How old must my kitten be to have an MyCatDNA™ test?
DNA testing can be performed on a cat of any age, and MyCatDNA™ results will not change with age. Blood samples can be obtained from kittens as soon as the cat is large enough for your veterinarian to obtain 1-2 mLs of blood (less than one teaspoonful) safely. Swab samples can also be taken on young kittens, though it is best to wait until the kitten is weaned to prevent contamination from the queen’s milk or skin, or until the kitten is nursing infrequently such that a cheek sample can be taken three hours after last nursing or food.
Will MyCatDNA™ test results change as my cat gets older?
No. Although mutations can occur within individual cells throughout life, a cat’s DNA does not change with age. Some specific tests may be added or removed as technology changes.
Will Wisdom Health™ certify untested kittens classified as clear by parentage?
No. We recommend always testing cats that will be bred. It is best to leave relying on "Clear by parentage" for pets or cats that won't be bred.
If I submit a sample now and a new test becomes available in the future, will you be able to use the same sample to update my results?
No. A new sample will be needed in the event you wish to update results on a previously tested cat, as all new genotyping will need to be performed.
How accurate is MyCatDNA™ testing?
More than 3 million pet parents worldwide have chosen Wisdom Health Genetics, the world leader in pet genetic testing, and we have offered feline genetic testing for breeders since 2016. In our long history of testing dogs and cats, we’ve implemented quality controls to ensure at least 99% accuracy for our health tests.
How long does it take to get the results of my MyCatDNA™ test?
You should receive your results two to three weeks after your cat’s DNA sample arrives at our lab. That said, extended times sometimes occur due to circumstances beyond our control (e.g., volume at the lab, holidays, illnesses, natural disasters). You'll get an email notification when your results are ready. Please note—results are digital and available in your online account only. No physical report will be mailed, but you may download a printable technical report from your account.
Can I use MyCatDNA™ Feline on my non-pedigreed cat?
Yes, you would receive personalized results for your non-pedigreed cat for disorders, traits and diversity as compared to all cat breeds, with no breed-specific information or ancestry provided.
How do I use my MyCatDNA™ breeder kit to test my cat’s DNA?
Simply follow the provided instructions to collect a sample from the inside of your cat's cheek with the included swabs. (If you have additional questions about sample collection, please see our guide.) Then, using the"Test Sample ID" on your kit’s box, activate your kit online and mail the swabs back to our laboratory in the postage-paid packaging. Approximately 2-3 weeks after the sample arrives at our lab, you'll get an email letting you know that your report is ready to view in your account at www.mycatdna.com.
Can the MyCatDNA™ test determine the sex of the cat tested?
Yes, we are able to see your cat's genetic sex in the raw report data. But their results will default to showing the gender you enter when activating the test kit.
What is the MDR1 mutation, and can cats have it?
In both cats and dogs, the Multi-Drug Resistance 1 (MDR1) gene is responsible for the production of a protein called P-glycoprotein—a transport pump that helps limit the absorption and distribution (particularly to the brain) of many veterinary medications. But a mutation in this gene may cause the pump to malfunction, resulting in adverse reactions to common medications. If your cat tests positive for the MDR1 mutation, it’s important to tell your veterinarian so they can plan your cat’s care accordingly. For example, they may prescribe lower doses of certain drugs or avoid others entirely.
Can the MyCatDNA™ test estimate my cat’s age?
Currently, there is no clinically validated, commercially available method for determining a pet’s age using genetics. But your veterinarian may be able to provide an age estimate upon examination.
My cat’s MyCatDNA™ test traits results say they carry a trait that I don't see in them. Why is that?
The genetics of traits can be very complicated. It’s common for a cat to carry an appearance gene that’s not expressed because other traits override it. For instance, a solid white cat may carry the genes for a tabby patterning and coat color dilution. But you wouldn’t know it because the white removes all the pigment from the affected area of the coat—essentially hiding any color or pattern underneath.
I think some of my other cat’s DNA must have contaminated the sample.
Worried about DNA cross-contamination skewing results? Don’t be! As a quality control measure, our computer alerts us when a sample contains markers from more than one individual. (Another red flag is the presence of DNA from different species entirely. For example, the domestic cat has 19 chromosome pairs and a specific genetic structure that’s quite different from that of a canine, which has 39 pairs.) In such an event, we’ll send you fresh swabs so you can collect a new sample. If you think your cat’s sample may be contaminated and haven’t mailed it in yet, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
Can the MyCatDNA™ test certify a pedigree or purebred cat?
The MyCatDNA™ Feline DNA test is neither designed nor intended to determine or validate whether your cat is purebred. We recommend if you wish to have your cat registered with a pedigree that you contact a registry, such as TICA or CFA, to learn more.
I didn't see the instructions to wait at least two hours after my cat eats to swab, and I collected their sample right after they ate. Is it ruined?
We recommend the two-hour waiting period to reduce the risk of food particles encouraging bacterial growth on the swabs. If you can see food particles on the swab or have concerns about the sample, please contact our customer service team at email@example.com.
I tested littermates, and the results are different. How can that be?
Each kitten in a litter starts as a unique egg and sperm—much as fraternal twins do in humans. Documented instances of identical twins in cats are rare, so cat siblings are approximately 50% genetically related if they share both parents. But if more than one tom sires a litter, each kitten can have a different father. This would make the kittens half-siblings and only about 25% genetically related. In such cases, littermate kittens could have very dissimilar results. Another reason their results may differ has to do with which exact segments of DNA they inherit. Though each parent is responsible for passing down 50% of their genetic make-up to a kitten, the actual composition of that genetic contribution varies between siblings. This is due to the random nature of gene inheritance and a process known as “genetic recombination.”
Can kittens be tested with the MyCatDNA™ test?
Yes. Designed for cats of all ages, the MyCatDNA™ test is safe and easy to use at any stage in a cat’s life. That said, we recommend waiting until a kitten has been weaned to prevent cross-contamination from skin and other cells within the mother’s milk.
I don't believe my cat’s results are correct.
Genetics are complex, and it’s common to have questions. To ensure you’re confident in your cat’s results, we’re happy to go through them with you and have the data reviewed, if necessary. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
What if I want only a few of the tests and not the whole panel?
We understand that some of the tests included in the MyCatDNA™ test may not be relevant to all breeds, but we can’t single out specific tests due to the nature of our panel testing. We’re only able to offer a panel test at the current price, thanks to volume and automation. In other words, it costs less to report on all mutations using our custom chip than it would cost to run individual tests.
Which health tests are included in the MyCatDNA™ test?
Our list of disease-causing disorder tests is always growing. For the most up-to-date information, please reference our product page.
Will the MyCatDNA™ test identify my cat’s blood type?
Much like humans, cats can be split into blood types: A, B, and AB (sometimes called Type C). Genetic contributions from a cat’s mother and father determine their blood type. But unlike humans, cats have no universal donor blood type. And if a cat receives a non-compatible blood type during a blood transfusion, it may cause a severe, life-threatening reaction. But that’s not the only time blood type matters. For example, when kittens are nursing from their mother, they receive some of her antibodies from her milk. And if the mother cat’s blood type is different from that of her kittens, her antibodies may destroy their red blood cells. For these reasons, knowing your cat’s blood type—and sharing that information with your veterinarian—is critically important. The MyCatDNA™ test identifies four genetic variants which influence feline blood types and have been shown to be 99% consistent with serologic blood type in domestic cats. Cats carrying undetermined, new, or undiscovered variants or other genes may have a different blood type compatibility than what the test reports.
Can I transfer my cat’s DNA results to my breed registry?
Some breed registries accept health disorder results from the MyCatDNA™ test. At the bottom of your pet’s results summary page, you’ll find a technical report PDF that you may submit to your registry.
Is the MyCatDNA™ test FDA/EMA-approved?
At this time, the FDA and EMA do not regulate genetic tests for companion animals. So, there’s no requirement for FDA/EMA approval on the MyCatDNA™ test. That said, all Optimal Selection™ Feline tests are processed in a USDA-accredited and ISO-certified laboratory for proper quality control, and our MyCatDNA™ European processing facilities follow DS/EN ISO/ IEC 17025:2005 standards. We’re also regularly peer-reviewed and audited by independent experts who are leaders in their respective fields to ensure we deliver world-class genetic screening.
What happens to my cat’s sample at the laboratory?
Once we receive your cat’s sample, we scan it into our system and assign it to a batch for testing. We then extract the DNA, and screen for markers associated with disorders, traits, and diversity. It normally takes 2-3 weeks from the time our lab receives a sample to complete the genetic testing and analysis.
How do you determine if a cat is at risk or a carrier of a genetic mutation?
The MyCatDNA™ test returns one of three results: clear, notable, or at risk. Here’s what each label means.
- Clear: Both copies of the relevant gene were healthy (or no mutated copies were detected).
- Notable: The disease in question requires two mutated copies of the associated gene, but we detected just a single mutated copy. This means your cat is only a carrier of this mutation and shouldn’t be at risk of developing the disease. But if you’re breeding them, you’ll want to make sure their potential mate is clear of the mutation. Otherwise, the offspring could inherit two copies and develop the health condition.
- At risk: We detected either two mutated copies for a variant that requires two copies to express, or a single mutated copy in a dominant mutation (one requiring only a single mutated gene to be expressed). Cats with two copies of a mutation will pass one copy to each of their offspring. So, you’ll want to carefully consider any “at risk” results when making decisions about a breeding program.
Why does my cat have blue eyes?
Blue eyes are classically caused by a lack of pigment within the iris, or colored portion of the eye. All kittens are born blue-eyed, only to gain their true eye color around six weeks of age. But for cats whose eyes stay blue, one of two known genetic factors could be at play. In some cat pedigrees, blue eyes tend to be “fixed,” or predictable. This is especially true in breeds with color points, as a recessive albinism gene is what causes their coat color restriction. Other cats may have white fur (which is actually a lack of color pigment) around the eye. This produces an effect similar to albinism, and it can also result in odd eyes, or heterochromia—when a cat has one blue and one pigmented eye. Cats with Dominant White may also have varying degrees of hearing impairment.
My cat is "at risk" for a disease. Does this mean they will definitely get it?
Not necessarily. A cat that’s "at risk" for a disease-causing genetic mutation usually has one copy of a dominant mutation or two copies of a recessive mutation (although, there are a few exceptions), but they may never show clinical signs of the disease. The MyCatDNA™ test does not provide a clinical diagnosis. Rather, it’s meant to give you and your veterinarian advanced warning for potential conditions so you may watch for signs and diagnose conditions early.
Does the MyCatDNA™ test for the Red (Orange) gene?
Currently, the MyCatDNA™ test does not test for the Red gene. This gene produces the orange coat coloration known as yellow, ginger, and marmalade. But its precise location is yet to be published in the scientific literature.
My cat’s coat color is orange/tortoiseshell/calico, but the genetic test did not identify this trait. Why?
Currently, the MyCatDNA™ test does not test for the Red gene. This gene produces the orange coat coloration known as yellow, ginger, and marmalade. But its precise location is yet to be published in the scientific literature. That said, we know the dominant Red gene is located in the X chromosome, and the mutation hides other pigments of the coat. Ginger cats are typically males with only one X chromosome. Tortoiseshell and calico (a red patched pattern on the coat) cats are almost always female. Female cats have two X chromosomes, but a process called X chromosomal inactivation causes only one per cell to be active. Depending on which versions of the Red gene are present in the active X chromosomes, an area of the cat’s coat may be red or any other color that the Red mutation hides. Only white (technically the absence of pigment) can hide red pigment expression.
My cat tested as solid (non-agouti), but they clearly show tabby markings. How can this be?
The most common cause of tabby markings in a cat testing as solid colored (a/a) is if the cat also carries Dominant Red/orange. The dominant red gene “turns off” the effects of solid coloring, allowing tabby markings to be shown. This phenomenon is called epistasis. Therefore, tortoiseshell, calico, and solid orange cats will always show tabby markings in the orange portions of their coat. MyCatDNA® and Optimal Selection™ Feline do not currently test for orange.
Do you test for tabby types (mackerel, classic, marbled)?
MyCatDNA® and Optimal Selection™ Feline do not currently test for modifiers of tabby patterning, but we are working on it!
How do I collect a good DNA sample for my cat?
- Quickly inspect your cat's mouth between their cheek and gums to make sure it’s clear of food debris. (To reduce the odds of finding food debris, wait to swab until at least two hours after your cat eats.)
- Open the swab sleeve and remove the swabs—but avoid touching the applicator. Then, firmly roll and rotate the swab's applicator against the inside of your cat’s cheek. At the same time, use your other hand to gently apply pressure from the outside of your cat’s mouth (if possible) to ensure good contact between the cheek and swab. Allow the swabs to dry for at least five minutes before returning them to the sleeve.
- Consider cat-friendly handling techniques, such as towel wrapping. And keep in mind, some cats do best when handled on the ground, whereas others may be more compliant on a counter-height surface.
- To ease the stress,, it’s fine to take short breaks when swabbing your cat’s cheek. For instance: swab for 2 seconds, pause for 5-10 seconds, and repeat for a combined total swabbing time of 10-15 seconds. Afterward, be sure to reward all involved with high-value treats.
- See it done - watch our video on how to swab.
When did the Optimal Selection™ Feline and MyCatDNA® tests launch?
Wisdom Health began work with the feline breeder community in 2015 to develop a comprehensive DNA analysis for feline breeders to help make informed breeding decisions. Based on this work, Optimal Selection™ Feline was launched in November 2016, and MyCatDNA™ in 2018.
Why should I choose the Optimal Selection™ Feline or MyCatDNA® tests instead of other DNA tests on the market?
Optimal Selection™ Feline and MyCatDNA™ tests are the world’s most comprehensive cat DNA tests. So, your cat’s results can certainly help you take better care of them and make informed breeding decisions. But they’ll also empower us to improve the lives of cats everywhere for generations to come. Our scientists have been studying dog DNA for more than 20 years and cat DNA for more than five, but there's always more to learn. By testing your cat with Optimal Selection™ Feline or MyCatDNA™, you're contributing to the largest veterinary genetic research study—ever. Each test carries us closer to the next scientific breakthrough in pet health.
Factor XII deficiency reporting changes
There are two known variants for Factor XII deficiency. In 2020, the second variant was added to MyCatDNA™, with a renaming of the variants for clarity. What was formerly called Factor XII deficiency has now been renamed Factor XII Deficiency, Variant 1. The following key may be helpful:
Prior to October 2020
Factor XII deficiency
Factor XII deficiency (Variant 1)
Factor XII deficiency (Variant 2)
We have found that Variant 2 is more widespread than Variant 1. If a kitten was tested after October 2020 and found to carry Factor XII deficiency, and its parents tested clear prior to that time, the likely cause is Variant 2. The parents can be retested to verify Factor XII Deficiency (Variant 2) status if desired.
Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VI reporting changes
As we have learned more about the behavior and frequency of this disorder, we have made updates to the reporting of the two known Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) Type VI variants. The variants have been renamed and the disorder descriptions have been updated for improved clarity. The following key may be helpful:
prior to October 2020
Oct 2020-May 2021
MPS Type VI typical form
MPS Type VI Variant 2
MPS Type VI
MPS Type VI Variant 1
MPS Type VI modifier
MPS Type VI Variant 1 was renamed as a modifier because it was found that the cat must also inherit one copy of the primary disorder variant (formerly Variant 2), at which time the modifier variant may then have an effect on the severity of the disease. The Modifier variant is not typically associated with disease when present without the primary disorder variant. Thus, cats with one or two copies of only the modifier variant, and no copies of the primary disorder variant, are considered carriers. Although they are not at risk for development of the disorder, they may pass the modifier variant on to their kittens if bred.
MPS Type VI (formerly Variant 2) is also known by the name MPS Type VI severe form. While MPS Type VI modifier (formerly Variant 1) corresponds with MPS Type VI mild form.
Blood type reporting changes
MyCatDNA™’s DNA-based blood type determination screens for four genetic variants determining blood group AB in pedigreed cats in accordance with the latest scientific literature. Wisdom Health™’s own research confirmed that a genetic variant resulting in blood type B in Turkish breeds significantly improved DNA-based blood type testing in the European Shorthair, Siberian cat, Turkish Angora and Turkish Van, and also increased the accuracy of DNA-based blood typing in over 10 different breeds. Reporting for this variant began in 2018, and is now called b variant 2. The genotyping for an additional third genetic variant resulting in blood type B in Ragdoll was confirmed by Wisdom Health™’s own research and genetic testing for this variant has been offered since October 2021 as a part of the MyCatDNA™ test, now called b variant 3. B variants have been renamed in current reports to reflect these additions. We will continue both in-house research efforts as well as monitoring of outside research findings to ensure that your cat’s blood type results are based on the most current understanding of this complex subject. Reports continue to return blood type A, B, or AB based on these findings. The following table summarizes reporting changes:
prior to November 2018 blood type determination based on:
November 2018-September 2020 blood type determination based on:
October 2020-current blood type determination based on:
When will printable reports be available?
The Technical Report feature is now available! Visit the Summary page within your results and click ‘Download Technical Report’ to access your printable report.
Where are the Cat Blood Type results?
The Cat Blood Type feature is now available for all users with the new web experience and it can be found at the bottom of the Health tab.
Where are the Genetic Relationships graphs?
We are exploring new and better ways to convey the information found in the Genetic Relationships graphs (also known as the MDS graphs). For the time being, they will not be available.
What happened to the Breeder Tool?
To provide better support and improve the experience of all customers, we’re consolidating all products onto the same web platform. Due to the technical complexity of supporting the Breeder Tool for our large breeder base, it will not be available in the immediate future. We are exploring ways to bring this functionality to our users in future updates.
I’m a breeder or affiliated with a breed association. Is there a discount code available to me at this time?
Yes. We will continue to honor existing discounts for cat associations and groups that use Optimal Selection™ or MyCatDNA™. Multi-kit discounts are available for all breed product purchases of four (4) kits or more.
My breed is not listed in the dropdown options on kit activation! How can I get my breed added?
You are welcome to select “Other breed” and type the name in. You may also send an email to our customer service team to request addition of your breed at email@example.com; we update our breed list every 6-12 months. We request you provide some background information on your breed, and if the breed is rare, you are welcome to request additional information on how Wisdom Health can support early adoption of health testing in your breed.
Why do you no longer offer testing for rexing coat type mutation in Selkirk Rex?
Wisdom Health™ is committed to providing trustworthy results to breeders. With recent updates to our testing process, and because this particular genetic variant is challenging to test using the technology of MyCatDNA™, we have chosen to halt reporting on this disorder until a more robust assay can be developed.
Why are sample documentation sheets no longer sent to the laboratory with the samples?
Sampling documentation is needed to verify that the samples have been taken officially by a veterinarian when official test results are required by a cat registry or a breed club. We recommend that our customers keep the signed sampling documentation to themselves to be able to show it to the authorities together with the test results when requested. We are exploring ways to bring scanning functionality for our users to be able to save the sample documentation on their user account. (Will this functionality be available to customers any time soon? LH)
You detected one or two copies of polydactyly, but my cat does not show extra digits. Why is this?
MyCatDNA™ tests for three variants responsible for polydactyly, or extra toes, on the front or all four feet. However, cats with one copy of one of the variants have about a 50% chance of having extra digits. Cats with two copies of this variant are even more likely to have extra toes, but even then, in some cases, they will have no extra digits.
My cat is polydactyl, but your test says the normal amount of toes is likely. Why is this?
MyCatDNA™ tests for three variants responsible for polydactyly, or extra toes, on the front or all four feet. However, other variants are suspected to cause polydactyly in certain breeds (e.g. Maine Coon) which are currently unknown.
My cat has a short tail, but your test says a long tail is likely. Why is this?
MyCatDNA™ tests for two known variants responsible for natural bobtail, but other variants are known to exist. If your cat has a short tail but is negative for one of these variants, he or she may be carrying another variant causing bobtail, or in some cases, trauma or other causes may result in a shortened tail.
My cat has a Lykoi coat type, but your test says a normal coat is likely. Why is this?
MyCatDNA™ tests for two known variants responsible for Lykoi coat, but other variants are likely to exist. Two copies of any Lykoi variant are required to show this coat type. If your cat has a Lykoi coat type but was found to carry 0 or 1 copy of these variants, he or she may be carrying another variant
My cat is hairless/bald, but your test says a normal coat is likely. Why is this?
MyCatDNA™ tests for one variant of hairlessness, the form found in the Sphynx, but other variants are known to exist. Notably, the hairlessness found in the Russian breeds Donskoy (Don Sphynx) and Peterbald is caused by a different genetic variant than that of the Sphynx, and is not included in testing at this time.
My cat has a rexing coat type, but your test says a normal coat is likely. Why is this?
MyCatDNA™ tests for two variants of rexing, that of the Cornish and German Rex, and the Devon Rex. The previously reported Selkirk Rex genetic variant has become challenging to test using the technology of MyCatDNA™ with recent updates to our testing process. Because of this, we have chosen to halt reporting on this trait until a more robust assay can be developed. If your cat’s rexing is caused by the variant found in the Selkirk Rex or from another variant, such as demonstrated by the Tennessee Rex, your report will indicate a normal coat is likely because these are different genetic variants than those being tested at this time.
Do you offer a genetic testing for coat color pattern called Ticking?
MyCatDNA™ does not currently test for variants associated with the coat pattern known as Ticking, which is characterized by multicolored or multiple (e.g. 2-3) bands of color on the hair shaft. Ticking appears to be epistatic to, or mask, most tabby markings, showing only the agouti pattern if the cat is non-solid. It is most commonly seen in the Abyssinian, Somali, Singapura and Asian breeds, but can also occasionally be seen in random-bred cats.
What variants for HCM are you testing? Can I use genetic testing to rule out the occurrence of HCM in my breeding?
MyCatDNA™ tests for two variants of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), the A31P mutation found in the Maine Coon, and the R820W mutation found in the Ragdoll. Both variants are located in the MYBPC3 gene. However, HCM has also been found in about 5.4% of Maine Coons negative for A31P, thus indicating that this mutation is not the sole cause of HCM in Maine Coons, and other genetic variants contributing to the risk of HCM are likely. Because HCM cannot be reliably detected by routine examination, lines or breeds suspected to be at risk of HCM should be examined at least once a year by a veterinarian, preferably a cardiologist, and an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) used for screening, definitive diagnosis and characterization of severity.
Is the test result for Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) reliable for all breeds?
As MyCatDNA™ is a panel test, the submitted cat’s sample will be tested against all reportable health disorders regardless of the breed indicated at kit activation. The PKD1 mutation included in the current panel behaves in an autosomal dominant manner, and is historically associated with PKD in Persians and Persian-derived breeds. It has also been noted in other breeds, such as the Devon Rex, Siberian, Siamese and random-bred cat family lines. It is worth noting that there is at least one other unidentified PKD variant within the cat population that we are not able to test for at this time, and it acts in a recessive fashion.
I tested using MyCatDNA™ a few years ago but the new report is missing some tests that were originally reported. Where are they?
The old reports are still available in your account and should have all the tests that were available when the panel was originally processed. To find the original (legacy) report select “manage pet profile” under the cat in question and scroll down to the bottom of the page; the PDF link for the legacy report can be found there. When older tests were migrated to the new platform, only tests that are performed in the same manner now as they were then could be moved over; otherwise the specific test information on the details page would be incorrect. Some of the tests in question are Colorpoint Siamese (cs) and Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PK Def).
How does your diversity score compare to COI?
The genetic diversity measurement found in MyCatDNA™ is based on genotyping specific single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the genome and calculating the times a same (homozygous) or different (heterozygous) variant was inherited from the parents. All heterozygosity calculations in our products have been calculated based on the same SNP panel maintained on our custom microarray chip. This is notable because calculations from different sources can differ slightly due to differences in the marker sets used.
COI is typically based on recent pedigrees and is associated with the probability of inheriting two copies of the same allele (or sometimes a haplotype, being a large genomic chunk of inherited alleles) from common ancestors. Diversity (or heterozygosity) scoring is based on genetic testing at a number of genomic locations that are informative of overall variability within a population.
It’s worth noting that measuring genetic diversity is measuring an association with inbreeding, rather than directly measuring inbreeding. In addition to recent family inbreeding, MyCatDNA™ diversity score reflects long-term population “inbreeding” which can be very important in breeds that have had small, relatively closed populations for many generations. This genetic diversity measurement is most useful when comparing the score against the provided population’s score as both were created using the same method and genetic marker set.