If you’ve ever wondered what makes your cat look and act so uniquely, you may have considered an at-home cat DNA test. Similar to at-home dog DNA tests, feline tests collect DNA from an at-home sample. Then, a lab interprets the results based on company data to give you a comprehensive report on your cat.
“Any panel or array will never provide 100 percent perfect data," Leslie A. Lyons, PhD, who heads the Feline Genetics and Comparative Medicine Laboratory at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, told The Spruce Pets. Instead of concrete data, at-home cat DNA tests are primarily advisory. Consult with your cat's veterinarian if a specific health marker seems concerning.
Our top pick, Basepaws Breed + Health Cat DNA Test, tests for an unparalleled number of genetic markers. It's especially useful for providing data that could give insight into your cat’s risk for certain health conditions.
Here are the best cat DNA tests.
Basepaws Cat DNA Test
Fully comprehensive (health, dental, DNA)
Clear, easy-to-read results
Results can take a while
This test checks for 43 genetic health conditions and diseases, including a few insights you’ll only find on Basepaws (for instance, the genetic markers for the most common form of heart disease in cats). As of November 2021, when the brand added 80 new genetic markers to its test, it’s become the most comprehensive cat DNA test on the market, both from a health-information standpoint and from a breed and appearance standpoint.
The Basepaws Cat DNA test provides data for 50 different appearance-related gene markers. Moreover, Basepaws updates its DNA data as it receives more sample sets from other pet parents. In doing so, they’re able to update you on new potential genetic-related findings as they come. In addition to genetic markers and health condition predispositions, this combo kit also includes a bonus oral and dental test.
Best for Breed Information
Wisdom Health Wisdom Panel Complete for Cats DNA Test
Large breed database
Unless your cat is from a breeder, you’ve probably wondered about your kitty’s family lineage in terms of breed and mix from time to time. DNA tests can help uncover interesting insights in this domain. We like this one from Wisdom Panel for its focus on breaking down the different breed types, by percentage, that make up your cat. Additionally, this test delivers an insightful “family tree” for your cat, including a diagram that clearly delineates the different branches of your feline’s family tree, as hypothesized by the geneticists at Wisdom Panel, by breed.
It’s worth noting that Wisdom Panel has the largest breed database on the market—a factor that allows for more in-depth analysis.
Best for Oral Health Information
Basepaws Oral Health Test for Cats
Budget-friendly compared to other tests
Pertinent to most cats
Can help avoid costly dental emergencies in the future
Cats are notoriously prone to developing periodontal issues, such as gingivitis and stomatitis, both of which can lead to more serious, sometimes even life-threatening complications down the road. This oral health test for cats helps identify typical microbial markers that are often associated with increased risk of certain types of gum and dental disease, as well as tooth resorption (which can be painful). By flagging potential issues before they develop into full-blown conditions, this test may save you and your fuzzy friend(s) from extra stress and exorbitant vet bills down the road.
Similar to the Basepaws health and DNA kit, this oral health test is simple to use. Register the kit online, swab your kitty’s cheek for a few seconds, and send it off to the Base Paws lab. In four to six weeks, you’ll receive a comprehensive dental-specific PDF file detailing your cat’s risk for dental disease, halitosis (bad breath), and tooth resorption.
Best Supplemental Test
5Strands Pet Food & Environmental Intolerance Testing Kit
Tests for over 300 potential irritants and intolerances
Simple hair collection
No breed or health data
Like humans, cats can be predisposed to reacting to certain foods, food additives, and allergens. If you’re noticing that your cat is a super-picky eater, or they seem to react poorly to certain types of food, or maybe they’re sneezing a lot, this intolerance test might be worth the investment. The test is geared towards testing for food and environmental intolerances in cats—as well as dogs and horses.
The 5Strands test accounts for 300 different potential irritants, including food allergens and potential irritants found in household products, including those in cleaning supplies and fabrics. Sample collection is super easy: simply send in a strand of fur from your cat's coat. Within 10 days (or as little as a week), you’ll receive a detailed report from the 5Strands lab in your email inbox. From there, you’ll be able to adjust your kitty’s diet or environment as needed.
The Basepaws Breed + Health Cat DNA Test is comprehensive and easy to read, which makes it our top pick. It checks for 43 genetic health conditions and diseases, including a few you'll only find on Basepaws. If food allergies or other irritants are your main concern, the 5Strands Pet Food & Environmental Intolerance Test accounts for 300 different potential irritants and just requires a strand of hair from your cat.
What to Look for in a Cat DNA Test
Different cat DNA tests can look for different things. Some focus on lineage and breed mix(es), while others offer more health-related insights. You can also get supplemental tests, such as food intolerance tests and allergy tests; though they’re not DNA tests, per se, they may shed additional valuable insight about your feline pal.
“Different companies put more or less effort into designing good assays for any one specific mutation," Lyons told The Spruce Pets. Ultimately, this could mean a more or less accurate result pertaining to a condition linked to the mutation in question.
While cat DNA tests can accurately assess your cat's genetic code, interpretation is a different matter entirely and depends upon having a wide database of genetic markers for comparison.
“An array needs to be updated—which can be a slow process.” Slow as updating can be, it’s worth looking for a brand that does update its data continuously. “Some companies continuously update their data as they receive more samples."
Knowledgeable and Customer-Friendly
Ideally, choosing a service that focuses specifically on cats is a plus, notes Dr. Lyons, simply because they’ll have more specific, pointed knowledge. As a rule of thumb, “Look for a company with good customer service who will answer questions about their services and also know a lot about cats,” Lyons advises.
Will a cat DNA test reveal parent information?
While it won’t lead you to your cat’s individual parents, a cat DNA test can give you an idea of the types of breeds that comprise your cat, which, in turn, can give you an overview of your cat’s feline family tree.
Can a cat DNA test verify purebred status?
In short, yes, though it can't confer that status in any official capacity. Most cat DNA tests will give you a breakdown of the breed types in your cat’s family lineage, as well as information about the percentage of each breed type your cat is, according to genes.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets
Sophie Wirt is a pet lover and has written for The Spruce Pets since 2021. An NYC-based writer and editor, she's been penning product reviews, interviews, and investigative pieces since 2015. Her work has appeared in publications including InStyle, Allure, W, SELF, and Byrdie, among others.
For this roundup, she carefully considered the handful of cat DNA tests on the market. She also spoke to an expert in cat genetics, Leslie A. Lyons, Ph.D., who heads the Feline Genetics and Comparative Medicine Laboratory at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine.