When we heard about Basepaws and the cat DNA test called Catkit, our tech antenna started buzzing with interest. This isn’t simply a quick turnaround DNA test with a few insights, it is much more and its potential impact on cat health worldwide will be considerable.

DashKitten.com received a complimentary Basepaws Catkit DNA Testing Set for review. We only share news and products we feel are relevant to our readers, because you matter to us. The opinions here are 100% our own and we are responsible for the content of this post. We also have a special offer for readers on the CatKit – see below. [Affiliate link].

Basepaws Cat Genetics envelope

The goal of Basepaws? Exploration, discovery, and help for cats worldwide.

What is DNA?

First. For those who don’t know much DNA and science. Here’s a super fast and easy science lesson!

The following definitions will give you a basic understanding of what genetics is. These words will appear in any online discussion or written report on genetics. You don’t have to know the fine print or the complex details. These terms apply to cats as well as the popular human genetic tests you see may see advertised.

1. Genome This is the complete set of genes or genetic material present in a cell or organism. You are made up of cells so, if you are a cat, you are a lot of cat DNA!

2. DNA (de-oxy-ribo-nucleic acid) “This is a long molecule that contains each of our cat’s (and humans) unique genetic code. Like a recipe, it holds the instructions for making all the proteins in our bodies” – YG

DNA is your own cat code book

The cat DNA test Catkit uses the order, known as the sequence, of the DNA to read your cat’s personal genetic make up. Cats carry their history, coat colour, eye colour and millions of other variables in their genes. It is all wrapped up in Adenine: Thymine, Cytosine and Guanine (if you really want to know).

Cat DNA Kit Image

The Cat DNA Test

What you need to do to collect your cat’s DNA

The cat DNA test instructions are clear and detailed in the pdf here. Please read the instructions carefully before you start. This way you know exactly what you need to do.

The CatKit:

  • 1 swab
    iSWAB sample collection device
    Plastic “biohazard” bag with absorbent pad
    “Exempt Animal Specimen” label
    Outer box to mail sample
    2 adhesive strips on a folded card

After you have followed the procedure to get the fur and oral sample (I told you to read the instructions!) you send off your cat DNA test in the envelope provided.  The waiting time depends on how many kits are being processed at any time. Shipping is free within the USA and costs should be very modest for the rest of the world as the posted item is lightweight and small.

What Happens When Your Catkit Arrives at Basepaws?

The tech staff at Basepaws record the information in your cat DNA test. You receive a printed report, and your DNA profile is kept on the database. When new developments and discoveries occur in feline genetics – you will be updated.

Your DNA is compared with the other cat results stored on the computer.  99% of the sequences will be similar to every other cat. It is the differences that make your cat unique that will stand out.

• PRO TIP Early adopters of the DNA test kit get in on the ground floor and receive permanent free updates.

So that you get an idea of the scale of DNA reading and interpretation, the first human genome took years and millions of dollars to sequence. Basepaws knows we don’t have a million dollars so they sequence a selection of 27,000,000,000 nucleotides. For tech folks, these nucleotides form the basic structural unit of the nucleic acids in DNA. A report is then generated and sent to you.

Thanks to the Morris Animal Foundation and a recent article on transcriptomics, we have also been able to add an interesting link that gives you insights into the finer details of how genes are read. When genes are read these readouts are called ‘transcripts’, hence the art of ‘transcriptomics’.

Researchers study the transcriptomes of cells as a way to gain insight into how genes function and what their expression means for a cell’s ability to do its job under normal conditions.”

You Get Your Catkit Results Back. What Do They Say?

There will be plenty for you to review in the Report but, rest assured, it will be non-technical and easy to read.

  • You receive health and wellness assessments
  • There will be care tips from genetically similar cats
  • You can have a report sent to your vet if you wish
  • You join the database and share the discoveries made and how these relates to your cat’s health

The Report has a light hearted side too. After all cats love to have fun!

  • Wild cat ancestry index. How close are we to our wild ancestors? Tiger genes anyone?
  • Predicted weight
  • Cat Traits
  • Catnip response – are you an addict?

The ancestry information will provide a few ‘heads up’ indicators.

  • Possible In-breeding
  • Information for those hoping to trace a maternal or paternal line
  • Family tree with a percentage of breeds

The core of the DNA Report is its health information. It will show simple disease markers including:

  • Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
  • Comparative Markers
  • Complex Disease Markers

It is important to remember that an indication of the presence of an unusual gene does not mean cats have or will get a specific condition. It means they may be more prone to it. As the Basepaws genetic base grows and more discoveries are made, our cat knowledge increases and cats and owners will be informed of changes and developments relevant to their cat family.

Special Note: Basepaws have a separate research section for cats with specific conditions. Kits are free for cats who meet very specific criteria. At the moment, IBS, Asthma, or other genetic diseases are under examination. Please check at the link if you believe you may qualify.

To maintain clinical accuracy, veterinary records are part of the submission requirements for applicants. This project is available thanks to grants from committed cat enthusiasts and small companies.

Who are Basepaws?

Let us introduce you to Basepaws. They are a cat DNA testing company aiming to make a real difference. Not only do they want to help humans understand cats better, they dream bigger. Much bigger. They intend to collate millions of cat DNA samples world wide and invest in the science that will help make cat lives better.

This is not a fancy corporate ‘mission statement’. Without going into lots of ‘ifs….‘ and ‘what happens….‘ scenarios relating to science: as its genetic database grows, Basepaws can help discover what triggers certain conditions. They aim to help uncover why some cats are resistant to illness while others are not. How things like FIP can be made a thing of the past. Or at least how we can fight back from a position of much greater strength

Basepaws are cat people on a mission, and you can meet a lot of the staff here. Every one is a cat lover and many have their own cats at home. They don’t just process kitty DNA and send it back to you with ‘what is there right now’. Basepaws cares about cats and wants to use science to make an impact on feline futures.

Cat Genetics Made Simple (sort of!)

Plenty of people will see the words ‘DNA’, and ‘science‘ and get ready to run but let’s make one thing clear. This is not scary science. We have discovered that this simple home DNA test could transform the lives of cats worldwide. The impact could be far beyond the first personal cat DNA kit report you receive from Basepaws.

We know that for many people cat genetics used to mean cat coat patterns, or cat ancestry. A breeder will select a cat with a beautiful coat to help produce more kittens of a similar type. BUT, and it is a big but, there is so much more to cat genetics than coat colour. For many of us, approachable science is mainstream because of the excitement of headliners like Cassini, the NASA Mars landers, and John Hopkins DNA research to catch human cancers earlier.

Here’s something you might not know about most cat and dog DNA tests

They only screen for a limited number of different traits and/or diseases. We confess this struck us as being slightly scary. What if you get bad news – right? Basepaws does not ‘cherry pick’ your DNA for the best/worst news. The one thing we found both amazing and reassuring was that Basepaws sequences every single thing and, if something that is discovered from their extensive research that relates to your report – they will let you know.

  • One day there will be a name, a definition and a function for each piece of the genetic puzzle. Every single gene is recorded by Basepaws, even the ones science doesn’t have a name or function for yet! They are ready for science reveals more of its secrets.

Catkit Cost and Updates

The cost of the Catkit (includes collection materials, reports, and report updates) is $75 plus free USA shipping or a modest flat rate for international orders. You can pay via credit car or Paypal.

Special CatKit offer to DashKitten readers: You will receive $25 off your Catkit with you use the coupon code ‘dashkitten

IMPORTANT: Basepaws doesn’t just use the cat test to give you a breakdown of your cats’ sequenced DNA, discuss a bit of cat ancestry, and then walk away. They will keep you informed as more is discovered about cat genetics. This is a key part of the process and one you should value. As an early adopted you are definitely getting value for money. Early adopters currently have free access to updates forever. (n future there may be a charge.

The Dash Kitten CatKit Results

As the cat DNA test data takes some time to process, we do not have our own kit’s data available yet. We intend to do a full report to follow up on our test results early in 2018 so look out for that.

Mum says we are part panther, although Sienna  our Tortie, disagrees and wants a dash of Lynx in the mix! What would you like to see in your kitty DNA?

Marjorie Dawson and
Silver Kitten
Cat DNA Test Researchers

Dash Kitten Silver Kitten the Business Cat

Further Reading on DNA and Genetics

The Cat Fancy Association has a long list of tips and explanations about feline genetics as it refers to cat and kitten coats. This is worth a look if you are primarily interested in how kittens get their colouring. Note: Basepaws and the CatKit goes into much greater depth than the cat coat conundrum!

Genetics is a complex subject but Berkley.edu has a page as part of one of its courses. This covers the more technical side of cat genetics and coat colour. It is an interesting read for those with a little science background.

The Winn Foundation has a short technical piece from 2010 that gives an idea of the complexity of genetics relating specifically to FIP.  It also gives an idea of the impact positive genetic research could have on cat health. Your cat DNA test can do good.

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26 Comments

  1. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey

    April 2, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    Great post. I’d like to learn more about my rescue, Jazmine. She’s such a fascinating kitty and it would be fun to know more about what makes her tick! Purrs from the Zee/Zoey gang.

    Reply

  2. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Ellen Pilch

    February 18, 2018 at 2:39 am

    That is really cool, I hope to be able to do it someday for my cats.

    Reply

  3. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Meezer's Mews & Terrieristical Woofs

    January 13, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    That is truly interesting!
    I wonder if they are doing anything like that for dogs, too?

    Reply

  4. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Fr. Tom and Friends

    January 4, 2018 at 5:30 am

    So impressed with the commitment these people have made for the betterment of cats! We’ll be wait-and-see for now. Our Tom is happy what he knows. – Julie and kitties

    Reply

  5. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Toki Castro-Tover

    December 29, 2017 at 6:14 am

    This is fascinating! I have 4 indoor only cats all over 11 years old… Would be cool and I’m super curious to know their results and yours. I think this would really help now that they are getting older. Thanks for the intro into this 🙂

    Reply

  6. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Marv's Mom

    December 23, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Back in our 2nd year of blogging (The Cat From Hell) we were contacted by a PHD vet student who was studying Siamese Cats (and their Genetics) we were asked if we would participate (the researcher followed Nellie’s Blog) and we said yes. We had a very extensive 25 page questionnaire to fill out (answering questions about her “quirks”, other habits, preferred foods, etc) and we sent of a genetic testing kit. We were really happy to participate in this and it was an eye opening experience!
    I am quite interested in your results!
    Love Barb

    Reply

  7. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    paroma Chakravarty

    December 22, 2017 at 8:16 am

    As a scientist in biotech, I loved reading this post. Since Babu is a mutt, might get a dog DNA test kit for him as well to check his ancestry!

    Reply

  8. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Amelia Johnson

    December 22, 2017 at 6:24 am

    I can see where this testing would be of value to cat breeders who want to be very careful about the genetic health of their cats and kittens. The FIP research is interesting too.

    Reply

  9. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Lori Hilliard

    December 21, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    I had no idea that there was a company using cat DNA test results to track any sort of genetic illnesses for research purposes! This could improve breeds, help researchers find better ways of dealing with and preventing feline illnesses and so much more. I’m impressed by the many possibilities with the Basepaws DNA test kit.

    Reply

  10. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Tenacious Little Terrier

    December 21, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    I didn’t know they did DNA tests for cats. Mr. N did one for dogs and the results were interesting. I’m glad they’re doing more research on genetic diseases!

    Reply

  11. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Sweet Purrfections

    December 21, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    We’ve read about the DNA kits for dogs, but didn’t realize there was one for cats! Even though we have the paper work of our ancestry, we’d love to check out our DNA.

    Reply

  12. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Allison

    December 21, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    I had no idea that one could do a DNA Cat Test! Like some others here, we’re not in the financial situation right now to afford one. I’ll be interested though to hear what results you get and how that helps you. Maybe someday we’ll try one too!

    Reply

  13. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Jill - CharityPaws

    December 21, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Ok this is pretty neat and what a great in depth review. I cannot wait to see the update on the results when you get them!

    Reply

  14. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Amy Shojai, CABC

    December 21, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    This is such a great article–not just a review, but terrific info that all cat folks should know. I hope you’ll enter this in the CWA contest *hint hint* and thanks for shining a light on kitty DNA and how the science helps cat health.

    Reply

  15. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Katie

    December 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    This is very interesting! We’ve considered getting a DNA test for our dogs to try to establish what breeds they are (both are mixed), but haven’t gotten around to purchasing one yet.

    Reply

  16. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Ruth Epstein

    December 21, 2017 at 9:22 am

    This sounds really interesting and the more I read about DNA testing for animals the more I am intrigued and maybe in the New Year I will break down and do one on Madam although she always will be a HaShiPoo to me LOL. Thanks for this great post

    Reply

  17. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    The Swiss Cats

    December 21, 2017 at 9:00 am

    That sounds very interesting ! We’re looking forward to know more about your DNA ! Purrs

    Reply

  18. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Erin the Cat, Princess

    December 21, 2017 at 7:31 am

    This is awesome. Great review and lots of possible future benefits from this test that I doubt any others are offering…. I hope mine will come back with me having some extra special ancestry, maybe related to Captain Jack Sparrow in there MOL

    Reply

  19. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Brian Frum

    December 21, 2017 at 6:49 am

    That does sound interesting and very thorough too and he price isn’t bad at all!

    Reply

    • Avatar for Silver Kitten

      Dash Kitten

      December 21, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Especially as you get permanent updates from Basepaws!

      Reply

  20. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    The Daily Pip

    December 21, 2017 at 4:17 am

    Very interesting. I would like to try this with both Ruby and Rosie. Nice that it includes some fun stuff with the serious health information. Wild cat ancestry index – would love to see that!

    I have always read that black cats are related to Siamese cats – and have always been curious if Rosie has a bit of Siamese in her background because of the sound of her meow.

    Reply

  21. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Beth

    December 21, 2017 at 4:07 am

    I’m glad to see that they are making a DNA test for cats. My sister did one on her dog and it was really interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of your cat’s test.

    Reply

  22. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    The Island Cats

    December 21, 2017 at 3:49 am

    How interesting! We’ve seen these for dogs, so it just follows that there would be one for cats as well. We look forward to seeing your results.

    Reply

  23. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Michelle & The Paw Pack

    December 21, 2017 at 2:46 am

    I’ve heard of DNA kits for dogs, but didn’t know there were any available for cats. How cool! Both my dogs are purebred (I don’t have any cats), but I’ve considered doing a DNA test just because I’m curious what it would say haha. Plus I know some of them claim to be able to predict potential future health issues which I think could be really helpful to know about.

    Reply

  24. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    Summer

    December 20, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    This sounds really interesting!

    Reply

  25. Avatar for Silver Kitten

    meowmeowmans

    December 20, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    That’s so cool! We’re watching our wallets right now, so we’ll just live vicariously through YOUR results! 🙂

    Reply

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