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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. Meghan M

    When I got my cat she was a kitten with really long legs. She also has very large golden/green eyes and is more of a gray colored tabby. She also has very long white fur on her belly. Everyone who saw her commented that she looked a tad unusual. Even the woman who came to feed her while I was on vacation said she was very long and tall. She's also extremely hyper and smart. She's definitely not a lap cat! I got her as a stray. She could be a regular old tabby but maybe she's not.
  2. GetToTheGate
    I would like find out more about my cat Aoife, she has flame point Siamese markings but she was found outside as a semi-feral kitten and so I would like know more about what mix she is.
  3. AbbysMom
    MOD NOTE -

    To clarify the rules a bit:

    One entry per day.

    One entry per cat. If you have one cat, you get one entry total, not one entry per day.

    All duplicates have been
    deleted. Sorry for the confusion and thank you for your understanding.
    1. LeiLana80
      Oh. Oops. So sorry!!
      The rules were a little hard to understand- at least for me! lol
  4. msTNemt

    Love to test my beautiful siamese male and my gorgeous 2 month old long haired female. Mom just showed up pregnant and I began feeding her, she had her beautiful sweet babies on my porch and raised her babies right there. This baby girl looks like she is a red Siamese and has a semi flat face, more flat than any of the other babies, with large round blue eyes. I'd love to know what her DNA shows because she has a home here with me just as soon as momma weans her.
  5. Wolfloverz1223
    We picked up a stray kitten at seven weeks, she's now 8 months. Freya looks like a long-haired gray tabby, but I thought it would be cool to see if she has anything else in her! We also have another cat named Ginger, who is 13 years old. She's a black long-haired cat, but we don't really know if she has purebred in her either.
  6. aliceneko
    Toffee and Fudge are ginger domestic shorthairs, but we are certain that they have some Siamese heritage. Toffee especially has Siamese features, such as pointed ears, and Fudge's personality matches many of the Siamese character traits (he has the loud meow that a lot of Siamese are known for so is very vocal). It would be great to win so that I could find out for sure where the boys come from.
  7. Melodia74
    Our lil blued Sinatra is all white with a lil bit of orange highlights around his face and striped tail. We first thought he might could be Turkish Angora but he isn't as fluffy as most of that breed. And he has Round Pupils all the time, not slits. Which makes him a lil different I suppose. I just sent off for my own[​IMG] DNA results with Ancestry.com so it would be too cool to get my Sinatra results as well. Thanks for the ENTRY for the chance of a great Opportunity. From Tampa, Fl.
    1. Vduncan54
      Flame Point Siamese start out like this. They get their color as they age! If it is a Flame Point..you will have a very beautiful cat soon! Altho he already is a handsome little boy!
  8. Goodriel
    My girl, Pooka, is almost 15 years old! When I was in college a classmate said she found a tiny kitten she couldn't keep and left her with me. If Pooka wasn't so tiny, I would swear she was full Maine Coon![​IMG]
      LeiLana80 purraised this.
  9. Echolane
    [​IMG] I would very much like to know if my cats have any pure bred heritage. They were found abandoned on the street and so there is zero info about their backgrounds. But they are a little unusual. Gemini is solid brown, very long bodied, and has an ultra soft coat that has a very strong glitter over a very large area. Timo is mostly Blue Ticked Tabby in coat color, also very long bodied. He has some glitter in his coat, not as much as his sister, nor is his coat as soft as hers.
    Consider this my ENTRY in your giveaway.
      LeiLana80 purraised this.
    1. Vduncan54
      Brown cats are not that common. Could have some Havana Brown in her..
  10. RavenMouse
    For my 7y grey calico girl, Lacie. Her mother was a semi-feral stay cat that we domesticated two years before Lacie was born. We knew that Lacie's mother, Lilly, had several litters with several different toms in the old neighborhood before we managed to domesticate her, and she got out during a fire when we moved into a new neighborhood and came back with a full belly! Her mother was a calico but her father could have been anything! There's a tuxedo cat that roams up the street, a tabby, and even a Maine coon that has the full range of our neighbor's backyard that could all be the father! Curious to see her DNA analysis.
  11. Jtaylor
    This is an entry for our Bella Lucie!!! Bella is our 12 week old kitten that is of resemblance to either a brown-tiger Maine Coon or a Norwegian Forest Cat. The owner states that she is a purebred Maine Coon kitten. However, Iam skeptical to the accuracy of this only because I know it's not very often that purebred Maine Coons are just given away for free. Therefore, Basepaws Catkit would be the perfect solution for us to finally be able to find out the genetic heritage that our Bella has hailed from!!!
  12. anasta
    This is my ENTRY for a test to see what my boy Shadow is. He was a rescue and all of us are lucky to have found each other! He resembles a Ragdoll and I’d would appreciate a conclusion on this exclusive breed. Thanks
  13. Norachan

    Entry for Toby, a short haired, bob-tailed ginger kitten that someone dumped outside my house a few years ago. Their loss and my gain! Toby is a little darling.
  14. tamtaur
    With this entry, it would be so much fun to figure out how my cat came to look how she does. She's a long-haired Maine coon look-alike at a fraction of the size. She has some tabby stripes, and her fur is really really fine, unlike every other long hair cat I've seen. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  15. Musicforever444

    Vada reminds me of a Maine Coon, but we really aren't sure. It would be super cool to get a DNA analysis for her![​IMG]
  16. Boris Diamond

    Leo is a purebred, but it would be interesting to see his genetic analysis.
  17. GetToTheGate
    I would like to know what mix of cat my Ronan is. I found him outside and my secret hope is he is a Norwegian Forest Cat!
  18. whosjeebus
    I recently did a DNA test for myself and would love an ENTRY in this contest so that if we won, my cat Tom Riddle could get tested, too!
  19. Karleehassinger
    My cat Charlie would love an entry! He is only 9 weeks old and he is huge!!! I’m sure he has Maine Coon in him but I have never seen either of his parents only one of his sisters which did look like one as well.
  20. GoldyCat
    I have an abyssinian. I would be interested to see how the results match up with a known breed.
  21. snootledootle
    For the new addition to the family, Snootle
  22. 1lorre
    This entry is in hopes I will be able to gift it if I win. In my position, I have a lot of people asking if their cat resembles a certain breed. I hope to be able to refer them for the testing now and I will gift the nest person who asks if I win.
  23. Father of furbabies
    Entry - Noka is what you would call a generic shorthair but she is so intelligent for her age.[​IMG]
  24. Charmdbowler
  25. KZemon
    My cat needs help. Hes been suffering from diahrrea since we adopted him and so far we've tried everything the vet recommended including the panacure trial. This has been going on for months. h adopted my cat who has been very sick with diahrrea for months. I wish I could find out if he has a genetic disorder which could be contributing to his upset stomache or maybe he is allergic to something in his food.
      maggie101 purraised this.
  26. Geralizze M.

    Curious to know what breed Li might be

  27. Norachan

    I'd like to know where Mia gets her tiny frame, delicate bone structure and curly tail from.
  28. Ashley H
    My 9 month old boy Duncan looks like he might have some bengal in him! He is always trying to climb as high as possible. Duncan wants an entry please :)
  29. MSCW118116
    Entry for Charlotte. She resembles a Maine Coon mixed with a domestic shorthair moggie. I'd be very interested to see if she actually is a Maine Coon or if she is something else.
  30. LokiandDaisy
    An entry for a chance to win a Basepaws Catkit is just purrfect for me to find out stock what my kitty Daisy comes from as she has a very unique face. She has a strong straight nose with no dip and she has long white hair. I have been leaning towards Turkish Angora but would like to know for sure. Thanks for this opportunity!
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