Our cat's DNA make-up matters. All the information required for the functioning of every little bit of your cat's body is written in the genes. Luckily, with Basepaws, discovering your cat's genetic background, ancestry and health predispositions have now become a lot easier and less expensive than ever.

We are often asked why cat owners should DNA test their cat, what the benefits of the Basepaws’ approach are, and what exactly we test for. So without further ado, here are a few things you should know before deciding to purchase Basepaws CatKit for your favorite pet.

DNA carries the genetic information which determines the formation and functioning of all the proteins, cells, organs, and systems which compose your cat’s body. It factors in on your cat’s appearance, health, and even personality. The expression of this genetic information is heavily influenced by environmental factors. This means that genes simply give the animal a potential to develop a certain trait. The actual expression of this trait will depend on environmental factors. In other words, the same gene can sometimes be expressed slightly differently in one cat than in another.

A DNA test allows you to discover the genetic influences your cat carries before they ever manifest. When we analyze your cat’s DNA, we look for specific regions in the DNA (a.k.a DNA markers), which are either breed-associated (when testing for ancestry) or disease-associated (when testing for health predispositions).

Why is this significant?

If your cat is genetically closer to a certain breed, there is a chance they inherited similar genetic predispositions in terms of health, care, and behavior. If we detect any genetic mutations in your cat, we can report to you how likely they are to develop a certain disease.

This information enables you to personalize your cat’s healthcare in a way that wasn’t possible before. If you find out your cat is at a higher risk of developing heart or kidney disease, you will know what signs to look for, will be able to consult with your vet, and they will be able to design appropriate preventative measurements.

Mama cat cleaning her kitten in grass

Our DNA test is designed to complement your cat’s healthcare

Our DNA test gives you insight into your cat’s genetic potential and can help you personalize your cat’s care routine. However, your cat will still need to see their veterinarian once or twice a year (depending on their age). Regular veterinary visits allow for early detection of any health concerns, allow you to get professional advice on how to adapt your cat’s dietary needs according to their health status, and ensure healthy management of your cat’s weight. Regular consultations with a veterinarian can also help you manage your cat’s behavior. It is important to share your cat’s DNA results with their vet if there are higher risks from certain conditions. That will drive your vet’s focus on the detection of potential early signs and symptoms and they will also offer preventative measures.

Aside from regular vet appointments, your cat’s healthcare should also include healthy skin and coat care, oral hygiene, parasite management, and regular vaccinations.

What does the Basepaws cat DNA test include?

The current version of the Basepaws report includes three distinct parts: breed report, wild cat index, and health report. The Breed Report shows the genetic similarity of your cat to purebreds and in comparison to other domestic cats (the complete list of included breeds here). The results of the breed report are also visualized in a chromosome map. The Wild Cat Index reports your cat’s most similar wild cat ancestries. Finally, the Health Report is the section of the Basepaws Cat DNA Report that reveals the 38 genetic mutations which correspond with more than 16 genetic conditions. You will be able to discover if your cat has tested positive for a genetic variant associated with any of the genetic diseases included in our database. You can find the complete list of included diseases here.

basepaws cat dna report sample

View sample report

We are continually updating our DNA Reports in parallel to our database growth. As we gather more data, our reports will evolve to be more accurate, comprehensive, and detailed. They will also include more breeds and more genetic diseases. The reports of all early adopters of Basepaws will be continually updated as we gather more information.

What else is Basepaws involved in?

We are dedicated to the advancement of feline science and health. We are running several research programs to both help us and open new possibilities in the feline healthcare system. If you think your cat qualifies for one of our research programs, please send us an email to cure@basepaws.com.

Basepaws is actively dedicated to the education of cat care, health, and genetics. We strive to raise awareness about many aspects of feline wellness. Please explore our blog, where we regularly cover topics related to our goals.

Basepaws science

If you would like to learn more about our science please refer to this article. You can read about our methods, approaches, and DNA sampling, plus you can take a peek into our lab. If you still have questions afterward, please contact us directly at meow@basepaws.com.

orange tabby white spotted cat laying on the back on a carpet

Feline genetics is largely understudied and underfunded. Even though the feline genome has been decoded, only a few physical traits and diseases have actually been linked to specific regions of the DNA. Basepaws’ mission is to help push discoveries in these areas by creating one of the largest feline genetic research databases in the world. This is where Basepaws is heading. Please join us as we work to eradicate preventable genetic diseases in cats everywhere.