It’s no lie that cats are very interesting and very curious creatures. Humans have thought so since the days of ancient Egypt till the age of the internet. Just type in “cat videos” on YouTube and you’re bound to see thousands of funny or cute videos featuring these felines.
What makes them so unique? Cats are valued for their companionship and for their ability to hunt or exterminate vermin. They also have unique vocalizations and distinguishable fur. If you’re a cat owner, you may have wondered what sets your own cat or cats apart from the rest.
What breed is my cat?
If you’re a cat owner or adopted a stray cat, you may have wondered about this question. There are more than seventy different cat breeds recognized by cat registries. These registries include The International Cat Association that recognizes 58 standardized breeds and the Cat Fanciers’ Association that recognizes 44.
In some countries when you get a cat from the pet shop, the cat comes with pedigree papers, this registration of pedigrees is done by the cat registry, some of which are listed above. They usually register domestic cats which are purebred or sometimes mixed. They also ensure the that cats who would be exhibition would have their breed verified. Each of them have their own rules and usually also organize or sanction cat shows.
If your cat doesn’t have pedigree papers, you could ask an experienced veterinarian who would offer their opinion on whether the cat is purebred or not. But undoubtedly, the most precise would be a cat breed test where the collected DNA of the cat is matched to a database of already known and verified cat breeds and their genes. The cat DNA test is useful to breeders because they can prove the pedigree of the cat.
Cat DNA Test
DNA is the genetic material found within every single cell of all living things on earth. Humans inherit DNA in equal 50% portions from their biological parents. This genetic information within DNA can be tracked back to generations before. In a very similar way, cats also pass on their DNA. If a simple cat ancestry test was done to find out just the parentage of a kitten, it will be noted that, the kitten received 50% of its breed from each of the two parents.
The cat genetic testing kit is just like the human DNA testing kit, it contains instructions for DNA collection from the cat, a guide to register the DNA kit and return it to the company and a straightforward description of the DNA test report. The sampling process usually follows this format:
- Order or buy cat DNA testing kit
- Swab is rubbed on the cat’s cheek with its mouth open collecting DNA from the cat
- The sample is sent to the DNA testing company where the DNA is isolated and examined for the different gene variants and traits
- The results are presented in a test report
How To Tell If a Cat Is Purebred
To tell if a cat is purebred, you can compare the cat to the standard breed traits. Certain cat breeds have known features which have been established. So if you know the American Curl has a degree of ear curl varying between 90 to 180 degrees but its ears don’t touch the back of the head, you easily deduce if your cat is of this breed. This is a similar process of elimination and comparison that the vet will do but its established that, this method is not very accurate.
The traits can include traditional colours like, white, brown, blue and lilac; and various divisions such as solid or colourpoint, particolored, mitted, and particolored bicolour. Other traits are the deep the shading of the fur is as well as the cat’s eyes.
A more specific method also based on traits is the cat trait test. This similar to what was described above but this time, DNA of these traits is used. For example, the DNA trait of your cat having ears like the American Curl is determined or whether your cat’s fur matches with that of the Persian cat breed.
The most accurate way to verify if a cat is a purebred would be through a breed DNA test. The test can be ordered online. When delivered, you follow the instructions. You obtain the DNA of the cat in the sampling kit and send it to the company responsible. The company has large database of DNA cat breeds, likely from the Ethiopian Abyssinian to the American York Chocolate. The company matches the DNA of your cat to the database they have on purebred cats and finds the best match.
Cat Health test
Knowing a cat’s breed can help an owner manage or prevent health issues that are specific to certain breads. Persian cats for example, are typically not so hardy and healthy, they are prone to upper respiratory problems, birthing difficultly and malocclusions.
Cats can suffer from inherited disorders like dogs or humans do. But it tends to be more common among the pedigree cats because of past inbreeding and selective breeding. Cat disease test including checking the cat’s predisposition to certain diseases which could have been passed on genetically, like Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy which tend to affect Ragdoll cats, Polycystic Kidney Disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency and many others.
The best cat DNA Test providers
There is no surprise that there are many Cat DNA tests available online. The DNA testing industry is a multimillion dollar industry. But though there are many, below is a summary table of these tests and their selling points. These cat DNA test cost between $45 to $130.
|HomeDNA|| User friendly
Genetic Disease screening
– Available in the US
|EasyDNA|| Genetic Disease screening
Check for Polycystic Kidney Disease
Accurate and quick results
|Basepaws|| Sequence entire genome
|– Waiting time|