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The 3 Best Cat DNA Tests: We Tried Them All

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Mallory Crusta/Cats.com

Cat DNA tests promise to help you understand your cat’s genetic ancestry and health, but each one is a little bit different. Some DNA tests focus on breed, while others concentrate on health markers or both. Are they accurate? What can they really tell you about your cat? And would you get the same results from testing the same cat with multiple kits?

To answer those questions and identify the best cat DNA tests on the market, I tried tests from three companies—Basepaws, Wisdom Panel, and Orivet.

After hours of research, over a month of waiting for reports, comparing the results, and taking some time to reflect, I’ve concluded that DNA testing probably isn’t worth it for most moggies.

It’s a new field of science, and the results are often more confusing than clarifying. And when you consider that 95% of cats are what the dog world calls super-mutts—meaning that, unlike dogs, they bred naturally and don’t descend from combinations of breeds—the idea of this kind of purebred family tree starts to look downright silly.

However, each of the three tests has something special to offer, and they could be worth it for some cats. Basepaw’s tests provide interesting dental health data, while the Wisdom Panel seems to have a stronger breed database. And while the Orivet test was dryly presented, I felt it was the most substantial and trustworthy of the three.

That said, let’s talk about what happened when I tried each of these three DNA tests and who I think will get the most out of each of them.

At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Cat DNA Tests

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We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

Picked by 31 people today!

Basepaws Breed + Health Test

  • Has the largest feline genetic database, promising more accurate data
  • Offers a dental report, which could save you a lot of money and pain
  • The collection process is quick, easy, and straightforward
Picked by 31 people today!

Wisdom Panel Complete DNA Test For Cats

  • Has the largest feline breed database, promising more accurate breed information
  • The report is streamlined and easy-to-read compared to the others listed here
  • Wisdom Panel’s processing time is quick compared to the competition
Picked by 25 people today!

Orivet Health Screen & Life Plan Cat DNA Test

  • Doesn’t offer any confusing breed information
  • Offers alternative products ideal for breeders

Top Pick Explained

Why Should You Trust Us?

At Cats.com, we independently purchase and test products with our own cats, spending at least 15 hours on each review. As a long-time cat product tester and reviewer, I’ve personally tested over 100 cat products, written dozens of reviews, and published over 150 videos analyzing cat brands, products, and solutions.

Additionally, I have a long history with cat DNA testing. I submitted my first cat DNA sample to the Basepaws lab in early 2020, and since then, I’ve gotten multiple reports for both of my cats, Wessie and Forest, and published in-depth articles and videos on the experience.

How We Tested

Packing up samples

To determine which of these DNA tests was the best, I tested all three, sending samples to the lab and taking notes on the experience. Mallory Crusta/Cats.com

I independently purchased kits from each of the three DNA testing companies, then swabbed and got reports for one of my cats, Wessie—a 14-year-old domestic shorthair with an orange tabby coat.

I took notes on how easy each of their collection methods was, how long it took to get the results back, and how much information was contained in each report.

In addition to looking at these products, I researched feline genetic testing and talked with multiple veterinarians, including Kash Kurruppu, DVM, the lead scientist at Basepaws, Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM, CVJ, one of our veterinary consultants, and a veterinarian in my local area.

#1 Basepaws Breed + Health Test Review

Basepaws Cat DNA Test Review Feature

Mallory Crusta/Cats.com

  • Swab Type: Soft Cotton Swab
  • Processing Time: 4-6 Weeks (My sample took 7 weeks)
  • Breeds: 21 Breed Types, 4 Regions
  • Health Markers: 64 Markers Tested + Dental Report
  • Traits: 50 Markers Tested
  • Price: $119.00

Recently purchased by the world’s largest animal healthcare company, Zoetis, Basepaws is a leader in cat genetic research and the world’s only cat-focused DNA testing company.

Their standard breed and health test package includes a breed test mapping your cat’s genetic similarity to 21+ breed types and 4 regions, 64+ genetic health markers, 22+ traits, and a dental health report.

The regular breed and health kit costs $119.00 in the Basepaws store right now, but the company runs promotions regularly, so I’d recommend checking for coupon codes before making a purchase.

Swabbing Wessie Basepaws test

The Basepaws test requires a single ultra-soft swab, held in the cat’s mouth for 15 seconds to collect a saliva sample. Mallory Crusta/Cats.com

Swabbing Wessie was relatively easy. It comes with a soft swab on a short stick, which you hold in your cat’s mouth for a few seconds and then invert into a jar of stabilizing fluid. After shaking it, you put that into an envelope and back in the box, which is self-addressed and prepaid, so you can just drop it off in your mailbox. Just remember to register your sample before you ship it off.

After 7 weeks of waiting for the DNA to be processed, the results came back by email.

Basepaws test kit report

Mallory Crusta/Cats.com

The report is broken into four sections—a breed analysis, an oral health report, a health report, and a traits analysis. The breed analysis mapped areas of genetic proximity, placing him at about 62% Western—the group containing American Shorthair, Siberian, and Maine Coon, among other breeds—and 24% Polycat, which is Basepaws’ cat word for a supermutt.

Curiously, these results had changed since I’d last generated a report. Wessie’s last Basepaws DNA test showed significant similarity to the Ragdoll breed and very little to the American Shorthair, while my second test showed a lot of overlap with the American Shorthair and none with the Ragdoll. Confusing, to say the least.

Moving on from the breed report, the Basepaws test said he was clear of any genetic health markers and that his blood type is probably A. As for traits, he is a carrier of the gene for a black coat. The test also includes a dental health test, which told me that Wessie had a high risk for periodontal disease and bad breath, and a moderate risk of tooth resorption. Worryingly, his tooth resorption risk had gone up since last year’s test.

The test relies on comparison to other cats in the Basepaws database, so the information you get in the report gets better over time. If you get the standard test, you’ll get updated information regularly on everything besides health markers, and if you get the whole genome test—an expensive alternative that sequences your cat’s whole genome—you’ll get updates on everything, including those health markers.

While I like that the Basepaws report improves over time, the changes I’ve seen between Wessie’s old report and the new one confused me more than anything else. They made me wonder how, exactly, these areas of proximity are defined. In short, the breed report should be taken with a grain of salt and tempered expectations.

What I Liked

  • Has the largest feline genetic database, promising more accurate data
  • Offers a dental report, which could save you a lot of money and pain
  • The collection process is quick, easy, and straightforward
  • Owned by a massive animal healthcare company

What I Didn’t Like

  • Had the longest waiting period of any of the tests I tried
  • Confusing and potentially misleading breed report

#2 Wisdom Panel Complete DNA Test For Cats Review

  • Swab Type: 2 Soft Bristle Swabs
  • Processing Time: 2-3 Weeks (My test took almost 4 weeks)
  • Breeds: 70+ Tested
  • Health Markers: 45+ Tested
  • Traits: 25+ Tested
  • Price: $129.99

While Wisdom Panel is better known for its dog DNA tests and only recently introduced a test for cats, the company claims to have been working with breeders on feline genetic research since 2016. Wisdom Panel seems to be less involved in cat genetic research than Basepaws, but claims to have a larger cat breed database, referencing 70+ cat breeds—significantly more than Basepaws’ 21+ breeds.

However, it seems to be a little bit weaker in terms of its health markers, with just 45+ markers tested, and its traits analysis is also a bit lighter, with just 25+ traits tested.

The Complete DNA Collection Kit from Wisdom Panel costs $129.99 and offers a breed analysis, health markers, and traits.

Collecting the Wisdom Panel sample

Instead of just one swab, the Wisdom Panel test kit uses two soft swabs to collect a saliva sample. Mallory Crusta/Cats.com

Collecting Wessie’s saliva sample was a little bit more challenging with the Wisdom Panel test kit. I had to swirl two spoolie-like bristled swabs in his cheek pocket for 15 seconds, then carefully let them dry for several minutes. After registering the sample, I packaged it up and sent it off to the Wisdom Panel lab. After just under 4 weeks, my results came back via email.

Like the Basepaws test, the Wisdom Panel report said that Wessie’s genetics mostly lie in the Western breed group, but it broke it down a little differently. Instead of separating the Polycat and Western groups, it lumped them together, categorizing Wessie as mostly “American Domestic Cat”. Unlike the Basepaws test, it said that he also seemed to have significant areas of proximity to Siberian and Ragdoll breeds.

Wessie's Wisdom Panel Breed Results

Mallory Crusta/Cats.com

To add to the confusion, Wisdom Panel provides a speculative family tree, which suggests that Wessie’s parents may have been a regular moggy and a moggy-Radgoll mix, which is interesting, but not very conclusive. Combined with contradictory results from Basepaws, I felt more confused than anything else when reading this report.

Wessie's Wisdom Panel health report

Mallory Crusta/Cats.com

The health tab showed that Wessie was clear of all 49 genetic health markers, and after doing 28 genetic traits tests, they identified a few interesting traits.

Wessie's trait report Wisdom Panel

Mallory Crusta/Cats.com

One was that he has one copy of the colorpoint gene as well as the solid gene, the latter of which lines up with the results from Basepaws. They also identified that he probably has short straight fur, a long tail, and a normal number of toes, which also aligned with the Basepaws report.

Overall, I felt the Wisdom Panel DNA test report was cleanly presented, and with its larger breed reference database, it seems like it should have a stronger breed report. However, the differences between the Basepaws and Wisdom Panel breed reports left me scratching my head.

What I Liked

  • Has the largest feline breed database, promising more accurate breed information
  • The report is streamlined and easy-to-read compared to the others listed here
  • Wisdom Panel’s processing time is quick compared to the competition

What I Didn’t Like

  • Tests for fewer health markers than some other tests

#3 Orivet Health Screen & Life Plan Cat DNA Test

  • Swab Type: 2 Soft Bristle Swabs
  • Processing Time: 3-4 Weeks (My test took 5 weeks)
  • Breeds: N/A
  • Health Markers: 17 Tested
  • Traits: 13 Tested
  • Price: Out of stock

The Orivet test was developed for breeders and veterinarians, giving information on the cat’s predisposition to certain genetic conditions. It doesn’t tell you anything about the cat’s breed, but that’s part of its beauty—by not dabbling in this more speculative science, the Orivet test avoids giving you anything unclear, confusing, or misleading.

On their website, you can order specific tests recommended for certain breeds or just a single test to find out if your cat has a certain marker. That can be a good option if you only want to test for things that apply to your cat. Owners of purebred cats, breeders, or veterinarians may appreciate this ability.

At Out of stock, the test is moderately priced compared to the other kits listed here.

Orivet swabs

The Orivet test kit involves two bristle swabs, which are placed in the cat’s cheek for 15 seconds, then air-dried before returning to the lab. Mallory Crusta/Cats.com

Similarly to the Wisdom Panel test, the Orivet health screen kit involved two soft bristle swabs, which I swirled in Wessie’s mouth for 15 seconds before letting them dry. Once the kit was registered, I sent the sample off to the lab. Orivet took 5 weeks to process the sample.

The results arrived via email with a link to the Orivet website. However, my results weren’t accessible from my account page. I contacted customer support, and they sent me a PDF to reference instead.

Orivet test results

Mallory Crusta/Cats.com

And while I was happy with my customer support experience, Orivet’s presentation was still generally confusing. The website is labyrinthine and counterintuitive, and even the PDF report is trickier to navigate than the others reviewed here. As a report oriented toward professionals, it lacked the fun illustrations and helpful hand-holding in the other reports.

The report said that Wessie’s sample came back negative for any mutations associated with health issues. It suggested that his blood type is A or AB, and it echoed Wisdom Panel in recognizing one copy of the colorpoint gene.

While I do tend to trust the Orivet Health Screen’s results the most of any of the tests I tried, it’s certainly not as fun as the others. I’d recommend this test to people who want serious, solid information about their cats’ genetic health.

What I Liked

  • Doesn’t offer any confusing breed information
  • Offers alternative products ideal for breeders

What I Didn’t Like

  • Offers the fewest tests and markers of any of the kits here
  • The website is difficult to navigate
  • Less accessible and fun than other DNA tests

The Right Cat DNA Test for You Depends on Your Needs

Collecting cat DNA sample from Forest

The best DNA test for your cat is the one that meets your needs—whether that’s better health data or a more fun experience. Mallory Crusta/Cats.com

While I came away from the experience no more confident about Wessie’s genetic background than before, I felt that Wisdom Panel offered the overall best user experience, with very readable results and a somewhat more satisfying traits report.

However, for those seeking a deeper understanding of the feline genome, Basepaws may be a stronger long-term investment. It’s owned by the world’s largest animal healthcare company, Zoetis, and it’s deeply involved in multiple facets of feline genetics research.

While it feels a bit bloated and insubstantial now, Basepaws’  breed report may end up being the more robust one over time. Remember that as Basepaws expands, your report will continually update. As a long-term investment, and for those who want insights into their cat’s dental health, I would recommend Basepaws.

As for Orivet, this test is best suited to breeders and other professionals. The report is simply-delivered and conservative, only offering traits and health markers with no speculative breed information. It’s not a fun test, but it also seems like the most trustworthy and sensible of the three reviewed here.

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About Mallory Crusta

Mallory is the Head of Content at Cats.com and an NAVC-certified Pet Nutrition Coach. Having produced and managed multimedia content across several pet-related domains, Mallory is dedicated to ensuring that the information on Cats.com is accurate, clear, and engaging. When she’s not reviewing pet products or editing content, Mallory enjoys skiing, hiking, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She has two cats, Wessie and Forest.

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  1. Vera

    Hi Mallory, Wondering if “Naturo” grain free chicken mousse wet cat food is a complete diet food.
    One of the ingredients list sunflower oil.
    Is that a concern since I believe I saw on your site that it was an ingredient not well liked.
    My cat loved it as soon as I open the plastic container.
    She couldn’t wait and devoured it. That never happened with any other complete diet cat food. Including “Feline Natural”
    Thank you,