National Cat DNA Day falls on September 19th of each year. It celebrates advancement in feline genetics, which can help prevent health problems and help cat breeders pair their felines more accurately. This day also raises awareness about the importance of genetic testing when breeding cats.
This national day is exceptionally new—only coming about in 2020. This day isn’t as widely celebrated as others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate it.
Why Is Cat DNA Testing Important?
Testing a cat’s DNA may seem a bit excessive. However, DNA testing can help eliminate many genetic health conditions before breeding. If a breeder knows what cats carry what traits, they can better decide who to pair that cat with.
Many genetic traits are recessive. This means that a cat with only one copy of the trait won’t show any symptoms. However, if two cats with the recessive trait breed, kittens would have a 25% chance of developing the genetic condition. Without genetic testing, it can be nearly impossible to determine what cats are recessive and which aren’t. In this way, genetic testing can go a long way to preventing recessive traits that may harm the cat.
Similarly, genetic testing can help prevent dominant traits that don’t appear until later in life. Sometimes, a cat will develop the condition if they have one copy of the trait, but it may not become apparent until after breeding age. Therefore, knowing whether a cat has this trait before you breed them can be impossible unless you do genetic testing.
Sadly, genetic testing in cats has not gotten as much attention, especially compared to dogs. Many breed organizations and kennel clubs highly recommend genetic testing for dogs, but recommendations for cats have lagged. This day seeks to change that by bringing awareness to the benefits of genetically testing breeding cats.
Who Created National Cat DNA Day?
This day was created by Basepaws, a company that sells cat DNA testing. As you might imagine, this company focuses on feline DNA, so it makes sense that they would create a day surrounding their focus.
Basepaws offers many different testing kits for cats (and dogs). However, it’s pretty clear that research in cat DNA has fallen behind based on their offerings. For instance, their comprehensive health kit for dogs checks 280 markers, while their complete kit for cats tests 45 markers. There is a huge discrepancy between these two kits.
They can also identify the area your cat’s genetics might be from. However, they do not check for the specific breed of feline your cat might be due to the complexity of cat breeding.
This company isn’t one of the most popular DNA testers for pets. However, their comprehensive offerings have slowly increased in popularity over the last few years.
What Can Cat DNA Tell Me About My Cat?
Cat DNA can tell much about your feline, even if you aren’t a cat breeder. For instance, most cat DNA tests can tell you where your cat’s ancestors may be from. However, this isn’t as precise as a dog DNA test, as cat breeds tend to be less varied with fewer genetic distinctions.
DNA is best at predicting health risks. While DNA cannot determine the exact illnesses your cat will get, it can indicate that it carries certain genetic predispositions. Sometimes, having a trait means that your cat will get a condition. Other times, their genetics may make them more prone to a condition.
Temperament isn’t genetically driven, but DNA can hint at some predispositions.
These tests will typically tell you your cat’s blood type, which can be beneficial in an emergency. Having the DNA information can also be helpful if your cat gets lost. DNA is unique to every cat, so it may help you reunite with your feline.
How to Celebrate National Cat DNA Day
This day isn’t widely celebrated. If you want to celebrate it, you’ll often need to make your own celebration.
The easiest way is to share information about cat DNA on social media. You can share information about why selecting kittens from breeders who do genetic testing is essential, especially in less healthy breeds. You can get your cat’s DNA tested if you haven’t already. Preferably, you should do it before this day and then share the results on this day, which can also prompt others to share the results.
Donating to organizations researching cat illnesses can also be a great celebration of this day. While not all illnesses are related to genetics, many of them are. Plus, all health research can help save lives.
National Cat DNA Day isn’t widely celebrated. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t celebrate it. If you’re interested in getting your cat’s DNA tested, now is a great time to do so.
It’s also a great time to educate yourself and others about the importance of feline DNA testing, especially in cats that are being bred. DNA testing is an easy way to prevent kittens from inheriting genetic conditions from their parents.
Featured Image Credit: lev.studio, Shutterstock