Just like human siblings, kitty siblings sometimes love each other and other times wish they could stuff their little brother in a box and sit on top of it. No matter how well your cats get along, they can still work together to help scientists unlock the secrets of how their DNA makes them unique.
Cat siblings and genetics
Isn’t it strange how two cats, raised in the same household and maybe even sharing the same fur-parents, can be so VERY different from each other? One is timid and the other is bold, or one is a sleek toothpick and the other is a long-haired bowling ball…
Normally, geneticists struggle to determine which aspects of your cat’s health and personality are due to DNA and which are due to the environment they are raised in. However, your kitties all have YOU in common, which makes this research a little easier.
Cat DNA is the future!
As scientists are decoding the cat genome, they’re learning all about what makes our cats tick. More than 250 cat diseases are inherited, and once we identify the genes responsible, we can help pet owners delay or even prevent their cats from future suffering.
Cats share 90% of their genes with humans. In the long run, much of what we learn about our cats’ health can be applied to human health. It’s one of the main missions of Basepaws - to not only bring more discovery to cat health, but to use that data to help human discoveries.
How do scientists determine what your cat’s genes are doing?
Let’s assume that your two cats, Toothpick and BowlingBall, get their DNA sequenced. When Basepaws analyzes their DNA, more than 99% of their genetic code will be identical. However, the small differences (variants) will be recorded and remembered for making Toothpick and Bowlingball unique.
In the future, when more cats get their DNA sequenced, some of them will have DNA variants that resemble Toothpick’s or BowlingBall’s. If they also share some of the same traits, then we can say the trait is “associated" with that variant.
Are your cats related?
If your cats share the same fur-parents, then it’s common to hear that they share “50% of their DNA." However, if they share more than 99% of their genetic code, what exactly does this mean?
Babies and kittens receive, at random, 50% of their DNA from each of their parents. That means they inherit 50% of what makes mom unique and 50% of what makes dad unique (their DNA variants). Based on chance, that means that siblings will share 25% of mom’s quirks and 25% of dad’s quirks, which equals 50% of their quirks (variants) in common.
What is… Heteropaternal Superfecundation?
This mouthful of a term is what happens when a mommy kitty creates kittens with more than one daddy (in the same litter). That’s right! This is VERY common in both cats and dogs. The average cat has 3-5 kittens per litter, and each one of those kittens could have a different father.
Are your furbabies from the same litter but incredibly different from each other? Well, they might only share 25% of their DNA. The only way to know for sure how much they are related is to have their DNA tested.
NEW: Basepaws Siblings in the Spotlight
Tot, Dante and Melody
Tot, Dante and Melody are Alvina’s youthful furbabies in Long Island, NY. Despite having different fur-parents, they have been brought together into one loving family. They groom each other and have fun playing, although they occasionally get “smacky" when they’re competing for treats. They are looking forward to receiving their Basepaws DNA test results! You can follow these adorable cats on Instagram at #TaterTotMeow. Here’s a little more about their unique personalities, habits and tastes as described by their human, Alvina:
Tot is 2 years old - the oldest of the 3. He is a sweet, playful and patient cat. Tot enjoys being pet and greeting everyone at the door. Tot will occasionally groom you. He was my first cat. I fell in love with him the moment I saw him.
Dante is 1 years old. He is a tuxedo cat and is very sweet and playful. He loves to cuddle with you when you are sleeping. He is a purr machine! Dante also enjoys being pet but hates it when I trim his nails. For some reason, Dante loves leafy vegetables.
Melody, the youngest, will be turning 1 in August. She is a playful, sweet shy girl. Her unique 2 different colored eyes were what initially drew me in when I first saw her. She is very loving and comes running towards me when I call her name. She is the most vocal of the 3, demanding pets and breakfast and human food (even though she shouldn't be eating it).
Do you have more than one furbaby at home and want to get their DNA tested? Contact us for special discount pricing. Your cats could help improve the lives of cats worldwide.
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