKD and your kitty’s report.
DDC DNA Diagnostics Center customer reviews reveal that this is a world-renowned genetic testing company. They have years of experience, high-tech equipment, and professional expertise in human and animal genotype testing.
Although it currently only provides one feline test, it’s only a matter of time before it develops more insightful and broader testing into cat genetics.
- + Experienced company
- + Fast and accurate results
- + Free professional consultations
- + Two sample collection options
- + Advanced testing facilities
- − Only available for Persian and Persian-derived cats
- − Only one test available
Our Methodology for Choosing the Best DNA Test for Cats
Feline DNA testing is still a young industry. Even though it’s not fully regulated, there are some aspects to consider when selecting the best product.
How did we separate the good from the best?
We looked at the essential qualities of a high-grade cat DNA testing kit and ranked the companies accordingly.
These are the criteria we used in our ranking:
1. Type of Tests
Different companies cover different types of testing. Some have combined testing for breed and health issues, while others cover only one aspect. Overall, we looked for tests that cover at least one or several of the following:
- Testing for breed
- Testing for hereditary diseases
- Testing for physical and personality traits
- Testing for ancestry
Some cat parents are more interested in potential hereditary health issues they should prepare for in the future. In contrast, others would like to learn more about their cat’s breed and traits. Once you know what you want to learn, you can better determine exactly what test would be most suitable for you.
DNA tests don’t come cheap, so we ranked companies that offered the best value for money higher on the list. Some tests are just a fun way to get closer to your can and learn about them, while others are crucial for breeders. This, of course, affects the price dramatically.
Test results should be available in an easy-to-comprehend format. After all, genetic markers mean nothing to us mere mortals unless they are presented in a readable and user-friendly report. To that end, we gave higher marks to companies that considered this aspect.
We also made sure that these cat breed testing companies provided a sample report on the site to give clients an idea of the final results.
4. Customer Service and Support
Reading the test results by yourself still may not give you the complete picture of your cat’s DNA. That’s why we reserved a place higher on the list for companies that offer additional services, such as vet consultations, 24/7 user support, and fast and reliable customer service.
5. Turnaround Time
Tests take around 4-6 weeks to complete. Results from full feline DNA tests usually take longer than specific testing.
Delivery time may not be the most critical factor, but it’s still worth considering. No one likes to wait around for test results, so the faster they arrive, the better.
6. Privacy and Security
All reputable DNA cat testing companies should provide 100% protection of their client’s personal information (feline and human). For that reason, we pushed brands with extensive security and privacy measures higher on the list.
7. Reputation, Experience, and Lab Equipment
These are all factors that come high in our ranking list. Selecting a reputable and long-standing company in the industry is vital.
- Does the company use state-of-the-art equipment?
- Does it carry out the tests in its own laboratory?
- How long has the company been in business?
These are some of the questions we asked when deciding on the DNA testing companies we’ve selected.
Are all features in one test, or are there separate tests for each one?
This depends on what the client is looking for when ordering a DNA feline test. On the one hand, if you are a breeder, there are specific traits you will be interested in, such as blood type and heritage.
On the other hand, cat owners would be most interested in a cat breeds test and might not see the need to pay extra for extensive tests.
Since it ultimately depends on what you’re looking to get out of the test, deciding between a specific or more comprehensive one is up to you. To help you out, we listed all the tests the company provides, but the variety of tests on offer did not affect our judgment.
9. Future Updates
The chance to get continuous updates on your results as the company increases its database is another perk offered by the best DNA testing companies. If a relative of your cat is tested further down the line and a hereditary connection is made, you will be notified.
The accuracy of the cat breed or personality test (or traits or health test) depends first and foremost on the quality of the sample provided and the extensiveness of the database the company uses as a reference. Simply put, the more extensive the database, the more accurate the test results will be.
Choosing the Best Test for Your Cat
Testing cats’ DNA is, after all, a relatively new science, so it will take some time before it’s fully regulated and commercialized. However, this doesn’t mean that cat DNA testing hasn’t made significant progress in the short time it’s been around.
So what can a DNA test for your four-legged friend tell you? Is taking a sample painful for your cat? Is dog DNA testing different? And most importantly, why should you test your feline?
We’ve got the answers to these questions and more.
Do Cats Have DNA?
Like any living organism, cats have DNA that can be tested to determine the feline’s heritage and possible genetic diseases. Cats have 38 chromosomes (19 pairs), or around 20,000 genes. Just for compassion, humans have 46 (23 pairs), while dogs have a total of 78 chromosomes (39 pairs).
Cat’s DNA doesn’t differ that much from one to the other. In fact, one feline’s DNA sequence is over 99% the same as every other kitty’s DNA. However, even the slightest difference gives your cat its unique personality and looks.
For instance, a single gene mutation in the Manx cat’s family tree is what caused its missing tail. The same is true of the Munchkins’ short legs.
Why Should Owners DNA Test Their Cats?
The first reason owners test their cat’s DNA is to determine which breeds have contributed to their feline companion’s genetic background. A cat’s breed determines its physical appearance (coat color, pattern, and length) and temperament, as well as potential health risks certain breeds are associated with.
DNA tests for cats help breeders root out inherited diseases and conditions that may arise from in-breeding to develop proactive, sustainable breeding programs. Vets can also benefit from DNA tests, especially when recommending the best diet, making an early diagnosis of a health condition, and providing the best treatment.
Finally, the more owners invest in discovering their cat’s ancestry and genetic profile, the more extensive the DNA companies’ database. This, in turn, leads to more comprehensive and detailed results and future advances in the study of cat genealogy.
What Does a Cat DNA Test Tell You?
It depends on the test you choose, but this is what most DNA test results show:
- The cat breed your pet is related to
- Where your furry friend comes from
- The wild cat that is its closest relative
- Any risk of hereditary diseases
- Finding relatives of your cat that have also been tested
- Understanding your cats’ behavior and temperament better
Your Cat’s Breed
The primary reason for a cat DNA test is to learn more about which breeds make up your feline’s genome. But before you look into your cat’s ancestry, there are a couple of things to consider.
Why Should I Know My Cat’s Breed?
The cat’s breed determines its physical appearance, including size, eye color, fur length, coat color, and pattern. And it isn’t just the looks.
The cat-breed DNA test will also tell owners more about their personality, energy levels, relationship to humans, and other cats and pets. For example, the way cats respond to catnip is the result of genetics, as is their willingness to cozy up to strangers.
Another aspect that your feline’s breed impacts is the cost of insurance. Some of the best pet insurance companies take the breed into account when calculating monthly premiums. Although this is more common with dogs than cats, it’s still a factor to consider. Currently, clean cat genetic testing results aren’t accepted by insurance companies as a potential reduction in premiums, but this could easily change in the future.
Breed-specific data will give cat owners the necessary knowledge to take the best possible care of their felines. It can help in many ways, from the most suitable environment to the best diet and grooming routine.
How Can I Tell What Breed of Cat I Have?
Currently, the CFA recognizes 42 pedigreed breeds of cats, most of which can be identified based on physical traits. But even with purebreds, it can sometimes be hard to pinpoint the breed (unless owners have documentation testifying to the feline’s heritage).
Things are even more complicated when it comes to rescues and strays, which commonly fall under the category of “domestic” or “house cat.” For all you know, your stray or rescue kitty might be directly descended from a royal Persian or a vocal Siamese. It might not have any purebred bloodline at all. Or it might be distantly related to a particular breed of cats.
The most reliable way to find out your cat’s breed is through cat breed DNA testing.
Country of Origin
Not even the best cat DNA test can tell you which country your cat comes from, but it can show you which region its closest genetic matches reside in.
Relation to Wild Cats
Cat DNA tests can tell owners if their kitty is related to lynx, cougars, or other wildcats. If your cat behaves like a mini-tiger, it probably shares some genetic traits with this big cat. However, this feature, along with the country of origin, isn’t of vital importance when it comes to cats’ overall health and well-being.
However, for some cat parents, every detail regarding their beloved cat is welcomed. What’s more, it’s seen as another clue in discovering the mystery behind felines and their behavior.
It’s believed that there are around 250 hereditary diseases among cats. Although inherited conditions can affect all felines, certain purebreds are more at risk than others. This is where cat breed genetic testing comes in.
DNA tests will tell owners if their cat has the genetic marker that might put it at risk of contracting one of these diseases. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that the kitty has this condition right now.
It also doesn’t mean that your cat might develop it in the future. However, obtaining this information from a reliable cat genetic test helps cat owners plan their cat’s diet and lifestyle better. In addition, it will help them take preventive measures to ensure that their feline has a long, happy, and healthy life.
In some instances, it could even prompt owners to get cat insurance from an earlier age. If they cannot afford insurance, they could set up an emergency fund or simply be on the lookout for potential symptoms.
What Are the Most Common Hereditary Diseases in Felines?
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is one of the most common inherited disorders that affect around 6% of cats worldwide. This potentially lethal condition is even more prevalent among Persian cats and breeds derived from the Persian, such as Himalayans and Exotic Shorthairs. It’s estimated that one-third of Persian cats have PKD.
PKD is tough to detect in its early stages. In fact, DNA testing for cats is one of the best ways to discover if your pet is at risk. Testing for PKD is also helpful to breeders, who use it for breeding out the gene by selectively mating cats that don’t have it.
Cats are also prone to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Namely, heart rhythm abnormalities, including tachycardia (increased heart rate), are common hereditary conditions among cats. They primarily affect breeds like the Maine Coon and Ragdolls.
Diabetes is another hereditary disease that shows up on a DNA test for cats. Although it’s more prevalent among random-bred cats, some pedigree breeds are more prone to diabetes than others. A study shows this is especially the case with the Abyssinian, Siamese, Norwegian Forest, Russian blue, and Burmese.
Another disease prevalent in cats is the feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). It refers to several conditions that affect the lower urinary tracts in cats, such as bladder inflammation, bladder stones, and urethra inflammation.
Cats are also susceptible to progressive retinal atrophy, an untreatable eye condition that can lead to blindness. This hereditary disorder is the most prevalent among Abyssinians and Persians.
Deafness is also very common among cats, especially white cats with one or two blue eyes.
What Kind of Genetic Testing for Cats Is Available?
There are basically two types of tests: the complete feline DNA tests, which give plenty of information about the breed, inherited health risks, country of origin (or at least region), personality, and physical appearance.
The more specific tests include the PKD test that helps determine if the feline has the gene for this disease.
Collecting a Sample for a Cat DNA Test Kit
The two safest and preferred methods of sample collection include:
- Buccal swab collection—Collecting epithelium cells from the inside of a cat’s cheeks and gums with a sterilized cotton swab. To avoid contamination, owners are advised to collect the sample at least 30 minutes after the cat eats.
- Loose fur—DNA companies will provide you with sterile adhesive tape to place on your cat’s fur. All cat parents need to do is press down and peel off.
Both collection methods are simple and easy and won’t cause your precious furball any pain.
Dog vs. Cat DNA Testing
Currently, the CFA recognizes 42 cat breeds, most of which aren’t even 100 years old. Conversely, there are over 200 dog breeds, which means that cat ancestry databases have fewer DNA markers to work with.
Moreover, the history of cats differs from that of dogs. Canines went through years of domestication and selective breeding to get to the pups we have today. In contrast, cats have remained very similar to their wild ancestors.
In other words, feline DNA tests (especially cat ancestry DNA tests) are more reliable and accurate than those for dogs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are cat DNA tests accurate?
As with any test, there is a certain margin of error. However, the evolution of cats varies significantly from that of humans and the history of dogs, so using DNA tests to track your feline’s ancestry is more reliable.
How much does it cost to DNA test a cat?
Depending on which brand you choose, DNA tests for your feline can cost from $45 to over $100.
How can I identify what breed my cat is?
There are a few things you can look at to determine your cat’s breed, such as:
- Fur pattern and color
- Coat type
- Face shape
- Tail length
One way to identify your kitty’s breed is to browse through the most popular cat breeds and see which one matches your cats appearance and behavior. Still, the surest way to determine the breed is to do a feline DNA breed test.
How old should a cat be to get DNA tested?
There’s no age limit when it comes to genetic testing. However, if you submit samples from a nursing kitten, researchers request that you wait at least an hour after nursing.
Where can you get DNA tests for cats?
Cat DNA tests are available online directly from the companies or via resellers. Just make sure you review price differences and ensure it’s a trusted retailer.
Curiosity killed the cat, but your curiosity about your cat might just save its life. We’ve given you all the info you’ll need to choose the best cat DNA test for your needs.
All that’s left for you is to get the results, learn more about your beloved furball, and form an even deeper bond.