Nonmatter their adorable Maine coon characteristics, there are a variety of Maine Coon health tests you can take that will give you a comprehensive look at your Maine Coon’s genetics.
Some tests can tell you about your cat’s breed or coat genetics, while other tests can warn you about genetic disorders like Spinal Muscular Atrophy or Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Not withstanding, the Maine coon characteristics makes it a go to cat breed when looking to buy cats.
You can purchase a testing kit from a variety of laboratories. Once you receive your test kit, you will need to provide a cheek swab sample or a serum (blood) sample, which you can send back to the laboratory for results. Many breeders get comprehensive DNA testing to ensure their breeding cats will not pass on any disorders to their kittens.
If you would like to learn more about your cat’s health, or you suspect your cat might be a Maine Coon, then you should consider getting a genetic test.
Read on to find out which tests you can get for your cat.
Maine Coon Health Tests
The Maine coon characteristics makes it a famous cat breed known for being intelligent, loyal, and loving.
These cats are also much more hardy than most purebred cats, which makes them a great choice for a family pet as there are less Maine Coon health risks to be concerned about.
Many pedigree cat breeds result from a genetic mutation that caused unusual fur texture, color, or other attractive physical traits.
Since genetic mutations are rare, cat fanciers who want to preserve this oddity end up breeding cats with their relatives, which makes cats much more prone to diseases.
However, some genetic mutations are harmful to the cat, such as the restriction of the breathing chambers that results in the characteristic flat face of a Persian.
The Maine Coon, however, is a naturally occurring breed that developed in the state of Maine.
As a result, Maine Coons are typically much healthier than other purebred cats. However, they can still be prone to some health problems.
Thankfully, you can test for genetically inherited disorders in cats.
Here are some reasons why you might want to DNA test your Maine Coon:
1. Understanding Your Cat’s Health
Whether you purchased your Maine Coon from a trusted breeder, a rescue, or somewhere else, genetic tests can give you a more comprehensive idea of your cat’s health.
For example, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a fatal genetic disorder that cannot be cured.
It can be easier for owners to know about potential health issues early on, so they can either learn how to help their cat or prepare for their cat’s passing.
2. Ensuring Your Breeder Is Truthful
Most Maine Coon breeders include a guarantee that all of their breeding cats have been genetically tested.
If you want to make sure, though, you can always order genetic tests independently.
Purchasers that have signed an agreement guaranteeing their cat does not have any of those genetic disorders but then receive tests confirming otherwise, should be able to get their money back.
3. Deciding If Your Cat Is Healthy Enough To Breed
If you are a responsible Maine Coon breeder, then you will make sure to order DNA testing for all of your breeding cats.
Even though some disorders require two copies of the gene to be expressed, all of your breeding cats should test fully negative for any disorder.
This keeps the Maine Coon pedigree line healthy and ensures all of your kittens will live long happy lives.
4. Learning About Your Cat’s Ancestry
DNA tests do not just reveal the health of your cat.
You can also order DNA tests to determine what breed your cat is!
If you believe you might have a Maine Coon, but you are not sure, getting a DNA test to confirm this can be an exciting process.
What Cat Genetic Tests Can You Buy?
Cat genetic testing can tell you a lot about your pet, depending on what you are testing for.
If you have decided that you would like to get your Maine Coon DNA tested, here are the different tests you can order:
Erythrocyte Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PK Deficiency)
The test for PK deficiency costs about $40 to $45. (Fact-checked May 2023).
This test requires a cheek swab, which you can send to Genomia or UC Davis for results.
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD1)
Like PK deficiency, the PKD1 test requires a cheek swab sample, which you can send to Genomia or UC Davis.
This test costs between $32 and $40. (Fact-checked May 2023).
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
To test for HCM, you will need to send in a cheek swab sample to UC Davis or Genomia.
This test costs $40 to $45. (Fact-checked May 2023).
HCM testing in cats is important because this fatal disease can be tested for early on, but symptoms don’t appear until later in life.
Learn more about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, in this article.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
You can test for SMA by sending a cheek swab sample to UC Davis or Genomia.
It costs between $40 and $45. (Fact-checked May 2023).
Learn more about spinal muscular atrophy, in this guide.
It is also possible to get a DNA test to determine if your cat has allergies.
You can get a comprehensive DNA test that looks for allergies to:
You will need to send in a serum (blood) sample of 3ml.
This test will cost you approximately $184 from Genomia (fact-checked May 2023).
You can get a full test of:
- Chlamydophila Felis
- Feline Leukemia Virus
- Feline Herpes Virus
- Feline Coronavirus
- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
This will cost you a total of $176 from Genomia. (Fact-checked May 2023).
If you would like to learn more about the genetics behind your Maine Coon’s coat, you can get a comprehensive test from Genomia for $220, which tests for:
- Long Hair
At UC Davis, you can also test for the albino gene for $40 or white dominant and white spotting genes for $50. (Fact-checked May 2023).
Maine coon characteristics (Breed)
To test for your cat’s breed, you can get a genetic profile DNA test from Genomia for $46.
You can test for your cat’s breed as well as for health problems for a total of $159 from Basepaws.
Maine Coon Health Risks
Even though Maine Coons are considered healthy breeds, you might still be wondering do Maine Coon cats have any health issues?
Unfortunately, there are still some genetically inherited conditions that Maine Coons can have.
So, what diseases are Maine Coons prone to?
Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Spinal Muscular Atrophy, also known as SMA, is a degenerative disease that has no cure.
SMA in Maine Coon cats cannot be reversed, but it is not fatal and it can be managed.
SMA appears during kittenhood. An otherwise healthy kitten may start walking with a swaying or limping gait.
Over time, their back legs will become weaker and weaker as the disease progresses.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy causes the neurons in a cat’s back and hind legs to degenerate until the cat is barely able to use them.
Cats with SMA cannot jump, run, or climb the same way that most cats can.
While SMA is not painful, cats with this condition require extra care so they can still have mobility despite their disability.
Learn more about Spinal Muscular Atrophy, in this article.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a genetically inherited disorder that generally does not present symptoms until later in life.
However, if a cat tests positive for HCM, there is no way to stop it.
This disorder causes the walls of the cat’s heart to slowly thicken over time until blood can no longer flow freely through it.
Sadly, this disorder ultimately results in death.
These are the main signs and symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
Also known as PKD, Polycystic Kidney Disease causes small cysts to form on a cat’s kidneys.