Meet Maddie – One Serious(ly) Handsome Boy
"I decided to take the Basepaws DNA test because Maddie is so very important to me. We are very closely bonded and I want him to be around for many years. I am hoping that with this DNA testing I will be able to find out if he is prone to any health conditions so I can keep a sharp eye out for them." - describes our dear client Ashley - "I want to find out how to provide the best possible care for him, based on his DNA, to help him live the longest and healthiest that he can. I was also intrigued to learn if he had strong tendencies towards any particular breeds."
Maddie is a handsome 9-year-old tabby boy who pawed his way into Ashley’s life when he was just a kitten. Ashley’s family was initially told that Maddie was a girl, but "by the time we realized otherwise, we were too stubborn to change the name!". This loving family is enriched with another family cat, a family dog and they’ve also had a darling pet bunny, Delilah. As Ashley was growing up, she developed a very strong and loving bond with Maddie. "Maddie has been through a lot in his life! We both have and it has really brought us together and formed an unbreakable connection."- explained Ashley. She eventually got her own job and took over Maddie’s care. She even brought him with her when she moved out to college. "We were always the closest before then too, but when I moved out with him, that’s when it was finalized that he was MY cat.".
Although he was a very happy cat while he was in Ashley’s parents care, if possible, Maddie is now in an even better care than before. " When he was in my parents care they let him roam outside freely. Although he would have lots of fun and do lots of hunting, he would also disappear for long periods of time and come back with injuries. When I took him over, I stopped allowing that and now I take him outside on a harness for walks in the yard instead.". Maddie is one lucky, healthy and happily spoiled boy!
Being a recent grad of the veterinary technician program and a devoted care-giver, Ashley turned to Basepaws in hopes provide Maddie with a best possible life with the help of DNA technology. Using whole genome sequencing and database analysis, we compared Maddie’s DNA to common cat breeds and wildcat ancestors.
To deliver Maddie’s breed index to Ashley, we calculated the similarities between Maddie and different purebred cats and determined how similar he is to each breed in our database. We presented the results using figures with markers which are placed to the left, under or to the right of the ’domestic’ status (Figure 1). If the marker is placed under ‘domestic’, it means that the particular cat has just as much DNA in common with the breed as any average cat. If the bar is to the left of ‘domestic’, it indicates that the cat has less DNA in common with the breed, and if to the right, it shows that the cat has more DNA in common than an average cat. Because of the frequency of Domestic/mixed breed in the cat population, even a slight deviation from ‘domestic’ indicates a preference for this breed. When a cat has more DNA in common with a breed, it means that they probably share recent ancestors with cats of that breed (compared to an average cat). The top 3 matches for Maddie were Siberian forest cat, Egyptian Mau and American Shorthair. The most significant deviation from ’domestic’ was observed for the Siberian cat, a landrace variety of a domestic cat in Russia.
Figure 1: Siberian forest cat: Maddie’s strongest match. Note: The width of the marker indicates the exactness of our prediction.
As far as Maddie’s wild roots go, Ashley’s boy seems to have inherited most of his wild DNA from the servals. The report returned that he was more alike to servals than 95% of cats and more similar to jaguars than as many as 89%! While all domestic cats descend from the same ancestors, the Near Eastern wildcats, your cat will have more DNA in common with some wild cats than others due to a random chance of inheritance.
We asked Ashley what she thought of the results she received. "My results were actually changed after they were initially released. The initial results showed that the top three breeds Maddie matched with were the Somali, Tennessee Rex, and the Maine Coon. And the top three wildcats he matched with were the rusty-spotted cat, the lion and the leopard cat. The first set of results made a lot of sense to me, especially since Maddie is such a large cat and he matched with main coon. When the results changed I was a little bit surprised with the changes. Looking back now the new results make sense in their own way, but they are also not very distinct matches." Just like the Basepaws team, Ashley is highly looking forward to the release of health markers. " Although the breed index was very fun and exciting, I know my favorite part is going to be the health results when they are released. Hopefully it’s all good news!"
Maddie is a darling cat who often leaves a ‘serious’ impression, but allows his favorite human Ashley to see his soft side too. "Maddie is very serious guy that won’t show his soft side to anyone but me. He is very handsome and he knows it. He is seen as a king, and very lion like and he definitely acts that way. He has his moments where he is super sweet and cuddly or playful but I’m the only one that he lets see him that way. Everyone else just knows him as a huge tough cat that’s always serious." Oh, oh! Your secret is out Maddie!
He gets along quite well with other pets too, although he may indulge in stealing their food. We particularly enjoyed hearing about his beautiful relationship with Ashley’s bunny Delilah: "Maddie was very sweet and gentle with her and I could leave them alone unattended with absolutely no concerns Every once in a while, he would playfully chase her but NEVER to cause harm. Which was interesting because outside he was a big hunter."
Maddie is healthy and strong with only a few health difficulties. He loves eating "everything he can get his paws on", and has a problem with his weight. "He is naturally a very large cat and his ideal weight is about 14/15 pounds. However, he tends to sit on the chunky side at 16/17 pounds. It’s interesting because no matter how little I feed him he always stays huge! Maybe that’s something his Basepaws results can help figure out." Due to his background, Ashley worries that he may be prone to upper respiratory problems and she has noticed him to breathe loudly even when is perfectly healthy.
It was a delightful experience getting to know another darling client of ours with their purrfect Basepaws cat. Hearing about Maddie’s unique personality and the beautiful, unbreakable bond between him and his hooman was exceptionally pleasant. And did you know that @mr.maddiemoo was also an Instagram sensation?