TAKING AND STORING DNA FROM LITTERS OF KITTENS

UC Davis researchers recommend that breeders take and store DNA samples from all kittens in litters after weaning, and label and save them in their homes. They should also include samples from the parents whenever possible.

To obtain these samples, take four or five cheek swabs for each individual kitten or cat (please see the instructions on how to take DNA swabs on this website).  Put the samples for each kitten or cat in a separate envelope labeled with the kitten or cat's name, registration number if available, and date the swabs were taken.  Stored in a dry environment such as a drawer or closet these samples will last indefinitely.

If any of these individual cats should develop FIP later in life (most that will be affected do so within 4-16 months), swabs will be available for testing for affected cats and healthy siblings, as well as parents. While parents may be swabbed several times over a period of years as new litters are born, it is helpful to keep swabs of parents with those of their kittens.  Some of these parents may also ultimately die of FIP after siring or birthing one or more litters, and if you always keep swabs of parents with their litters, you will always have all of the samples that you need to reconstruct an extended family pedigree.

If breeders were to do this on a permanent basis, they would easily have three generation or more pedigrees within 3-5 years or so. Very extended pedigrees, with samples, could then be easily obtained by breeders working together to assemble them. Such a program would not only provide samples for FIP research, but also be available for research on other traits that might presently exist in the breed or occur in the future.