Basepaws Review

UPDATED Mar. 2020
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Basepaws is a pet genetics company founded in 2016 in Redondo Beach, California. Apart from developing the first ever consumer DNA test for felines, Basepaws is also famous for being a part of Singularity University’s 2016 Launchpad Incubator and winning the Japan TechPlanter SF Award.  

The ultimate goal of Basepaws is to create the largest biobank of pet genetic data using its proprietary budget-friendly sequencing technology. The biobank will serve to develop optimal animal models for preclinical testing in drug development for pets and humans.  

If you want to know how Basepaws plans to achieve its end goal and what it can do for your furry friend(s) along the way, read our comprehensive Basepaws review and learn all there is about the company and its services.  

Basepaws homepage

How Basepaws Works

Basepaws offers direct-to-customer feline DNA testing. This procedure entails the following steps: 

Placing an order – You can do this directly on the official website. To place an order, you have to provide the company with your payment details (the company accepts Visa, MasterCard, Amex, and PayPal), your first and last name, address, city, ZIP/postal code, state, and phone number. You also have to specify whether you are ordering the test for a hairless cat.

Collecting the sample – Once your personal Basepaws CatKit arrives at your address, all you have to do is collect your pet’s DNA sample. Your cat’s DNA will be extracted from hair follicles or buccal cells if you own a hairless feline. Note than hairs do not contain any DNA, just the follicles. Basepaws is highly committed to non-invasive sample collection, so the company will never request any blood samples for its testing.

Sending the samples back – After collecting your cat’s DNA sample, you need to send it back to the company’s lab in Los Angeles for testing.

Receiving the results – Basepaws has just recently started performing its DNA test, so the average turnaround time is between 2 and 6 months, which is rather long. The company intends to cut this time to 4 weeks in the future. Your results will be available online and you will also receive future updates free of charge 

Every Basepaws CatKit contains: 

  • Detailed instructions  
  • Hair-collection adhesive strips (or buccal swabs) 
  • Return postage 
  • Return envelope  
Basepaws how work

Why Choose Basepaws

Basepaws is one of the few companies on the market that focus on feline DNA sequencing. Apart from that, it also features a lot of additional benefits that might incline you to give it a shot. Some of these advantages include:

  • Top-of-the-line facilities and laboratory
  • Experienced team
  • Error-free tests
  • Simple testing procedure
  • Interesting results with many more features to come
  • Discover your cat’s potential wild relatives
  • Free updates to your results
  • Available worldwide
  • Free shipping in the US
  • Reasonable price
  • Research aimed at exploring the connection between certain genes and genetic diseases

Tests

Basepaws DNA test (95.00$) analyzes the DNA sample of your pet and provides you with vital information regarding its breed, heritage, and potential abnormalities in a few important genes.  

Unfortunately for cat lovers, feline DNA is not as thoroughly studied as, let’s say, canine or even mouse DNA. The company is dedicated to bridging this knowledge gap – and having a large DNA database is the first step in that direction. By testing your cat with Basepaws, you are not only learning more about your pet but also helping the progress of feline genetics as a scientific branch.  

Unlike its competitors, Basepaws actually sequences cat DNA, which includes DNA we currently know nothing about. Sequencing the entire genome (all DNA) of your cat is not exactly budget-friendly (this option costs $1,700), so Basepaws sequences only 27 million nucleotides.

Basepaws Tests

You are probably wondering why you would sequence and explore those parts of your cat’s DNA science knows nothing about. Basepaws intends to advance the field and identify the functions of every single gene in feline DNA. Every test comes with unlimited (and free) future updates, so your report will follow the latest scientific breakthroughs during the entire lifespan of your cat.  

Basepaws can also sequence the genes in your cat’s DNA without genetic packaging for 800$. The company also performs tests on specific cellular tissues for methylation or gene expression to help cats with cancer or other diseases and conditions. This service starts at 400$ 

Understanding The Results

In short, Basepaws feline test will tell you how closely your cat is related to select cat breeds and wild cats. The report will also include maternal/paternal tracing and indicate potential inbreeding. 

Breed Index

The current Alpha Report covers 23 popular cat breeds with many more to come. The blue markers on your result portal indicate the degree of likelihood for every breed. The markers can be wider or narrower, which simply shows the current state of Basepaws’ database for that specific breed, that is, how many DNA samples the company currently has for comparison.  

Wild Cat Index

The Basepaws Alpha Report features comparisons of your cat’s DNA to 16 different breeds of wild cats (tiger, puma, snow leopard, and others), which are listed in order of best match.  

If your cat shows high genetic similarities with snow leopards, it is probably caused by random inheritance since snow leopards cannot breed with housecats. On the other hand, if it shares a lot of genetic material with servals, it is quite possible that your cat has an actual wild serval somewhere in its family tree.

Basepaws has big plans for result instances that will go online in the future (in 2018/19), including Health Report (genetic health risks, carrier status for HCM and PKD, and potential genetic diseases), traits (personality predictions, physical traits, catnip-addict likelihood, and fun facts), wellness (diet recommendations and other assessments), and several bonus features (raw DNA data, report for your vet, and others).  

Research

Basepaws is currently conducting its own study trying to identify the genetic basis of specific diseases and traits. The company is handing out free DNA testing kits to all owners of unique cats that meet the study criteria.  

In order to qualify for participation, you have to submit records of listed diseases. The list of diseases is changed rather frequently and you can even make your own suggestions regarding the future course of research.  

The current list of diseases and traits of interest includes asthma, acromegaly, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, polycystic bowel disease (IBD), Porto-systemic liver shunt, and polycystic kidney disease. 

Privacy And Security

We already outlined all the personal information required by the company during registration in the previous sections of our Basepaws review. The collected info is used to:

  • Personalize your Basepaws experience
  • Improve the website 
  • Improve the service 
  • Administer a promotion, contest, survey and other site features 
  • Process your transactions quickly 
  • Ask for reviews and ratings 
  • Follow up after correspondence (phone, email or live chat inquiries) 

Basepaws uses cookies and doesn’t scan for malware or other vulnerabilities. We definitely hope Basepaws starts performing PCI compliant scans in the future since they are not optional. The official Privacy Policy states: “We do collect credit card information but did not know PCI compliant scans are now required.” This is a huge red flag regarding the security of your credit card information.

Furthermore, Basepaws’ Privacy Policy states this: “We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your Personally Identifiable Information unless we provide users with advance notice.” What does this mean exactly? That it is ok to share information that can identify you as an individual as long as the company lets you know in advance?  

Bottom line, Basepaws really needs to work on its privacy and security policy in order to make sure its customers can safely purchase and use its services.

Basepaws Privacy And Security

Shipping And Handling

Basepaws offers free shipping and prepaid return envelopes for US orders. International shipping has a flat fee of 15$. Note that the company doesn’t cover return shipping costs for international orders.

Bottom Line

Basepaws is definitely an ambitious company with its heart in the right place. The team is tackling a pretty neglected area of genetics and trying to connect the dots of feline DNA and explore this great unknown field one gene at a time. 

The company offers services that should be more than interesting for any cat lover and will further expand its final report in the future. Honestly, we want to see Basepaws succeed, which is why we recommended that it improves its privacy policy and security measures. The state of its privacy and security policy right now is enough to sink a much older and better-known company than Basepaws.  


User Reviews (14)

Basepaws customer rating based on 14 user reviews.

The Basepaws reviews listed below reflect the opinions and experiences of real users and are in no way influenced by the company reviewed here. Before publishing each review, our team checks whether it was submitted by an actual user in an effort to prevent false or spammy reviews.

  1. Beth | March 12, 2020

    I’m so excited to see the results! We adopted a mixed breed 2 year old names Simon and I just can’t wait to find out about his heritage. He looks like a blue Russian cat to me but my husband says that he’s too small to be a pureblood. We’ll just have to wait and see. Kudos for making it so easy to do everything by ourselves, it literally took a minute. Instructions were very clear.

  2. TRisha17 | February 21, 2020

    95$ isn’t cheap but I saw that the company will send a free testing kit to those who fit the criteria for its research purposes. My cat has asthma which qualified him for the research. I’ve sent a semple back but I’m still waiting for the results. The customer support ensured me I’ll be notified soon, I wrote them 3 times over the last 5 months and the results still haven’t arrived and I’m embarrassed to ask again.

  3. Corry White | February 10, 2020

    The results are pretty vague and the test only states the probability of your can being a certain breed or a mixture which is what I could have told you if I had to guess.

  4. Michael B | December 7, 2019

    Jerry is a 12 pound cat but he’s not overweight, he’s always been a large can with a bit of a wild side. He’s temper is unpredictable, he often growls and also doesn’t like to be touched. I’ve read that Basepaws DNA test does wild cat index testing and i was curious to see is Jerry has and big cat ancestors. Turn’s out he doesn’t, he’s just a regular spoiled domestic cat.

  5. Leah | November 3, 2019

    We found Milo in the shelter where my sister volunteers, he was such a funny looking little kitten with his long fur and orange eyes, he honestly looked like a gremlin and I knew that no one would want him so I insisted we bring him home. Now that he’s a grown up cat, he’s still a bit odd looking but I haven’t seen a cat that loves to cuddle so much and he also likes taking baths which was really strange to me so I’ve decided to do a DNA test and see where he was coming from. The test showed that Milo is in most part a main coon cat which now when I think about it makes perfect sense 🙂

  6. @4Paws32 | September 17, 2019

    When I’ve researched Basepaws I was really glad to see that I don’t have to take my cat to the vet to take a blood sample for the kit. It’s a big deal for me because Tom hates going to the vets. I’m glad that someone finally made health test available for kitties online.

  7. Chuck S | August 20, 2019

    At this price point Basepaws provides an incredibly cool limited genetic reading. It’s not fast or a complete DNA reading but provides enough info on DNA markers to be really helpful and interesting. Read their website in full. It provides every detail of their service and what we have received has been exactly as described.
    We tried with one intriguing adopted kitten unlike any I have ever known. At 13lbs and going we got a kit, waited a little over 4 months for the results and were really happy to get a report that described our Norwegian Forest kitty perfectly. We have since received an update on her profile and are very excited about what we might learn in future updates.
    We saw a promo time period and got kits for our other 2 ‘normal’ cats just for curiosity and entertainment.

  8. Steve Knight | May 11, 2019

    Don’t use this company, no real DNA tests : DNA testing. Saying a cat is 80% more like one than the rest is no help. You should be able to say your cat is 80% poodle and 20% Canada goose with authority. Lacking that, your DNA testing and results are worthless. I cannot recommend you to anyone I know.!

  9. Emily G | March 27, 2019

    I have had three of my cats DNA tested with Basepaws and I love what I’m seeing! This is still a very young company and every DNA sample they get helps them expand their data set and means more refined results for everyone. People that are getting their cats tested now may see results change some down the line but that is because they are constantly adding to the data set and I am so happy that my cats and I can contribute to knowledge that is going to be so beneficial in the future. For two of my cats, the results changed a fair bit from the first report to the current one and that is incredibly fascinating to me. I can’t wait until they are able to do more with the DNA such as parentage and disease potential. It can take a while to get the results back but it is well worth the wait for the information they are delivering and will be able to provide in the future! I have a total of 24 cats and I want to get them all tested eventually! If genetics interests you or you are an enthusiastic cat guardian who wants to know everything they can about their fur baby, this is a great way to get some fun info about your cat!

  10. Candice Middlebrook | March 22, 2019

    I’ve had two of my cats tested and am very pleased with both the results received and customer service this company provides. It has been very interesting to learn which cat breeds my kitties are most similar to and the info helps me better understand not only their possible ancestry and why they might have certain physical traits, but reasons for their behavior and likely health risks as well. Whenever I have had questions, they were quickly and thoroughly addressed. This company is currently growing and expanding their service, so I look forward to finding out more about my cat with their updates over time.

  11. Donna | January 22, 2019

    I contacted Basepaws initially because it had been 3 months. They told me it would take them to the end of January. About mid January I receive what seemed like a generic letter stating how unique my cat was & it was taking longer than usual. I write them again & ask so, I’m not getting my results by the end of January? My response was… you were told in the beginning it could take up to 5 months. So, if I didn’t want to wait, I could have a full refund. End of story. In other words… wait or shut up. I will never recommend this company to any of my friends & I have many animal friends & quick to recommend. Why would I want a full refund in my FOURTH month? You’ve made me wait this long!
    I felt the response was rude & uncaring.

    • Anna Skaya | March 25, 2019

      Dear Donna — My sincere apologies about our current timeline, and about the poor customer service. Most of our reports are done within the 8-10 week period, and very few need to be re-sequenced and *can* take up to 5 months. We are very transparent about this on our site — cat genetics is a new field, sometimes we make mistakes and need to re-do our work. I am especially sorry about the issues with communication with us — please do connect with me directly, I will be happy to support you >> anna@basepaws.com. – Anna Skaya, CEO @ Basepaws.

  12. Gena | August 13, 2018

    This is my 3rd review of BASEPAWS; initially I wrote a severe review, as I had
    a LOT of difficulty resolving “IT” issues..BUT Ms Skaya persisted until that was resolved..I was also upset that it took nearly 7months for just the breed results..
    However, as this is a VERY NEW company, they are still setting things in place, and
    I have found them–Ms Skaya in particular–to be VERY willing to accommodate, to
    LISTEN to remarks and suggestions. She is VERY QUICK to reply to emails, and very
    friendly…This is a “cat lovers” group.. So I have definitely changed my mind! If I COULD delete that initial review, I DEFINITELY WOULD!
    Gena

  13. Jared | April 7, 2018

    I realize the company is still young but come on, 5 months for results???

    • Anna Skaya | March 25, 2019

      Yes, some of our reports can take up to 5 months! This is due to genetics in general (it’s quite hard to get an accurate report, and mistakes are easy!) and cats specifically. Cats are understudies and underfunded, and our work is quite unique in the cat space. Breed-specific reports do tke time, but with more data we hope to bring the timeline to 8-10 weeks across 100% of our customers.

  14. Cat mommy 87 | November 24, 2017

    This is a great way to really get to know your babies! I can’t wait to get more updates and bonuses in the future.

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