Is your cat really a purebred Persian? Or is he more of a Maine Coon mix? Thanks to the University of California’s cat ancestry test, you can now find out.
The Feline Genetics Laboratory’s Cat Ancestry test uses a DNA sample from your cat to determine if your pet’s parents or grandparents belong to one of 29 “major fancy cat breeds.”
Once DNA is isolated from the cotton swab, the lab tests for specific nucleotide polymorphisms and generates a profile. This profile is compared to a database of global cat profiles to see which geographical origin of cat it shares the most variants with.
There are eight racial populations of origin, but most cat breeds can be traced back to Western Europe, South Asia, Egypt or the Eastern Mediterranean.
Dr. Leslie Lyons created the database by collecting DNA samples from cats worldwide at shows held by the Cat Fanciers’ Association and the International Cat Association.
Next, the lab compares the DNA markers that determine the feline’s appearance — such as fur color and length — to 29 breeds. Although there are about 60 different cat breeds, there are 29 that are the most common in the U.S.
The resulting lineage profile is more than 90 percent accurate; however the lab’s website states that “a true random bred cat will not match to specific breeds and low match probabilities will not be reported.”
Because of the large number of feral cat populations across the globe, most cats are randomly bred and are not actually a mix of different breeds.
However, if a breed relationship is present, cat owners can find out what diseases their cats are at risk for. Plus, Cat Ancestry can determine the genetics of the feline’s fur and detail which variants the animal carries as recessive genes.
The genome test costs $120 and can be ordered online. Allow 10 to 15 days for results.