The Best Cat DNA Test Kit: Reviews & Ratings
Performing a DNA test is now more affordable and accessible than ever, so millions of people have been jumping at the opportunity to learn more about their ancestry and health.
But did you know that you can learn about the genetic background of your feline companion as well?
The idea of testing your cat’s DNA cat may seem amusing at first, but there are actually plenty of valid reasons for doing it.
In fact, your kitty’s health and wellbeing may depend on it.
Best Feline DNA Test Kit Ratings
Full DNA Test
- Extensive info on cat’s health and inherited traits
- Includes routine updates about your cat’s DNA
- Free U.S. shipping
- Provides first results in 8-12 weeks
Full DNA Test
- Basic test for genetic diseases and common traits
Full DNA Test
- Tests for over 40 genetic diseases and traits
- Only offers feline PKD test
(Scroll down to see our reviews of each individual test, or read on to learn more about feline DNA testing)
So, What Are the Benefits of Feline DNA Tests?
If you adopted your cat from a shelter or got it from a litter in your community, chances are that you don’t know anything about its past.
While 95% of all U.S. cats are domestic short-hairs and don’t have an association with a particular breed, there are more genetic traits that matter which can only be discovered through DNA testing.
But what exactly can the test tell you?
Well, here are a few things that you can expect to learn from a cat DNA test.
What Breed is Your Cat?
The primary and most straightforward purpose of a DNA test is to learn more about a cat’s breed.
Unless your cat is a purebred, you probably don’t know about its origins or unique traits. Feline DNA tests can help to learn more about your cat’s ancestry and provide insights about the relation to other breeds and even other species of cats.
And it’s not just about looks, either.
Genetics plays a significant role in a cat’s behavior – different breeds have their own character traits, so a DNA test can help you get a better understanding of your cat’s personality and why it behaves the way that it does.
Some characteristics actually dictate a cat’s activity level, so having that knowledge enables you to provide better care for your pet.
For instance, the Bengal cat is athletic and active, while the Ragdolls are lovable fur balls that love to cuddle up on your lap, so they need a completely different environment to feel happy.
Can Your Cat Inherit Diseases?
Learning about your kitty’s past and personality is awesome, but it’s not the main reason why you should consider performing a DNA test.
As you probably know, some cat breeds have a high risk of developing potentially fatal diseases. When you buy a purebred cat, you at least know what to expect, but when your cat is just a plain old shorthair, you don’t have the same luxury.
And some diseases are prevalent in all kinds of cats.
That’s why, if you suspect that your cat may be at risk from one of the more genetic diseases, it’s always a good idea to perform a DNA test, especially if you have plans for breeding.
But even if you just want to protect your kitty, knowing its genetic predisposition to certain diseases can help provide better care and take steps to prevent the illness from progressing.
Help to Deepen Knowledge About Cat Genes
By participating in cat DNA testing, you are contributing to the work of researchers that are studying feline genetics and trying to gain deeper insights about how certain DNA traits affect the cat’s health and character.
Today, the field of cat DNA testing is still relatively new, so the databases are not very extensive.
However, with time, as more cat owners choose to learn about their feline buddy’s ancestry, the databases are poised to become more accurate and informative – cat genetics researchers are actively looking for patterns in the DNA that relate to specific diseases.
Even today, at the early stages of the process, genetic testing can be used to prevent disease, and we are merely scratching the surface of the possibilities.
Different Types of Cat DNA Tests
To understand the different types of cat DNA tests that are out there, we must first figure out what a DNA test is.
Basically, DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a sequence of nucleotides that serves as a unique blueprint for every individual organism on earth. Parts of that sequence are called genes, which are responsible for the development and reproduction of different types of cells.
Cat DNA is made up of 38 chromosomes (humans have 46), which contain around 20,000 genes, all of which serve a function and carry their own unique traits.
Some of the tests that are available today provide a broad spectrum of information, including data about the cat’s ancestry, breed, health risks, character, personality, and much more.
Other tests are much more specific –the PKD test is designed to tell if a cat has the polycystic kidney disease, which is a genetic ailment that’s common among many breeds of cats.
Let’s explore both of these options and their benefits in more detail.
Full Cat DNA Test
As the name implies, the full cat DNA test is the most comprehensive option that provides information not only about inherited diseases but about your kitty’s breed and traits as well.
Even if your cat doesn’t have purebred parents, it still has certain traits of pedigreed cats in its DNA, and the test can show which ones.
What’s more, the test can also tell you which breeds of wild cats are the closest relatives to your cat or show you the area of the world that your cat’s ancestors may have originated from.
But full DNA tests go much further than that.
The main reason why cat DNA tests can be so valuable is that they can help you learn more about the health risks and disorders that your cat might have inherited.
Today’s research allows identifying many of the most common genetic mutations that cause common ailments for cats such as kidney disease, diabetes, and heart disease.
This is important for ensuring that you can take steps to prevent those diseases or manage their progress, but it’s absolutely crucial if you have plans for your cat to breed.
Beyond learning about your cat’s ancestry and genetic diseases, you can also get information about the diet that would be the most suitable for your cat.
Cat DNA PKD Test
While the full DNA test has many benefits, it can take a long time to get the results back.
That’s where the PKD test can be a great alternative – it’s a very narrow test that helps to determine if a cat has the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), which causes cysts to appear on the ovaries and can cause kidney failure and death.
Since the disease doesn’t require both parents to have the faulty gene and fully develops only in the later stages of the cat’s life, cats often have many litters of kittens before PKD is discovered, making PKD challenging to breed out.
How can the PKD DNA test help?
The disease is most prevalent in Persians, as well as Himalayans and British Shorthairs, and is generally untreatable. But, thanks to DNA testing, it’s becoming possible to breed the disease out of existence by selectively mating only those cats that don’t have the gene.
Since PKD is almost impossible to diagnose until its later stages because the cysts are too small to detect in the beginning, a PKD DNA test is the only way to determine if your cat has it at an early age.
That can not only allow you to make an informed decision regarding your cat’s breeding, but also treat the symptoms of the disease, such as kidney failure, and allow to extend your cat’s life expectancy.
And if you’re considering adopting a purebred cat that’s known for having the PKD gene, it can also be a good idea to perform the test to ensure that the cat doesn’t have it.
How We Rate and Review Cat DNA Tests
When choosing the best DNA test provider, we use a variety of criteria to determine the option that provides the most value for the price.
- First off, we analyze how much data and different insights does the test provide, as that is the most objective criteria to judge.
- Then we look at the delivery time; while the time it takes alone may not be the determining factor, we look into how much information the test provides and then look at how long it takes to complete.
- A key aspect we consider is the accuracy of the test, which depends on the quality of the DNA sample and the extensiveness of the database that’s used as a reference.
- Finally, we look at the pricing of each cat DNA test service provider and look for the offer that is the best deal for the money paid.
So, without further ado, let’s dig in – below you’ll find our top choices for feline DNA testing along with our review of each.
Reviews Of The Best Cat DNA Test Kits
Basepaws is a California-based genetic testing company that’s dedicated exclusively to studying and cataloging feline DNA.
It’s one of the pricier options on this list, but in our opinion, it’s well worth it – for $95 you get the most extensive report out of any of the options, as well as more detailed updates as the database expands and is able to provide more information.
The biggest drawback with using Basepaws CatKit is the wait time – according to the company, you can expect to get the results in around 8-12 weeks, but based on user feedback, it can sometimes take up to five months, which is a very long time, no matter how detailed the test.
However, the company is hopeful that as it grows and expands the database, the wait time should be reduced to around four weeks, which is a much better turnaround time, similar to many human DNA tests that are available today.
I know what you’re thinking – is it worth it to wait weeks or even months for your cat’s DNA test results to come back?
Well, in our opinion, even with the long waiting period, this is still the best choice on the market.
Basepaws test offers extensive information about your cat’s breed, ancestry, health, as well as additional information on how the DNA traits affect the cat’s personality.
The DNA test even provides comparisons with 16 different wild cats, showing your cats relation to each. This segment alone is quite exciting because it allows seeing the journey your cat went through to become your loyal companion.
Starting from 2019, Basepaws will be adding even more ancestry and health features such as maternal/paternal tracing, siblings test, and an extensive health test that checks for 32 of the most common diseases.
They’ll also be adding more personality predictions, diet recommendations, and even a wellness assessment to the list of offerings, making this the hands-down most comprehensive test out there.
Once your results are ready, you can conveniently download them in PDF format, or send the results straight to your vet.
Basepaws CatKit is the most comprehensive and accurate cat DNA test out there, so even though it’s on the pricier side at $95, it’s the best choice on the market for what you get.
And when you consider that they’re continually improving their database and will send you updates forever, that makes this an even better deal.
#2. NeoGen Cat DNA Test
The Cat Fanciers’ Association and NeoGen have developed an intriguing cat DNA testing program that has a well-deserved place on this list.
The company offers one of the more affordable packages out there, with prices starting at just $45, with add-on tests available for an additional fee.
Another reason why NeoGen Cat DNA Test is a solid option is the simplicity of the process – instead of having to wait for the DNA test kit to arrive, you can just order the test online and then collect your cat’s DNA sample yourself using a cotton swab or by having your vet draw a blood sample, though we wonder about this process.
I know it sounds simple, but having to do this yourself is nowhere near as fool-proof as the BasePaws option above.
You then send out the sample to be analyzed and wait for the lab to provide you with results.
You can expect them to be available in around a month.
For an additional 5 dollars, you can order the popular PKD test, though we recommend the one below if you’re looking for the best.
To sum up, this is a cheaper test, but we wonder about the “DIY” way you’re supposed to collect the sample. It’s alright, but we still recommend checking out BasePaws, our #1 choice.
If you want to get your results fast, and don’t mind paying a premium price, HomeDNA is another decent option.
The company is a branch of the DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) that has been offering genetic testing for humans and animals for more than 20 years.
There are a few reasons that make this a good choice.
First off, it’s very convenient – HomeDNA test kits are available in many stores near you, as well as online, if that you live in the United States.
And once you send it out, you can receive the test results in as little as three weeks, which is the shortest amount of time on this list for such an extensive test.
But what do they test for?
Well, your cat’s DNA will be tested for 40 of the most common genetic diseases and traits, which will enable you to make better decisions about your cat’s health.
You will also receive access to your cat’s Life Plan, which helps to plan and manage various aspects of your cat’s care, plan veterinary appointments, and even interface with pet-care providers.
However, the high price tag and lack of features to justify it don’t make this option sensible for most cat parents that want to learn more about their pet.
As the most expensive DNA test on this list, HomeDNA doesn’t deliver enough value to make it a worthwhile investment. Go with BasePaws (above) for the best of all worlds (price, value, information, speed).
#1. (PKD-Only) EasyDNA Feline PKD Test
Finally, we wanted to include one option that focuses specifically on testing for the polycystic kidney disease (PKD) because that’s one of the most common reasons for performing feline DNA tests in the first place.
EasyDNA is a DNA testing company that has a network of 25 offices around the world, providing both human and animal DNA testing services in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
Their feline PKD test allows to quickly find out if a cat has the faulty PKD gene, which is essential for those that are considering breeding their cat or want to know if a cat has PKD before purchasing a purebred.
Considering that this is a PKD-only test, it’s on the pricey side, with the fee for the test starting at 60 dollars.
But if you’re in a rush, it can be worth it because you can receive the results in just ten days.
EasyDNA offers the most reliable PKD-only test on the market. While 60 dollars is a lot for testing a single genetic disease, the fast turnaround time can make it a worthwhile investment if you need to know, but if you don’t need the results fast, other options provide a much more for your money.
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