January 14, 2016
Ever since I found my cat Gershwin as a kitten on the streets of Japan, I have wondered what breed he is. The vet in Japan believed he was an American shorthair, but I was not convinced. Fortunately my 10+ years of wondering will shortly come to an end, as it turns out you can get your pet’s DNA tested to discover their ancestry.
According to the University of California at Davis cats unlike dogs, do not have a long history of development. In fact, most cat breeds are not that old, it is estimated that they are less than 100 years old. Random bred cats from around the globe are said to come from 8 geographic regions of origin:
- Western Europe
- East Mediterranean
- Arabian Sea
- South Asia
- East Asia
The University of California at Davis says that “The Cat Ancestry test will determine if a cat descends from one or more of the 8 ancestral groups. Once the ancestral origin is determined, comparisons are done with 29 breeds of cats to determine if the cat has similarities to any of the reference breeds.”
After registering online, and uploading a photo and specifics about Gershwin, I was mailed out some cytology brushes to take a swab, and then send the sample via Australia Post back to the USA. The cytology brushes are different from cotton swabs, and are better at retrieving the sample for feline DNA testing.
I would not recommend using a courier company because as soon as you mention the word “swab” they freak out and think it is infectious, but if you do make sure you label your package as “sample from a non-infectious cat.” I sent my sample using Registered Post to the University’s PO Box address.
The test cost $120 US Dollars and you can purchase it online here.
Dog DNA testing can be done in Australia, for more information visit the Advance Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test.
The Cat DNA Results are in!
To my surprise Gershwin’s ancestry can be traced back to India and East Asia. He is thought to have similar DNA to the Japanese Bobtail, although he does not resemble the breed in appearance. Below are the results I received back from the university.