The Lyons’ Feline Genetics Laboratory at the University of California at Davis has developed Cat Ancestry, a simple test that lets snobby cat owners find out for sure if their precious kitty is truly a Persian or something. What, you’re gonna throw out a bunch of kittens if their parents don’t match?
The Cat Ancestry website presents a decent argument for itself:
Cat Ancestry is a novelty test to investigate your cat’s ancestry and heritage. [...] If a breed relationship is present, certain disease risks could apply to your cat and you may want to consider additional testing for these diseases. Cat Ancestry will determine the genetics of your cat’s coat colors and fur length and which variants it secretly carries as recessive genes.
So, if you want a sphynx with hair, you know what to do. In all seriousness, this is probably the best way to anticipate and prepare for any health problems your cat could have, considering how different breeds are prone to different diseases.
That’s what you should be testing for, not stupid little things to brag about. “Princess Fuddleboots is a purebred Maine Coon. She’s one of the oldest natural breeds in North America and she’ll have hip problems when she’s 10.”
The test can be ordered online for £76 and only requires a cheek swab using the cytological brushes supplied.
Cat Ancestry compares your cat’s 170 or so DNA markers with a database of cat genetic profiles to determine its race of origin: Western Europe, South Asia, Eastern Mediterranean, or Arabian Sea. Its DNA profile will then be compared to profiles of different breeds of cats of the same race to find the closest matches.
They have 29 reference breeds at the moment, and are working to collect samples for more.
Western Europe: Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Bengal, British Shorthair, Chartreux, Cornish Rex, Egyptian Mau, Exotic Shorthair, Japanese Bobtail, Maine Coon, Manx, Norwegian Forest Cat, Persian, Ragdoll, Scottish Fold, Siberian, Sphynx.
South Asia: Ocicat, Birman, Burmese, Havana Brown, Korat, Russian Blue, Siamese, Singapura, and Australia Mist.
Eastern Mediterranean: Turkish Angora and Turkish Van.
Arabian Sea: Sokoke
Related but irrelevant: I googled Havana Brown and was momentarily shocked.
The test is reportedly about 90% accurate, limited by the quality of DNA samples, the absence of less popular breeds, and interracial cat-breeding.
- Rare breed of cats from frozen embyos
- This cat didn’t need to be pure-bred to be mayor
- So much love for a random breed