We want to know as much about our mystifying feline family members as possible. Unfortunately, most owners don’t know much about their cat’s backgrounds. But thanks to recent scientific advances, we can learn more about our kitties than ever before.
Getting your cat’s DNA analyzed can give you a better picture of who your cat is based on his heritage. The best cat DNA tests can tell you which breeds make up your unique purr baby, which genetic health conditions he’s at risk of developing, why your kitty looks the way he does, and much more.
We’ve done extensive research into the most accurate at-home cat DNA tests you can find on the market today. See which kits we recommend and why — and details about what you can learn from each test.
Best Cat DNA Tests At A Glance
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How Do Cat DNA Tests Work?
At-home cat DNA tests are a simple, non-invasive process. The only challenging part is getting your squirmy furball to cooperate with a mouth swab. We recommend enticing him with a toy or the promise of a treat. But make sure you hold off on the treat until after you swab. In general, cats shouldn’t eat or drink for at least an hour before you take their sample. Your kit’s instructions will give you the detailed information you need to get an ideal sample.
- Order a DNA testing kit online.
- Once it arrives, register your kit on the company’s website with your unique code.
- Carefully follow the instructions and swab your kitty’s cheek with the included cotton swab.
- Mail your cat’s DNA sample to the laboratory and wait for the results (most kits include a postage-paid return envelope).
- You’ll receive an email with a link to your test results.
- Share any health results with your veterinarian.
- Check your results periodically. As cat DNA research evolves and breed databases expand, the latest discoveries could enhance your results.
What Does A Cat DNA Test Tell You?
At-home cat DNA tests are a fun way for you and your family to discover more about your fur baby, but each test is different. That’s why it’s important to understand exactly what the test you’re considering screens for. For example, most include genetic health screening, but only some include breed information. Here’s a breakdown of the types of information you can learn from various cat DNA tests.
Some companies give you your cat’s breed makeup broken down by percentage. For example, results could show your kitty is 50% American Domestic, 15% Ragdoll, 10% Russian Blue, etc. They determine these breed profiles by analyzing your cat’s genome and comparing it to the genomes of the cat breeds and breed combinations in their database. Therefore, the accuracy of a breed profile depends on how extensive each company’s database is.
How many recognized cat breeds are there? It depends on which organization you ask. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) only recognizes 45 pedigreed breeds, as well as non-pedigreed companion cats, while the International Cat Association (TICA) recognizes 73 cat breeds. These numbers periodically rise as new breeds are developed.
Genetic Health Risks
Cat DNA tests can tell you if your kitty has inherited certain known genetic mutations that could cause congenital defects that are present at birth or could increase your cat’s risk of developing a specific disease during his lifetime. Results can also tell you if your cat is a carrier of a certain mutation, which is helpful for breeders. With most companies, you can find a list of inherited conditions they screen for on their website.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that just because your kitty’s results show a higher risk for a disease, it doesn’t necessarily mean your cat will develop the disease. But this information is helpful for you and your vet to keep an eye out for symptoms early on, as well as implement any diet or lifestyle changes as a proactive measure.
Inherited Physical Traits
Some known genetic markers contribute to our cats’ appearance, and a cat DNA test can be a fun way to discover why your cat looks the way he does. Tests can screen for such inherited physical traits as coat color and pattern, coat length and texture, tail length, and even the number of toes.
Best Cat DNA Tests
We’ve researched all of the at-home cat DNA tests currently available and give your our top picks. We base these on each company’s reputation, the type of information you can learn, the accuracy of results, the level of detail you get with results, customer service, consumer feedback, pricing, and more.
Most Comprehensive Test
Basepaws Breed + Health Test
- Percentage breakdown for 21 breeds.
- Genetic screening for 43 diseases & 25 traits.
- Screens for signs of active dental disease.
- Get extremely detailed results in 4-6 weeks.
- Free breed updates for life.
Basepaws’ Breed + Health DNA kit is a four-in-one screening test with amazingly detailed results. You can discover your kitty’s breed profile, risks for 43 genetic conditions, oral health, blood type, and inherited traits. Unique to Basepaws is their screening for active dental disease. You get your cat’s risk scores for having three of the most common dental conditions.
One noteworthy limitation of this test, though, is that the breed profile isn’t nearly as extensive as Wisdom Panel’s test (see our review below). Basepaws currently only has 21 pedigree breeds in their database, which they compare to your kitty’s DNA, while Wisdom Panel has over 70. However, you’ll have access to free breed profile updates as Basepaws adds new breeds to their screening panel.
What 21 breeds Basepaws tests for:
Basepaws’ report breaks down your cat’s breed into four sub-categories ranking from highest to lowest with your cat belonging to one dominant category.
|Abyssinian||Burmese||British Shorthair||Bengal (Asian leopard x domestic)|
|American Shorthair||Birman||Himalayan||Savannah (serval x domestic)|
|Maine Coon||Oriental Shorthair||Exotic Shorthair||Egyptian Mau|
|Norwegian Forest Cat||Peterbald||Persian|
|Siberian Forest Cat|
We love that Basepaws donates a portion of sales to animal rescue organizations and shelters. Basepaws is also committed to furthering feline genetic research through partnerships with veterinary colleges and clinics around the U.S. You can even sign your cat up to provide a swab for specific research projects if he qualifies. Basepaws also offers a Whole Genome Sequencing Test and a separate Oral Health Test, both for cats.
Basepaws Promo Code
Basepaws is having a Black Friday Sale: Get $70 off on Cat DNA tests with the discount code FRIDAY at checkout. Use this link to get started.
Best For Breed Profile
Wisdom Panel Complete For Cats
- Percentage breakdown for 70 breeds.
- Genetic screening for 45 diseases & 25 traits.
- Genetic diversity analysis for breeders.
- Free phone consultation with licensed vet.
- Get results in 3 weeks.
If you want the most accurate breed breakdown of your purr baby, Wisdom Panel’s Complete for Cats DNA test is the kit for you. Wisdom Panel has tested over three million cats, and their database contains more than 70 breeds and populations. Results include a breed makeup down to 1% and genetic diversity. But that’s not all you can learn with this test.
Results can also tell you your cat’s blood type, whether he’s at risk for 45 genetic health conditions, and which physical traits he’s inherited. However, the results aren’t quite as detailed as Basepaws’ report. Still, you do get a free phone consult with one of Wisdom Panel’s licensed vets, and the turnaround time for results is faster. Wisdom Panel also offers several different dog DNA tests and has an excellent reputation in the industry.
Not only does the company have charitable partnerships with animal rights groups, but Wisdom Panel scientists are also leading the field in new cat genetic discoveries. In the recently published largest DNA-based study of domestic cats to date, researchers genotyped more than 11,000 domestic cats and identified 13 previously undocumented disease-causing variants in 47 breeds and three variants unique to non purebred cats.
Best For Genetic Disease Screening
EasyDNA CatCheck Genetic Disease Test
EasyDNA’s CatCheck Genetic Disease Test screens for 54 genetic disorders — more than any other at-home cat DNA test we’ve seen. So if your main reason for testing your kitty is to learn about his health risks, you may want to consider this kit over Basepaws or Wisdom Panel. Just keep in mind that you don’t get a breed profile with this test, and the results aren’t very detailed. However, you can still learn about some of your cat’s inherited physical traits and blood type. And you can discuss any concerning health results with your vet.
Although lesser known than Basepaws and Wisdom Panel, EasyDNA has been in business for over 10 years and works with highly accredited laboratories. EasyDNA also offers a wide variety of human DNA test kits and DNA tests for dogs, horses, and even birds. If your kitty suffers from digestive issues or skin irritations, you may want to check out EasyDNA’s Cat Intolerance (Allergy) Test. This at-home kit may help identify any food or environmental allergens that are causing your cat’s problems.
Other Notable Options
Basepaws Oral Health Test For Cats
- Screens for signs of the 3 most common dental conditions.
- Personalized advice on improving your cat’s dental health.
- Can help you avoid future serious health problems.
- Budget-friendly test.
- Get detailed results in 4-6 weeks.
Between 50 and 90% of cats older than four years of age suffer from some form of feline dental disease. Left untreated, poor dental health can become quite painful and contribute to serious diseases, such as periodontal disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, heart problems, and more. This unique at-home DNA test can help catch early dental problems with your kitty before it’s too late.
Although the Basepaws Breed + Health Test (see review above) contains oral health screening, you can purchase this less expensive Oral Health Test separately if your fur baby’s dental health is your main concern. This test looks for microbial signatures associated with three of the most common dental conditions in cats, periodontal disease, tooth resorption, and halitosis (bad breath).
Results tell you if your cat is a high, medium, or low risk for each condition. You also get actionable recommendations on how to improve your kitty’s dental health, as well as the top five plant or animal organisms whose trace DNA they found in your cat’s mouth. This can be helpful for kitties who go outdoors. Results are extremely detailed and can help you avoid expensive vet bills down the road.
Optimal Selection (By Wisdom Panel)
Optimal Selection By Wisdom Panel is a budget-friendly option if you want to know your kitty’s risk for the most common genetic feline health conditions. This test kit screens your cat’s DNA for more than 40 health risks and over 20 inherited physical traits.
You can also learn about your fur baby’s genetic diversity and blood type. You can count on the science behind this test, but it’s limited compared to other tests we review here. If you’re looking for a breed profile, this isn’t the test for you.
Orivet Cat DNA Health Screen
This Orivet cat DNA test is another more affordable option if you’re primarily concerned about your kitty’s inherited health risks. It screens for more than 40 genetic diseases and traits and identifies your cat’s blood type, but you won’t get any breed information. You do get a customized life plan based on your cat’s breed, age, weight, gender, and lifestyle.
Orivet also offers a variety of dog DNA test kits and full cat breed profile tests for pedigree breeders. Orivet has been providing DNA testing for breeders, owners, and veterinarians for more than 10 years, so they’re a well-established company. This specific test, however, is limited compared to the others we review here.
Are Cat DNA Tests Accurate?
Overall, DNA testing for cats, dogs, and even humans isn’t nearly 100% accurate yet. While genetic research has made amazing progress over the last decade for many species, it’s an evolving process. The level of accuracy also depends on how extensive a company’s database of genetic markers is, particularly for breed information. Look for companies that continually update their databases.
Have You Considered Pet Insurance?
If the main reason you’re considering a feline DNA test is to learn about possible health risks down the road, you may want to look into pet insurance for your kitty. Cat health insurance can help you provide the best care possible without having to worry about enormous vet bills when unexpected illnesses or accidents occur. Learn more about how cat insurance works, what it covers, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much do cat DNA tests cost?
At-home cat DNA tests can cost anywhere from $40 for a basic DNA profile to $500 for whole genome sequencing. The kits we review here range from roughly $100 to $160.
Will a cat DNA test tell me if my cat is purebred?
Cat DNA tests from Wisdom Panel or Basepaws could indicate that your cat is 100% of a certain breed, but it’s not an official confirmation that your cat is purebred. To legitimately call your cat a purebred, his pedigree must be certified by an official registry, like the CFA.
Can I find my cat’s relatives through a DNA test?
Unfortunately, no cat DNA test includes a relative finder like you can find with some dog DNA tests, like Embark and Wisdom Panel‘s dog DNA tests. Why? At-home cat DNA testing is a lot newer than dog DNA testing, so the databases aren’t large enough yet to offer this feature. But we’ll see what the future holds.
At-home cat DNA tests are a fun way to learn more about your kitty’s curious heritage. And they can offer important insights into the future of your fur baby’s health. We hope we’ve given the details you need to choose the best test for the information you’re seeking. Keep in mind cat DNA tests are still evolving as genetic research progresses. And make sure you pay attention to what each test can reveal if you’re looking for different types of results.