Many domestic cats are mysteries. They were either adopted from the shelter, found as strays, or were birthed from other “mystery” cats. Often, the only way to learn about these cats is to take a DNA test. Most of these tests check for the breed at the very least, though others reveal health information as well.
If you’re looking to breed your feline, these tests may be essential to ensure that your cat isn’t a carrier for underlying health conditions. Even if you aren’t, a DNA test can help you learn more about your feline that you wouldn’t know otherwise.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the best cat DNA tests on the market. By the end of it, you should know exactly which one to get to meet your needs and reveal hidden information about your feline.
A Quick Comparison (updated in 2023)
|Best Value||Cat DNA Tests||
|Premium Choice||Orivet HomeDNA||
The 5 Best Cat DNA Tests
1. Basepaws Cat DNA Test
Like most DNA companies, Basepaws offers a few different options. There most popular kit is the Breed + Health DNA test. This includes everything the company has to offer. It tests 38 different genetic markers, which test for 16 diseases in all. They also provide a complete chromosome map, so you could potentially use other services to make sense of your cat’s DNA as well. It also tests for your cat’s breed, including four main breed groups and 21 individual breeds. This costs $129.
They also offer a whole-genome sequencing test, which is a bit more advanced. It includes sequencing of your cat’s complete genetic profile as well as constant health marker updates. This option costs $499.
The best part about this test is that your cat’s genetic sample is held onto by the company. So, if new information is discovered about genetic conditions, your cat’s sample can be re-tested for it. This means you get updates if any new information becomes available.
All in all, we think this is the best cat DNA test of 2021.
2. Cat DNA Test Kit – Budget Option
Out of all the options out there, Cat DNA tests are probably one of the cheapest. This company is a cooperative effort by the Neogen Corporations and the Cat Fanciers’ Association, Inc. Neogen is one of the largest animal genetic testing corporations, so they know what they’re doing.
Their basic panel only costs $45. This test covers severe genetic conditions that are common in a variety of different cat breeds. It also tests for four appearance traits, which can help determine what potential kittens may look like. This test was mainly designed for breeders. However, it can be helpful for cat lovers and owners alike.
There are add-on tests as well that are pretty cheap. Add-on tests include things like color points, blood type, and polycystic kidney disease. All add-on tests are only $5 except for the Spinal Muscular Atrophy tests, which is $15. This add-on is specifically for Maine Coons.
The only problem with this test is that it doesn’t include any breed testing. In other words, it won’t let you know what breeds your cat is made up of. If this is the sort of information you’re looking for, then this isn’t the test for you. For breeders or those that care most about testing information, this is a reasonably suitable option.
3. Orivet HomeDNA Cat DNA Test – Premium Option
Orivet offers a variety of different DNA tests for cats. They have some tests that are specifically designed for specific breeds. If you know what breed your cat is, these tests can help you learn if your cat carries any of that breed’s common genetic diseases. You can also test for specific traits that certain breeds carry. This may help you determine what your cat’s kittens would look like. You can also get a whole breed profile, which tests all the diseases and traits common in that breed.
Even if you don’t know what breed your cat is, this company has something for you. You can screen your cat for various genetic conditions, which may let you know if they are carriers of a genetic disease. You can check for specific tests or do a complete screening. Individual tests cost about $50, while the comprehensive disease screen is $120. The complete genetic profile costs $165, including the Comprehensive Disease, Trait Screen, and DNA profile.
4. MyCatDNA Cat DNA Test Kit
MyCatDNA is another easy-to-use option for your feline. This company is run by Wisdom Panel, which also provides genetic testing for people. The genetic test includes information for 40 genetic diseases. These tests aren’t directly tested for, though, as most other tests provide. Instead, they report the likelihood of the disease based on the breed evaluation. The included health test list is exceptionally long, though.
They also test for over 20 traits, including things like colors and coat types. They do check for breed information as well. They continuously check breed information as they get new information. Therefore, their results are constantly getting more accurate. They are adding new information all the time as well. For instance, they just added blood typing at no extra cost to all users. They will likely add more in the future.
This test is currently priced at 99 Euros. This is about average when you compare it to other tests we’ve looked at.
5. Optimal Selection Cat DNA Test
Optimal Selection is highly similar to MyCatDNA. The same company runs it. It appears to be very similar to MyCatDNA in many cases. It could accurately be called the American version of MyCatDNA, which is based in the UK. However, it also seems to have fewer features than MyCatDNA.
It provides results for over 40 genetic diseases. However, it bases this genetic information on the breed that the cat comes back for. Certain diseases are more common for specific breeds. If a disease is more common in your cat’s breed, then they will rate your cat higher for that disease. This isn’t based on genetics, though. Other tests usually look for particular genetic markers. This test doesn’t do that. While it may look like it covers more diseases, it doesn’t do this by genetically testing them.
Their report also includes over 20 different traits. Most of these traits involve coat colors. This isn’t helpful for those who want to learn about their cats, though. However, it can be important for breeding if you’re looking to predict how your cat’s kittens might turn out.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Cat DNA Test
There are several things you should keep in mind when choosing a DNA test for your feline. DNA tests can seem a bit complicated. After all, DNA is complicated. But it is a lot simpler than you may first expect.
Testing a cat’s DNA is relatively new, so many of the tests on this list have only been around for a year or so. For this reason, many of their accuracies have not been thoroughly tested. New progress is being made all the time. Many of the companies regularly update what they test for as discoveries come out.
This section will look at some of these discoveries and discuss what DNA tests can check for. But first, let’s start with a few FAQs.
Are cat DNA tests accurate?
Sadly, not many tests have been run on these DNA tests. For this reason, we don’t know how accurate any of them are. Any studies done thus far have been minimal, which means their accuracy may not be significant. You can’t use many of these tests for accurate health testing for this reason. If you expect your cat has a specific genetic condition, you should reach out to your vet.
How much does it cost to DNA test a cat?
Usually, it costs around $120 to DNA test a cat. Some of them can be as expensive as $500, though. You don’t necessarily pay for what you get. Complete genome sequencing tends to be quite a bit more expensive than testing for specific traits. It just takes more time and works on the company’s part.
Most DNA tests are pretty affordable, though some are expensive. It mostly depends on what they’re testing for, as well as where the DNA tests are processed.
What Cat DNA Tests Check For?
Cat DNA tests check for all sorts of different things. Some will check for the cat’s breed, which makes them more useful for mixed-breed felines. However, others don’t work for other breeds at all. You have to know the breed of your cat for these tests to work correctly. What test you choose matters, of course.
Many will also check for test information. This information can range from a few genetic conditions to dozens and dozens. Some are more accurate than others when checking for these genetic conditions.
Some are more accurate than others. They shouldn’t diagnose genetic conditions, but this health information can be helpful for breeders. Some may also check for the amount of inbreeding present in particular cats, which is particularly useful for breeders.
Certain traits can be tested for as well. These usually include appearance traits, which may be helpful if you’re trying to breed and predict what the kittens look like.
How Do You Collect a Sample for a DNA Test?
Usually, DNA tests for cats use either a swab or saliva. To collect these, you must collect a sample from inside your cat’s cheeks and gums with a sterilized swab. You cannot collect this right after your cat eats, as this can cause contamination.
Some require loose fur instead. Usually, the company provides a piece of tape that you place onto your cat’s fur. You press down and pull it off. This does not harm your cat. Often, the cat doesn’t even know it is going on.
The swab is a bit more challenging to collect. However, if you cuddle up to your cat and pet them, you can usually stick the swab in their mouth for a second without them struggling too much. You need it in there for a second, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Neither collection method is painful or particularly stressful for your cat. Often, the cat won’t even pay any attention.
Why Is My Cat’s Breed Important?
You may seek to learn your cat’s breed for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, the breed may give you an idea about how your cat will act. Certain breeds are more likely to be cuddly than others, while other breeds are particularly active. This may give you some insight into your cat’s personality, though you may already know plenty about your cat’s personality.
Your cat’s breed may also impact your cat’s health insurance. This isn’t always the case, though, as this practice is more common in dogs than cats. It depends on the company you’re using.
For most pet owners, the best DNA test out there is likely Basepaws. This includes breed testing, is affordable, and has the most helpful cat owners’ information. It may also be helpful for breeders. However, this isn’t necessarily always true.
If you’re looking for an extremely cheap option, you may also consider Cat DNA Tests. This DNA test is costly, but it also includes information the average cat owner would likely find helpful.
- A Quick Comparison (updated in 2023)
- The 5 Best Cat DNA Tests
- Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Cat DNA Test