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(22,861 posts)
Sat Jul 4, 2020, 10:59 PM Jul 2020

Anybody here familiar with pet DNA testing?

My 4 year old female cat is not pedigreed, but she has two traits that are each identified very specifically with two different breeds. So I think she has both breeds in her recent past. Many other physical and behavioral traits also point to those two breeds. I'd like to satisfy my curiosity about that, but also be prepared for any health needs her vet should watch for.

So I'm considering a cat DNA test. Wonder if anyone else has done this and how satisfied they are.

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Anybody here familiar with pet DNA testing? (Original Post) wnylib Jul 2020 OP
Honestly didn't know it was a thing soothsayer Jul 2020 #1
I don't know about it being a "thing," wnylib Jul 2020 #7
No, but I had two foals DNA tested csziggy Jul 2020 #2
I'll bet it shook things up in the wnylib Jul 2020 #4
It's hard to figure out what a mixed breed cat came from csziggy Jul 2020 #14
I will love my little lady no matter wnylib Jul 2020 #18
Forgot to say - AQHA was very much stirred up by the situation csziggy Jul 2020 #15
Wow. What a mess. One of the wnylib Jul 2020 #17
See what your vet says. PoindexterOglethorpe Jul 2020 #3
I did tell my vet about one of the wnylib Jul 2020 #10
I've tested a few of our dogs with interesting results uppityperson Jul 2020 #5
What company did you use? wnylib Jul 2020 #6
I used Wisdom Panel for dogs. uppityperson Jul 2020 #9
I guess there are such kits. Laffy Kat Jul 2020 #8
The health angle is my main concern wnylib Jul 2020 #12
UC Davis.... IcyPeas Jul 2020 #11
I had my rescue dog's DNA done. GentryDixon Jul 2020 #13
Thanks for the feedback. I've decided wnylib Jul 2020 #16


(22,861 posts)
7. I don't know about it being a "thing,"
Sun Jul 5, 2020, 01:09 AM
Jul 2020

but I do know that it's possible to detect genes for potential illness and disorders. Breeders sometimes use these tests for that reason. The tests are available for the general public now, for both health and breed curiosity reasons.


(34,158 posts)
2. No, but I had two foals DNA tested
Sat Jul 4, 2020, 11:32 PM
Jul 2020

Two reasons - at the time the American Quarter Horse Association was weeding out horses that had inherited a serious hereditary problem. Horses that were not tested were not allowed to be bred (not sure if this is still true, I am out of the breeding business).

The second reason - two of my mares foaled the same night. I saw and photographed the mares with their foals before dawn just after birth when they were still wet. By dawn, the foals had swapped mamas. My vet didn't believe me and I knew any further pictures I would have would have the foals with their adoptive dams.

So I paid for genetic testing - AQHA had it for parentage verification as well as for testing for the genetic disease. Of course, I was right - the two fillies at some point imprinted on the mares who were not their mamas.

Later I found out that the reason AQHA was providing parentage verification was that when they began testing for the genetic disease, they found many cases of foals not being sired by the stallion they were supposed to be or that mares in the same herd had done what mine did. The first set of cases turned out to be deliberate frauds - owners of famous stallions over booked and had the mares bred by lesser stallions and still collected the high fees for the famous one. It really shook up the organization for a while.


(22,861 posts)
4. I'll bet it shook things up in the
Sun Jul 5, 2020, 12:17 AM
Jul 2020

organization for a while.

I had no expectations of any breed when I got my cat from a coworker whose non pedigreed cat had had a litter. I was just ready to have another cat 6 months after my previous one had died.

But the little cutie had some behaviors that were unlike any cat I've ever known. So I looked up the traits and found that they fit 2 separate breeds that are often used together in cross-breeding with a wildcat to create another breed. That would explain my cat having the traits of 2 of them, one of which is pretty rare. But only a test could tell for sure.


(34,158 posts)
14. It's hard to figure out what a mixed breed cat came from
Sun Jul 5, 2020, 12:31 PM
Jul 2020

My husband had one cat that had been found as a very small kitten on the side of a very rural road. When he grew up, he looked and had the personality of a Ragdoll cat. We didn't care what breed he might be, he was a sweet kitty that we shared our lives with for over eighteen years.


(22,861 posts)
18. I will love my little lady no matter
Sun Jul 5, 2020, 02:46 PM
Jul 2020

what the tests show. She is 4 1/2 years old and I got her when she was just 9 weeks old. I have never had a pedigreed cat. Some have had obvious hints at their breed history, but 1 especially was a surprise package. He was a brown and black tabby with white bib and socks from the Humane Society.

When he got his kitten shots, the vet was startled at his meow. The vet immediately held him up and examined his body, face, etc. Then he told us our tabby kitten was without a doubt half Siamese.

I was not familiar with Siamese cats at the time other than from pictures, so I had not recognized the very distinctive Siamese meow. As he grew, he showed numerous Siamese traits, e.g. very talkative, followed us like a dog, loved walking on a leash, very active and mischievous but also very affectionate and devoted to us.

The current one whose ancestry intrigues me because of her unique traits does something that is exclusive to only one cat breed. When she is very happy and excited, she does a butt and tail wiggle in which the butt and tail totally vibrate for several seconds. It looks just like a male cat spraying, but that is not what she's doing. This is an Egyptian Mau trait, but they are rare cats and very expensive. People don't just let them run loose to mate with strays. She has some physical and behavioral traits of a Mau but does not have the Mau spotted coat.

She also is very quiet and rarely meows. When she does meow, it is not at all like a Mau. I have watched videos and listened to cat vocalizations. She sounds EXACTLY like an Abyssinian. Her ears and face are shaped like an Aby. She is clownish like an Aby, and very active and playful, even now at age 4. She was so hyperactive as a kitten that she wore me out. A leaper and climber, much more than most cats, and so agile and graceful that it's like watching a champion Olympic gymnast.

So I learned that Maus and Abys are cross bred with wild Asian leopards to produce the Bengal cat breed. They add American shorthairs to the mix to tame down the wildcat temperament. They are not certified and sold until after 4 generations to be sure they are domestic enough for a pet. There is a Bengal breeder in my area.

So I suspect that my cat's mother, whose Mau and Aby traits are even stronger than my cat, came from a breeding program but did not conform to the coat standards and was not suitable for breeding or selling. Her body conformation is great for this breed mixture, but her coat pattern is calico.

My cat has her mother's colors, but they are distributed like a marbled Bengal. My cat also is very slightly heavier and thicker than her mama (but not overweight), probably because her father was a neighborhood stray.


(34,158 posts)
15. Forgot to say - AQHA was very much stirred up by the situation
Sun Jul 5, 2020, 12:51 PM
Jul 2020

The genetic disease was traced directly to the offspring of a very popular stallion whose owners demanded very high stud fees for breeding. Then his sons also charged very high stud fees. In the 1980s I was just getting into breeding Quarter Horses but I did not like the conformation (way the horse was built) and avoided breeding to him or his descendants.

Then it came out that this very serious metabolic disease was confirm as coming from the stallion:

HYPP and the Impressive line of American Quarter Horses: The facts

News News | May 23, 2012
Jan Swan Wood

In 1969, an American Quarter Horse foal was born that changed the history of the halter horse in three breed registries. Born with outstanding conformation, disposition and pedigree, the colt named Impressive, eventually set the standard in halter horses for the Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa breeds.

Sadly, because he was the biggest name in the halter world, he and his offspring were used extensively for breeding, and when a devastating genetic defect was isolated, it had already affected tens of thousands of horses. The “Impressive” line, once noted for their exceptional halter conformation, became known as the hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP) line of horses.

In 1992, researchers designated the Impressive line of horses as carriers. Not all horses of that line had HYPP, but all horses with HYPP were descended from Impressive himself. In 1994, a genetic test that utilized DNA from hair or blood, was perfected, this determined whether a horse had HYPP or not.

Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis is a genetic disorder that causes horses to have episodes of muscle spasms, weakness, “dog sitting” due to hind quarter weakness, collapse, recumbency, sweating, high serum potassium levels, third eyelid twitching and yawning. Levels of distress during an attack vary, with some horses showing only mild symptoms, while others have very severe symptoms. Due to respiratory paralysis or respiratory failure during an attack, some horses can suffocate and die.

More: https://www.tsln.com/news/hypp-and-the-impressive-line-of-american-quarter-horses-the-facts/

Of course, now it is accepted and the science is better understood. All this came down in the early 1990s when DNA testing was very new and not well trusted, though the rumors about problems with Impressive offspring began years earlier.

Even recently people are still affected by the problem - while in the UK last fall I met some people whose daughter had a Quarter Horse that had this condition. The sire had been imported into England - I suspect that he had tested positive and AQHA refused to allow his offspring to be registered in the US, so he was taken to England where registration documents are not as important and bred there. I consider that to be an immoral act, especially to not disclose this possibility to the mare owners they got money from.

In the case I encountered, the horse had been donated to a group that only used it for light work, since it could not tolerate the type of showing the daughter wanted to do. The family was out thousands of dollars and had the heartache of having to get rid of a horse they all loved.


(22,861 posts)
17. Wow. What a mess. One of the
Sun Jul 5, 2020, 01:56 PM
Jul 2020

benefits of DNA tests is to avoid breeding an animal with serious disorders.


(22,861 posts)
10. I did tell my vet about one of the
Sun Jul 5, 2020, 01:51 AM
Jul 2020

2 breeds that I suspect because I learned that it has a sensitivity to some sedatives that requires using lower doses or alternative meds. The vet noted it on my cat's chart.

Normally, I wouldn't care about my cat's breed history. I got her from a coworker and knew that the cat's mother was not pedigreed so I had no expectations. I was just happy to have another cat 6 months after my previous one had died.

But very early I noticed some distinctive behaviors unlike any cats I had known and looked them up. They fit two separate breeds that I learned are both used for cross-breeding with a wildcat to create a hybrid breed. It would explain why my cat has traits of the two breeds. There is a breeder of this hybrid cat in my area.

So I'd like to confirm whether my cat has a sensitivity to sedatives. I'd also like to know if her recent history includes a hybrid domestic and wildcat mix. I've joked that she's more wild than pet, but now realize that it might actually be partially true.

These tests can't hurt the cat. They require a saliva sample, so if anyone gets hurt, it will be me trying to get the sample from my cat.


(115,694 posts)
5. I've tested a few of our dogs with interesting results
Sun Jul 5, 2020, 12:28 AM
Jul 2020

There was some "mixed", meaning back too many generations, but I was satisfied with the results overall.

Laffy Kat

(16,456 posts)
8. I guess there are such kits.
Sun Jul 5, 2020, 01:09 AM
Jul 2020

You may want to think about the one that gives you health results to get on top of any genetic propensity for say, kidney disease, diabetes, etc. Good luck!


(22,861 posts)
12. The health angle is my main concern
Sun Jul 5, 2020, 09:04 AM
Jul 2020

Last edited Sun Jul 5, 2020, 01:47 PM - Edit history (1)

since some breeds are prone to certain disorders or illnesses.

EDIT to add: i have had 2 previous cats that died young (age 10) from genetic disorders. Neither was pedigreed but both had an identifiable breed in their background that was known for the disorder that the cats died of.


(22,171 posts)
11. UC Davis....
Sun Jul 5, 2020, 02:24 AM
Jul 2020

The TinyKittens organization gets DNA tests of the feral cat colonies that they take care of with the help of UC Davis which is a research university. (I think they do it pro bono for Tinykittens organization.)

UC Davis was or is doing a study on feline kidney disease.
Many of the feral cats in the colonies get this.

It's kinda interesting. She often finds out certain cats are related by doing the DNA.



(2,984 posts)
13. I had my rescue dog's DNA done.
Sun Jul 5, 2020, 11:46 AM
Jul 2020

I got the kit at Chewy. It answered a question about why my Chihuahua was so hefty, when I did not over feed him. He is 62% Chihuahua, 25% Cocker, & balance mixed other.

He has the tiny, spindly legs, a snout somewhat like a pug, but his body is shaped like a football. He weighs 11 pounds.

It was well worth the cost of $80.00.

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