Many people think that a vet would be able to tell what breed a cat is, but veterinarians aren’t cat breed experts. However, they can give you a hint about your cat’s breed based on its physical appearance.
But that’s only a hint, and it can never be used to determine a cat’s breed with a 100 percent guarantee.
However, veterinarians may suggest a cat DNA test if no pedigree documents are supporting the cat’s lineage and you want to know what cat breeds may be linked to your feline friend.
What is a veterinarian?
A veterinarian is a medical professional who serves and caters the animal healthcare needs. This includes small animals, birds, livestock, laboratory animals, and zoo animals. They diagnose animal health conditions, medicate injured animals, treat animals suffering from illnesses or infections, give vaccines for immunity to diseases, and perform animal surgery.
“Vet” is short for veterinarian. This is the common name for small animal veterinarians who do most of their jobs inside a private clinic where they treat pets like cats, dogs, birds, and other domestic animals. Vets can also perform counseling or advise owners about animal behavior, feeding, and breeding.
Veterinarians pledge to use their scientific skills and knowledge to benefit society by promoting public and animal health awareness, protecting the animal’s health itself, conserving animal resources, and advancing medical expertise.
Feline veterinarian duties
A feline veterinarian specializes in diagnosing, caring for, and treating health issues in cats. These professionals typically work at animal clinics or cat-exclusive hospitals.
A feline veterinarian’s typical duties include doing basic health exams, including drawing blood for blood tests, checkups for physical assessment, providing vaccinations, prescribing medication, and performing surgeries like spaying or neutering.
In addition to examinations and treatments, they also do post-surgical exams and monitor cats’ reproductive health if they are raised for breeding. They may also do more uncommon tasks such as cleaning a cat’s teeth.
These professionals have varied schedules. Most of them are usually “on-call,” meaning you contact them for potential emergencies whenever they happen, whether it’s the weekend or a national holiday.
They may also provide ‘mobile’ veterinary care, where they will drive to a client’s home with a van equipped with the necessary medical equipment to address a cat’s potential health issues.
DNA testing in cats
Feline DNA testing can help verify a cat’s parentage, helping an owner discover what inherited medical conditions their cat is susceptible to. But these tests that assess parentage and are generally described as a “genetic market report” and don’t necessarily determine a cat’s specific breed.
DNA testing is only for assessing health problems inherited by a cat and tracing their ‘lineage,’ but not their specific breed. It gives you an idea of where they’re from.
Many owners like to believe that their cat is a purebred or pedigree feline. However, in general, if you don’t know that your cat is purebred with a pedigree, then they aren’t. If they were purebred, you’d know through their certifications.
However, sometimes purebred cats do end up getting abandoned at shelters without any documents. So, there may be rare cases where a person has a 100% purebred cat, but they either can’t prove it or be sure about it.
How cat DNA tests work
Like with human DNA tests, cat DNA tests require a buccal (cheek) swab from a cat, meaning the testing company will provide you with a cotton swab where you need to rub inside of your cat’s cheeks. The process is painless and only requires a few seconds, so your cat can get back to their usual activities before they know it.
After successfully getting a swab from your cat, it’s time for you to send or mail the sample back to the DNA testing company. They will then analyze your cat’s DNA at their testing facility, summarize the test results, and send you detailed reports within a couple of weeks.
Some DNA testing companies that offer these tests continue to actively expand their databases and update owners about their cat’s genetics as more information is made available.
Common questions about vets and how to tell what breed your cat is
How do you tell what breed your cat is?
If you adopted or bought your new feline friend, and he came with a pedigree or certification papers of its lineage, the papers will indicate your cat’s breed. However, if your cat came without those official papers, you can have your cat DNA tested, and it will tell you the cat breeds to which your cat is most close-related.
Do indoor cats need to go to the vet?
Yes, cat owners should bring their cats to the vet for a regular check-up or walk-in consultation. This is to ensure that your cat is healthy, both inside and out. They also need to receive vaccinations for protection against diseases that they might acquire, even if they are indoor cats.
Why do some vets only treat cats?
Feline vets are veterinarians that provide healthcare only for cats. They generally have greater knowledge and experience regarding cats’ medical issues. They continuously train and study how their patient handling will focus only on felines. They are experts on utilizing minimal restraint approach in handling their cat patients.
How often should you take your cat to the vet?
Cats often hide their discomfort and pain; that’s why owners think there’s nothing wrong with their cats. However, the trained eyes of a veterinarian can see when your cat’s not feeling well. So, you should take your cat to your veterinarian at least once a year for a regular health check-up, vaccinations, and dental checks.
The bottom line
A vet can help you determine your cats’ breed by assessing your feline friend’s physical and behavioral traits. These traits will serve as indicators of what breed your cat might be. However, this method is not a hundred percent accurate. So, the vet may suggest having your cat’s DNA tested for more detailed results on your cat’s breed and identity.