We love our cats, and they love us too! They spend plenty of time observing us and learning everything there is to know about us. They even match their sleep routine to ours. However, how much do we know about them? Do we know their ancestry or if they are vulnerable to disease?
Basepaws is the first consumer cat DNA test on the market. You get a hair tape or a swap kit to collect your cat’s DNA upon purchase. After that, it gets sent to their laboratory, where they extract and test the DNA. Then you receive comprehensive results.
Suppose you spent thousands of dollars on a rare or exotic breed. You surely want to know if the breeder swindled you or not. Perhaps, you picked up a cute kitty from the shelter and want to know its ancestry.
Find out what kind of personality your kitten is likely to develop. Do you want to know if your cat has any diseases or underlying health issues? For cats, just like people, learning about illnesses as fast as possible ensures their survival.
While the Dog DNA test market has more traction for investors, the cat space is growing. Anna Skaya walked into the tank confidently, seeking $250,000 for 5% equity in her company. An actor accompanied her in a furry cat suit which was very amusing for the sharks.
The self-proclaimed brand builder already had successful companies under her belt. She assured the sharks that she could move to test dogs and horses. Additionally, her product was beneficial for breeders and cat nutrition companies. After she handed out her samples, she was approached with an offer from Kevin O’Leary for the total amount in exchange for 8.3% equity and 1.7% in advisement shares. This concerned Anna as other investors came in with the complete amount of 5%.
Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, and Daymond John opted out of a deal leaving Robert Herjevec shocked. He wondered what more they needed to invest and made the same offer as Kevin.
Anna asked if both sharks were willing to come into the deal together, and they happily consented to for 10% shared equity. The Basepaws founder agreed only because she was getting the help of two sharks.
Since then, the company has grown substantially, added more products to its line, and started selling on Amazon. You can get their DNA + Health test, an oral health test, or total genome sequencing for your cat. Zoetis acquired the company for an unknown amount in 2022.
Our Review of Basepaws
Basepaws offers three kinds of tests at the moment. For this article, we will review the product discussed in episode 10 of the eleventh season of shark tank. That is their DNA and health test. It lets you know the genetic makeup of your cat. You find out what kind of breed or mix of breeds it is. It also picks up different genetic markers that inform you about current and possible future health issues.
The information you get from this test can help you and your vet make decisions right now that will help your cat remain healthy long term.
You receive a box with everything you need to send the lab a sample of your cat’s DNA. They discontinued the use of the tape and sent us a swab to collect DNA instead. Apparently, using the hair tape was not a good consumer experience.
You must place the swap in the cat’s cheek pocket for at least ten seconds. This task is easy or challenging, depending on your cat’s personality. The cat we tested remains mostly mellow, so we faced no issues. After swabbing the inside of your cat’s cheek, you twist off the tube’s cap with the swab, turn it over, and close it again. That way, the swab is inside the stabilizing liquid of the tube. Now you place the sample in the provided biohazard bag. Don’t forget to note down the number on the sample tube. It’s necessary so you can access your information later.
Place everything back in the box, seal it, and ship it back to the lab. If you’re in America, your return postage is already paid. However, if you are in Canada or elsewhere, you will have to pay for the shipping. Basepaws claims that results are available after four to six weeks which is consistent with our experience.
The breed analysis lets us know how closely our cat resembles four basic categories created by Basepaws. It doesn’t tell you if your cat is 5% Persian or 30% Maine Coon since cats have only been selectively bred for the past hundred and fifty years. In contrast, dogs have been selectively bred for hundreds of years or more. That is why there are several distinct breeds. You will learn how much your cat is Western, Eastern, Persian, Exotic, or Polycat.
The next exciting information we get is the Wildcat index. This section lets us know how closely our cat resembles four different wildcats. Ours was closest to a tiger. The next and most valuable section is the health section. It looks at thirty-eight genetic markers that are linked to sixteen diseases. It lets you know how some mutations or lack of them decide which diseases your cat may be predisposed to.
One great thing we found is that Basepaws updates existing reports when they get new research or information. That means you keep getting new information as they improve their database.
Pros of Basepaws
- Learn about your cat’s ancestry and genetic makeup
- catch serious health concerns early
- Updates with further information
Cons of Basepaws
- Cannot tell you the exact breed of your cat
- new field with little research and knowledge
Who is Basepaws For
Basepaws is for the concerned cat owner who wants to learn more about their furry friend. If you are worried about your cat’s health in the future and wish to prolong its life, you need the Basepaws test. At the same time, if you want more knowledge available about the nutrition and healthcare of cats everywhere, you can contribute to science and get the complete DNA sequencing test.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Basepaws was the first DNA test for cats on the market. It was right to predict that the cat DNA space would grow. Since then, more companies have started DNA testing as well. An alternative to Basepaws is Wisdom Panel’s “complete for cats” test.
Our Final Thoughts
Basepaws were the pioneers in cat DNA testing, and they still have a long way to go. The DNA test is worth the money. The wealth of exciting information about your cat’s genetics and health will help you make the right decisions for its future.