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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. stormyandklaus
    Here's my entry for the contest! I have 2 cats, one 8 month kitty named Klaus and an 8 year old named Stormy. I think that they are both Nebelung cats. They have long gray hair, and bright green yellow eyes. Klaus may have a little Maine coon in him based on his facial features and the fact that he has longer hair than stormy. I'd love to win & find out!
  2. JGriffs722
    My kitty is 11 weeks old. He appears to be a little orange tabby, although I'm not sure!
  3. melontine
    Suki is a buff colored tabby cat, almost the standard for dsh, but there is something about the shape of her face and her huge paws. It makes me wonder if there could be something else in her linage.
  4. KaliDuchess
    ENTRY. I think my 3 month old kitten is a Domestic Shorthair but i'm curious if she might be a Burmese/Bombay Cat because she has very similar physical and mental features of one! We rescued her so we don't know!
  5. lyrajean
    ENTRY. Picked up my Aya in Japan. She was one of the local "mura neko" (village cats). I lived in Okinawa where the dog population is very mixed with American and Japanese breeds. Curious if the cat population is as well as Aya greatly resembles Japanese kitties.
  6. n0ntoX!c
    For my 3ish? year old cat. Maybe 4. I don't know, I picked him because he was the only one in a cage when I was brought out to get a cat because I let go from work over really weird stuff having to do with the owner's personal life and my not agreeing with him. (He's the kind of guy who thinks suicide is funny) To my Mom, my cat's been, my savior. But for me, I didn't like to have responsibility thrust on to me when I had lost what little income I could make, however, he's become my best friend of course. He's a mix of all sorts, which I found rather important. I don't like that they are designing kitties. He's black and white and think's "No" means "Keep trying, but in different ways" and that's helped me a lot. He's also a cat that stuns everyone that he comes when I call and how closely he stays by me. But one thing that's really sad that I found that I've done differently than most the people who've been amazed that he sticks by me is, I've never once tried punishing him. I'll ignore him, but honestly, he just knocks stuff over until I come and see what he's on about. Usually, he wants to go outside, but he's only got the indoor vaccines and there's a cat lady in the building who can't stand to see cats suffer, so she keeps feeding all the strays left behind from uncaring owners and that's the main reason I won't let him out. That, and they all have fleas, which it turns out I'm allergic to. So, he's also let me realize I've never had to deal with fleas before recently. And I took care of them all using a bit of diatomaceous earth, and a flea comb.
  7. ChaoticEva
    For Sassy-Minoue, who I suspect has some Ragdoll in her!
  8. Lizzard Jane
    Entry for Lily and her new baby!! He was born lastnight and is all white. I think he will be a Lynx Point just like her.
  9. TerinaJean
    Our little "Ziggy Stardust" is a 10 week old polydactyl Blue Point Siamese mix. We adopted him from a foster home. Unfortunately because of this they had limited information about his lineage. He's very small for a Siamese his age yet his personality fits the breed. We are incredibly curious to find what created this tiny wee bit miracle.
  10. SherriC
    Kitty Brat is a one year old male who is reportedly an American bobtail. Parents are not registered. I would like to know more about his background in order to care for him as well as possible. He is absolutely delightful. I am just really curious if he is truly a part of this relatively new cat breed, or not.
  11. Sonatine

    I suspect Amelia might be part manx. She's not nearly as round as a fullblooded one (and much more talkative than most), but she's kinda weird shaped nonetheless: huge back legs and a nubby tail. She looks like a normal cat in her front half and a rabbit in the back half!
  12. Norachan

    I've always wondered if Button Moon has some Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat in his genes. Not very likely in a former feral cat from Japan, but he is huge, with long thick fur, massive paws and quite a distinct muzzle.

    He has the same face as his Dad. Dad was all white apart from his black ears and tail and was a lot bigger than any of the other feral toms I TNR'd.
  13. lucisabsentia

    I'd love to test Scamander. The more he grows, the more he resembles a Wegie, in looks, size, and temperament. I want to see if it's anywhere in his background! The woman I got him from seems to think so too, she owns his parents.
  14. MistyDawn
    I have no idea what on earth Fang is, but I am featuring him in this ENTRY because he's the most bizarre. He's a huge cat I adopted from a rescue a couple hours north of where I live. He has massive fangs and claws, even taking in mind proportion with his body, weighing 18 pounds (of muscle!) His fangs push down past his lips, and his lower canines are just as long as his top ones. They're so big, they're detrimental to him. They're bigger than he can open his mouth, so he can't bite a lot of things. What is he? What made him so huge, and his weapons so extreme? I need to know!
  15. Docs Mom
    ENTRY - I've always been curious about Dweezil.... He did not look like his dad and two brothers. They were black, grey and white with a gray spot on the head. Average, stocky build. Then there is black Dweezil, always been slender and long legged with an obnoxious meow. Love to know if he has Siamese in his background.
  16. lacy2000
    Entry for my fluffy black cat, Bear! I've asked many people what they thought his breed is and have never gotten a definitive answer. I'm curious to know!
  17. Wilzeenyc
    [​IMG] ENTRY - We rescued Talia with her 2 sisters and all we know is she is a domestic short hair but we think she has Siamese traits in her looks and personality so we would love to have her DNA tested.
  18. Mother_Superior
  19. nourya
    [​IMG]Entry ❤️ We would like to know what breed is our cat, we know his mother, but we haven't had a chance to met with his father lol Some people say he was a Russian Blue and some say it was a Korat (our neighbors) :D but we don't know and there is this belief in our religion that marked cats are related to our prophet's cat which is from Middle East and he has a mark in his mouth I am curious, we would like to find outttt help us out please ❤️
  20. veggietreegirl

    I'd love to win for my two cats. My newest cat is Persephone. She was picked up as a stray by the shelter. No clue as to her breed, but she's a beautiful tortoiseshell. My other cat is Primrose. We got her as a kitten from someone who was moving. Not sure how they came by her, but they hadn't had her long and didn't know much about her. She's the black and white in my profile photo. Not sure of her breed either.
  21. rgwanner
    I have 2 rescue cats that were both rescued in my commu out They look alike and have some similar mannerisms I would like to k ow if they are really related
  22. Curlynn
    ENTRY: My mom found a cat outside that looks like some sort of siamese cat because of her eyes. Luna has big light blue eyes that are always slightly crossed which is adorable, but shes gray and white with a few stripes thrown in there. My family has a thing for finding stray cats and taking them in off the streets (though we always search to see if they have an owner first even though usually you can tell with how malnourished they are). So all of our cats have a mystery background that I would love to explore!
  23. Benjamin Franklin (Benji)

    Benji’s traits and interesting spotted markings along with his muscular build really remind me of a Bengal! It would be really cool to see if he really did have some in him.
  24. soubida

    My mom and I are dying to know any kind of background information about our cat LOL.
    instagram @zoeythemao
  25. Norachan

    I found Forest Cat way out in the woods, miles from any houses. I'm sure he'd been dumped, I doubt he could have made his own way out there. I've been told he looks like a Doll Face Persian. He has the temperament to match, so I'd like to know if that's true.
  26. KristinD44

    I found my guy, Finnegan in a parking lot. Don't let the Irish name fool you, I think he may be part Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest cat. Since he's not talking, I'd love to find out some of his background! Thanks
  27. Nouveau

    I’d LOVE to know if my boy is related to a chantilly! [​IMG]
      veggietreegirl purraised this.
  28. Norachan
    Mod Note.

    One entry per member per day please!

    We don't want to have to delete any posts.
      veggietreegirl purraised this.
    1. Lari
      Question. We only get one comment total, not one per day, if we only have one cat, right? I was slightly confused by that.
      veggietreegirl and kashmir64 purraised this.
    2. ChaoticEva
      I'm kinda confused. What if We have more than one cat? Is it not one entry PER cat PER day???
  29. AmyTheKittyMommy
    Jasper is a sweet flame point Siamese lookalike, and I’d love to find out more about him.
  30. Jackalac
    [​IMG] Entry! This is Tinsel And Cinder. Not sure what Breed or breeds Tinsel has. Cinder we we were told Siamese and Manx and mother calico. Would be interesting to find out
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