April 25, 2016 – Morris Animal Foundation first dipped its paw into the cat genetic pool in 1962, when the foundation funded its first genetic study in cats. Analytic tools developed since that time have resulted in an explosion of new genetic studies.
In the last decade alone, the foundation has funded 44 cat genetic studies. Here are some interesting genetic facts that make our feline friends unique!
- Almost all cats (big and small) have 19 pairs of chromosomes; humans have 23. A few cat species in South America only have 18 pairs. Some very rare cats have barely been studied, so the jury is still out on their chromosome count.
- Cats might not be fully domesticated. This comparative analysis of the domestic cat genome (research partially supported with funding from Morris Animal Foundation), confirms what most cat owners already suspect – their cats are fully in touch with their wild side.
- Almost all tortoiseshell cats are female, and only one in 3,000 calico cats is male.
- About 80 percent of orange tabby cats are male.
- More than 40 genes, with 70 different variants, have been identified and associated with either physical traits or diseases in cats.