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Discover Your Cat's Genetic Makeup With Basepaws

May 24, 2018 · Updated May 24, 2018 · ·
  1. Anne
    Have you ever looked at your cat wondering if there's some cat breed in her or his lineage? With most of our cats, we have no clue as to their genetic origins.

    But that's changing fast. You can now find out more about your cat's genetic heritage with a simple test that requires nothing more than a few of Kitty's hairs! We're going to talk today about how to do just that - and help promote scientific research into cat health too!

    But there's more:
    We're giving away TWO FREE Basepaws!genetic testing Catkits!!

    You can hop over to the giveaway here or keep on reading to learn more about this unique product.

    Edit: We have our two winners!
    Congratulations @M00nshad0w and @RiparianTraced ! :clap: I will be in touch soon to get your Basepaws kits out to you.

    If you didn't win, don't worry. Basepaws has generously created a special coupon for TheCatSite offering you a $20 discount on their kits!

    How can genetic testing help my cat?

    The science of genetics is moving forward in leaps and bounds. And now genetic testing is becoming available for cats too - more accessible and affordable than ever.

    Want to learn more? We did too, so we talked to Anna Skaya, CEO of Basepaws, a leader in the field of genetic testing for cats. Here's our interview with Anna -

    Anna Skaya - CEO of Basepaws
    Hi Anna, would you tell us a little bit about yourself, your connection with cats and the cats in your life.

    My name is Anna Skaya and I am the founder and CEO of the cat genetics company Basepaws. My connection with cats, and really all pets goes back to when I was a kid.
    My father is an entomologist and my mother is a biologist. Naturally, I grew up with animals, and cats have always been my favorite. They're independent, sassy and smart.

    Growing up in Europe, I've had cats living in and out of my home, sleeping in my bed, sharing my toys and eating my food since I can remember.

    How did Basepaws come to be? What made you think of the idea and how did you launch the company?

    Basepaws came to be two years ago. The idea was actually born because of the recent boom in personalized medicine and DNA testing. Everyone seemed to be doing DNA tests, but the companion animal space was lagging behind.

    I did my DNA test all the way back in 2011 and I was blown away by the information available to me. When we started with the idea for Basepaws, we couldn’t believe there wasn’t a cat product in the market yet. I remember thinking that there must be a lot more applications for these powerful tools beyond humans.

    In a way, DNA testing of pets is even more important than it is for us humans. We understand our own selves. We can speak, we can run tests. Our pets cannot. They can’t tell us who they are, what they’ve been through, and what hurts them. Sometimes I find myself closer to my pets than to my humans and I want to know them even better.

    How does Basepaws work? What steps are needed to analyze a cat’s DNA?

    Basepaws works very simply. The entire process can be broken down in 3 simple steps.

    1. Ordering the kit. The cat owners buy the Catkit from our website and we send it to them right away. The small kit we send is meant to help customers collect their cat’s DNA.

    2. Sampling the DNA. We use a very unique and non-invasive method of sampling the fur and extracting and isolating the DNA from the hair follicles.

      With our kits we send two pieces of adhesive. The tapes are used for sampling the fur directly from the cat. This does not hurt the cats. They have so much hair, the little bit that comes off with the tape won’t feel like anything to them. We did try out different types of sampling methods and the hair follicles work the best.

      Initially, we actually collected saliva samples. The kits contained swabs which the customers were instructed to use for sampling a little bit of saliva from the inside of the cat’s cheeks. Unfortunately, these samples didn’t turn out to be the best because they were highly contaminated with bacteria and difficult to separate feline DNA from the bacteria DNA. This is why we decided to opt for a unique method of extracting the DNA from the hair follicles instead. Saliva sampling is now only used for hairless cats.

    3. Sending the kit back to us. The customers then send these samples back to us and wait for results. We process the DNA and deliver the reports as soon as we can. The waiting period for now is from 2 to 6 months, but we are working hard to reduce it to a minimum - the long term goal will be to deliver the results in 6-8 weeks.
    This is what the process looks like -

    Can you tell us a little bit about the “behind the scenes” of the process? What do you do with the samples that cat owners send you?

    In the Basepaws lab
    We process all the DNA samples in our own lab based in Los Angeles. This is because we really want to understand how to continue to make our protocols and systems better with each sample we receive.

    When we get the hair sample in lab, we run it through numerous steps of processing. First, the DNA needs to be correctly extracted from the follicles. Afterwards we clean the sample, amplify it and sequence it. Sequencing machines read and record the order of nucleotide bases along the DNA sample. We then run the sequenced sample through our database and compare it to the thousands of cats’ DNA sequences archived in it. Based on this comparison, we can then report the sample to various things such as breed and wildcat indexes.

    What kind of information can you provide about a cat based on the genetic analysis?

    Genetic analysis allows an insight into so many different things. Right now, our report consists of breed and wildcat indexes. The report will be expanded shortly though and all the early clients will be updated for free. Within this and the following year we are planning to introduce Health, Traits and Wellness segments to the CatKit.

    The upcoming Health index will help discover cat's genetics influences to their risk for certain health conditions, or if their DNA is carrying a genetic disorder. We’re planning to cover seven health markers: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, polycystic kidney disease, factor XII deficiency, hemophilia B, hypothyroidism and polydactyly.

    Can you share with us stories of customers that found out something about their cat’s health that helped them take better care of him or her?

    We are just about to launch the health part of our reports. So far customers have mostly learned about the breeds only. Breed markers are a very important part of our report though and we’re the only company who does this. Even if a cat is not a purebred, if you find out it’s highly related to a certain breed it could help your veterinarian anticipate your cat’s future health needs.

    While at the topic of stories, one of our important goals is to build a wonderful, friendly and cat-loving community for all the members joining our growing Basepaws family. We strive to connect to all of our customer and their cats. We want to hear their stories, we want to engage with their cats and, ultimately, we want to connect them with each other.

    How wonderful would it be to connect two cat owners from two different sides of the world who have genetically very similar cats? Hearing what other people are doing can be very beneficial for expanding the valuable knowledge of caring for our cats. We hope to create an ambient in which the cat owners will be able to interact and learn in a new and exciting way.

    Many of our members are wondering about their cat’s breed. What can your test tell owners about the genetic heritage of their cats?

    We run the sequenced DNA through the database and calculate how closely RELATED the cats are to select cat breeds and wildcats. It is interesting, but also super important to learn the ancestry of the cats, as most cats are adopted and we don’t know very much about them.
    However, learning the breed from the DNA is actually not that easy. Most cat breeds have been around for only less than 100 years. Out of the hundreds of millions of cats on Earth, most of them do not have any purebred ancestors because “purebred cats” are a human invention. This makes it very challenging to actually find the breeds in the DNA.

    We developed a genetic test that tells which cat breeds are most genetically similar to the tested cat. For all the thousands of locations along your cat’s DNA that can be similar or different in other cats, we record how many similarities your cat shares with different purebred cats. Then we use this value to determine how similar your cat’s DNA is to each breed in our database. We have actually written a very cool blog about this where we went into a much greater detail about the feline ancestry.

    Our customers are also enjoying wildcat index segment very much too. As we explain in our blog about the evolution of wild and domestic cats, your cat is more related to some species of wild cats than others.

    On an individual basis, your cat will have slightly more or less than 95.6% of their DNA in common with a specific wildcat. This individual metric is based on random inheritance from your cat’s ancestors. The same type of random inheritance is also true for humans and is the reason why one sibling might look much more like a great grandparent than the other sibling.

    Can your verify the breed of a cat that appears to be of a certain breed but has no papers?

    No. Not yet. Again, we need a bigger database and more knowledge in order to gain this kind of power. Cat breeders still know a lot better about purebred cats through papers and documents than us. This is why this still remains with them.

    Pretty neat, isn't it?

    And now let's talk about the giveaway!

    The Basepaws Giveaway!

    Basepaws is offering TheCatSite members the chance to win a Catkit! Here's what you need to do to enter the draw -

    Add a comment to this article to let us know what breed your cat resembles the most and if you'd like to test him/her to see if that breed shows up in their genetic analysis.

    The rules -
    • Add the word ENTRY anywhere in your comment.
    • You can add one comment per cat you'd like to test.
    • You can add one entry comments per day. A total of 14 comments - if you have 14 cats or more!
    • This giveaway is open to members of TheCatSite only.
    • You must be 18 or over to participate in this giveaway.
    • The kits can be shipped (and returned from) the US or Canada only. If you win, you'll have to provide us with a US/CA address.
    This giveaway will run for 14 days. Last date for entries is June 7, 2018.
    We'll run a draw to select TWO lucky winners who will receive the Basepaws Catkit!

    This is a sponsored post. Please support TCS sponsors by visiting their site and consider buying from them - thank you!

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  1. tarasgirl06
    ConCATulations, winners -- and be sure to tell us all about your cats' illustrious ancestry!
      Anne purraised this.
  2. Anne
    Congratulations to our winners! As stated in the post itself - you can get your own Basepaws Catkit at a $20 discount until the end of June! Go back to the article to see the coupon.
  3. Anne
    Thank you for all the submissions, everyone! They're beautiful to read!
    This giveaway is now closed for further submissions. We will be announcing the winners soon.
      LeiLana80, Brian007 and Meieiei purraised this.
  4. FreyjaBellaTrix
    My sweet young lady Freyja was said to be “for sure” a Korat but I have no proof so I would love an ENTRY for her to see what she’s made of [​IMG]
  5. Serenesunshine
    For my little boy Walter, 7 months. He's a brown tabby with white paws, green eyes, and medium length hair. I think he could be part Siamese. He's very vocal and affectionate and the shape of his face is similar. At the Humane Society, he had a sister that was Siamese. I would love to find out if he's part Siamese! [​IMG] [​IMG]
  6. Asacher
    My cat Lilly is our mini maine coon at 8 pounds, 1 ounce. She is a rescue and super sweet and loving. She loves to swim and take baths. Her large paws are the perfect paddles for splashing me in the face. We would love to find out if she is part maine coon or something else. No matter what she is we love her. ENTRY
  7. Heidi K
    I have 2 cats. A Male named BOOTS who is 1 year old and looks like a tiger. And then a female named SKYLER who is almost 2 months old. She is a Black and White Tabby. I am interested in the DNA testing for my cats. I did it for myself so would love to have more information about my kids too. Would love to know their Wildcat family?
    Thank you,
    Heidi [​IMG]

  8. MsPrudence
    Albus and Sylvia are 1 year old siblings who both had eyes removed at around 5 months of age due to severe infections. I adopted them 2 weeks later and since they were owner surrender, nothing about their past is known.

    Fast forward 7 months and they are huge (but not fat), very gangly, and very energetic. Albus is 15 pounds and is a unique strawberry/light coffee shade with a white belly, and Sylvia is 13 pounds and is calico with firey orange and tabby patches. They have short hair, long limbs, biggish ears, smallish heads, and long striped tails. They love splashing water around, turn into putty when picked up, and are currently being leash trained.

    I've been curious for a while what they have in them to make them so big and long. I have a sneaking suspicion they could have a distant grandparent who was a serval, or maybe have some bengal mixed in somewhere. I'd love to find out!
  9. mmjauregui
    Entry - Nelson Brewster adopted from a shelter. Could be marbled tabby or marbled Bengal.
  10. OllieAndJacksMom82
    Entry - Jack
    He was a stray cat before i adopted him and his brother, their markings make me believe they may be savanah cats. Their temperment certainly is very wild! Lol!
  11. leedaroach
    Bitters entry, he is a male ginger who is a polydactal Manx. He has no tail at all not even s tiny stump. He has several extra toes on his front paws.
  12. msjay160
    I have two cats...white one looks like a barn cat to me, the other is a bengal without papers. entry
  13. Erickins
    Entry for my white cotton ball, penny sue! Everybody says she looks exactly like a Turkish angora.
  14. meetal
    ENTRY for Chiku
  15. LeiLana80
    Entry for my Sunny Buns!
  16. sweetindygirl
    ENTRY I would love to know more about my sweet boy that is twice rescued. I am always saying I know he has a story and often wonder about my sweet Plaxico.
  17. RoxboroughCats
    ENTRY for Guinevere, who I believe is a Manx, please.
  18. GetToTheGate
    I would like to learn more about my cat Prometheus. We adopted him at a shelter and he's a DSH grey and white, but I would still like to learn all I can.
  19. domh
    ENTRY for Bronn “of the Blackwater”. I adopted this handsome boy 2 years ago and have always wondered what breed he is related to... We’ll find out.lol[​IMG]
      CHATTY KATTY HOME, Heidi K and Sheeeeela purraised this.
  20. M00nshad0w
    My ENTRY for my girl Ophelia <3 She was a barn kitten, part of one of 3 litters born with 7 weeks of each other. She turned 5 in March <3 She's a sweetie pie (although nervous around strangers). We have never known for sure what her breed was, but we assumed Domestic Short hair. I've been suspecting that she may have some Maine Coon in her because of her size (about 2x my other cat) and her colouring (brown/silver tabby with orange patches)
  21. MasonCats
    Here is my ENTRY for the Basepaws genetic testing Catkits Contest!
    This is my cat Henry Mason. Henry was a neighborhood stray who decided to slowly move in. One day outta nowhere he appeared in my backyard & made himself at home. Then he eventually started coming right up to the Patio screen door and curiously peeping inside at all of the other cats. Needless to say, it wasn't long before he decided to come inside & become part of the family.
    Henry is a HUGE cat, the largest cat that I have ever owned and quite possibly the largest domestic cat that I have ever seen! Henrys huge size is matched by the fact that he is also a huge sweetheart with the sweetest softest meow & I wont even get into how sweet of a face he has. (There was no way that I could ever turn away that face when he first started peering inside at us through the screen door)
    I suspect that Henry may be at least part, if not almost entirely Raggamuffin, which is why I would like to test him using the Basepaw Genetic Testing Catkit if we were to win it!

    Pictured Below: Henry (Front Right) & Joeseppi (Far Left)
      Serenesunshine, jdwns12 and Sheeeeela purraised this.
  22. Princess_lexii
    ENTRY for my simba man ❤️ He’s so affectionate and he’s got such a big personality, but he comes from someone’s accidental litter, he has amber eyes and pink paws
      Sheeeeela purraised this.
  23. Phiney
    Entry, I'd like to enter my male 10 year old cat Chubby he has hypertrophic cardio myopathy. He is getting good care from a veterinarian cardiologist now. Maybe you can use his DNA to help other cats in the future.
  24. EmmaCrazyCatLady
    My second boy looks like a tuxedo but has very long fluffy fur and a big poofy tail. Curious about his breed.
  25. Serenesunshine
    I would love to know the breed of my little sweetie pie Rosie, 8.5 months. She's very fluffy with beautiful colors of cream, brown and orange on her coat with tabby markings on her arms with white around her face and chin. Curly fur on her tummy. She likes to drink water dripping from the sink, loves to be in on all the action and is sassy and spunky. I think my cat resembles Norwegian forest cat the most! [​IMG] [​IMG]
  26. Norachan
    ENTRY for Heidi Corkscrew, who has a tail that curls right round in a loop.
  27. FlawlessImperfection
    How much we would LOVE to know the breed that gives Buttercup her unique colors, sounds, and personality. Even our vet wonders what breed she is mixed with. She is a lovely spotted tabby, with an incredibly thick, soft shiny coat that has a ridge of longer hair down her spine, longer rear legs and talks constantly. And those green eyes![​IMG] [​IMG] Please consider Buttercup for your wonderful service!
      Princess_lexii purraised this.
  28. LeiLana80
    For my Shadow kitty! He's got super thick fur and he's of short stature.
  29. 35 year catdad
    Entry please
    Love to know what mix this crazy semi feral Calico is? Never seen her dad and momma is tiny and looooong
  30. Binzy
    This is an ENTRY for Zella. She is our 10 week old fluff ball. She looks nothing like her brother. I’d love to know more about her genetics.
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