Whether your cat came from a breeder, you adopted them from a shelter or rescue, or you just found each other through fateful circumstances, you may find yourself curious to know more about their genetic makeup. Dog breeds are sometimes easy to identify just by appearances, but cats aren't always so easy to understand. Many people look to cat DNA tests to learn about their cat's ancestry, breed information, genetic testing, and even for health screenings. Finding the right cat DNA test will depend on what information you're looking for. Whichever test you decide on, finding your results is fairly easy with a cheek swab sent in through the mail.
What to consider when purchasing a cat DNA test
Availability: Unlike DNA tests for people and dog DNA tests, the options out there for testing a cat's DNA are quite limited. This can be a good thing as there are fewer options to research and choose from but it can be a bit tough to find exactly what you want from a single test. When searching for the best DNA test, be sure to consider what you wish to learn from one, what you'll need to provide to get answers and the cost of your kit.
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Health Testing: DNA tests for cats are not just limited to providing insight into a cat's genetic makeup. Certain tests can also offer information regarding a cat's health, like predisposition for certain genetic diseases, dental health, and kidney disease. Some test kits will offer more information than others so be sure to check for what health markers are included if you're looking for health info with your cat's DNA test results.
Expectations: As with any test, it's important to manage your expectations when awaiting the results. Some test kits analyze in relation to more cat breeds than others, and others have more testing capability for certain physical trait markers, like coat color, coat type, white patterns, and tail length. Not every test will be able to offer exact information regarding your cat, but most will be able to give insight regarding parentage, genetic diversity, and breed groups with a single DNA sample.
The best overall cat DNA test
If you're looking for the best cat DNA test out there, this one is celebrated among so many cat owners for the wealth of information it offers, the price, and the simplicity of obtaining your results from start to finish. The DNA report's breed analysis compares your cat against 21 cat breeds, 50 trait markers, and a chromosome map. Additionally, this test offers disease screening to determine if your cat is genetically predisposed to certain genetic conditions by screening 64 health markers, and dental screening. Testing is conducted by swabbing your cat's cheek with a swab, then mailing it back to the company for testing (shipping is free each way in the United States). To access your results, create a profile on the company's website, then have your answers sent to your inbox.
The best value cat DNA test
Another top testing kit for obtaining breed information and genetic testing is the Wisdom Panel, which offers kits for cats and dogs. This test can detect over 70 cat breeds and uses 25 physical trait markers, like your cat's type of coat and their coat color. You will also learn your cat's blood type and any risks associated with blood transfusions, and even offers a mixed breed report identifying breed types down to 1% for a truly accurate result. To collect cheek cells from your cat's mouth, be sure your feline doesn't eat anything or share water dishes or toys with another cat for an hour before the test. Results from this company usually arrive in two to three weeks from the time it's received by them.
The best test for cat health screening
If you're only looking for a test to help understand your cat's health conditions, this one only tests for diseases and possible hereditary health risks. Using your cat's breed, age, weight, and gender, as well as the information collected from the test, this kit will help you develop a personalized LifePlan to share with your veterinarian. This info can help cat owners learn what nutritional needs their cats have, and work with their cat's doctor to determine a treatment plan in the event of inherited disease. One thing to consider before you order this test is that you must have your cat's breed information before you order this test, so if you don't already know this it may be worth it to purchase a breed and health DNA test instead.
The best bundled DNA tests for dog and cat owners
For pet owners with a dog and cat in the home, this bundle contains two of the most popular DNA tests—one for cats, and one for dogs. The cat DNA test is the same kit as the single Wisdom Panel option. The dog DNA test pulls from a database comprised of 1.7 million samples and includes a health panel containing over 200 tests to check for genetic health conditions. Included in that test is the panel to locate the MDR1 medication sensitivity, which can cause adverse reactions to certain medications that are commonly prescribed to treat conditions among canines. Like many other DNA tests, the kits contained in this bundle cannot determine a dog or cat's age.
The best cat DNA test for breeders
Whether you have a mixed breed feline or a pedigreed purebred in your life, if you want to use a test kit that breeders know and love, this is the one to shop for. This easy, at-home kit tests for more than 40 known diseases, including Burmese head defect, spinal muscular atrophy, and polycystic kidney disease, among several others. It also tests over 20 physical traits including to help determine the makeup of your cat's feline genetics, such as coat length, and traits like polydactylism. Test results are shared in an online profile created for your cat in the company's database.
The most comprehensive cat DNA test
For the most in-depth test, this genome sequencing kit offers answers that some other test kits don't. It provides a breed report from 21 breeds across four breed groups and compares against 50 trait markers and 25 traits for a complete breed analysis. Additionally, a health report comparison of 65 health markers and a dental health report can help identify things like genetic mutations, periodontal disease, and even tooth resorption. This item is sold as a single kit, or in packs of two or three kits, with the price decreasing significantly with each added test.