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About The Wild Cat Index

“Except for a few hybrid breeds with wild cat DNA, all housecats are descended from the same ancestors – the Near Eastern wild cats. However, as cats around the world evolved, some kittens inherited more DNA in common with wild cat relatives than did their siblings. The Basepaws Wild Cat Index now offers you a way to see if your furry companion has more in common with different wild cats than other cats.

How is the Wild Cat Index calculated?

After Basepaws sequences your cat’s DNA, we compare your cat’s genome to other cats, big and small. For all the thousands of locations along your cat’s DNA that can be similar or different in wild and domestic cats, we record how many similarities your cat shares with different wild cats. Then we use this value to rank all Basepaws cats according to which cats have the most in common with different wild cats. The Wild Cat Index is a percentage value (for each wild cat) that tells you how your cat ranks in similarity against other Basepaws cats. The exact value will change with later versions of the report as we continue to add more and more cats to the Basepaws family.

How can I interpret the Wild Cat Index?

Wild cats that have been compared to your cat are listed in order of best match. If the percentage is higher than 50%, then your cat shares more DNA with this wild cat when compared to the average house cat. If the percentage is less than 50%, then your cat shares less DNA with this wild cat when compared to the average house cat.

Your cat’s highest match is based on ranking and should not be interpreted as your cat’s most recent wild ancestor. For more about cat ancestry, please visit this blog.

Reasons for high percentage rankings:

Random inheritance

Most often, high ranking cats are a bit more related to a wild cat than the low ranking cats. For instance, house cats and lions share 95.6% of their DNA. On an individual basis, all house cats should have values pretty close to 95.6%, but some will be slightly higher while some are slightly lower. In this case, your cat’s genetic similarity is due to random chance. Your cat’s ancestors just happened to inherit more DNA in common with their wild cat relative than did other cats.

Hybrids

Sometimes, cats from different species mate and create hybrid kittens. An exceptionally high match could indicate that one of your cat’s recent ancestors was truly a wild cat. For instance, cats of the Savannah breed should have very high rankings in the Wild Cat Index for Servals.

Whichever the case, we hope you enjoy discovering how “wild” your cat is when compared to other cats!


*We cannot currently distinguish high matches due to random inheritance from matches due to hybrid ancestry.