I catch feral cats in my neighborhood. If I DNA-test four of these feral cats, will I learn if they are related? Say, would the DNA test provide some information, like a family tree?

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    How would you test them? In general it is possible to tell, if they are relatives, but the effort would be costly I expect. Mar 13, 2023 at 19:08
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    Welcome to Pets! Please take the tour to see how this site works, it only takes a minute. I also invite you to have a look at How do I ask a good question?. By asking a question here you expect people you've never met to make an effort to give you a meaningful answer. In turn we expect you to make an effort and do some research on your own. Whether or not a DNA test can tell you the relation of individuals is easy to research and is not limited to cats or animals.
    – Elmy
    Mar 14, 2023 at 6:51
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    I struggle a bit - if you have access to DNA testing in general, you should be able to answer that yourself, if you are planning to use a „kit“ of sorts, they should have information about what they are testing for. I wouldn’t recommend using the type sold for humans. In short, yes, or course genetics can determine relations and paternity. Question is, do you have access to the right testing setup.
    – Stephie
    Mar 14, 2023 at 11:34
  • If no one answers satisfactorily, try re-posting at biology.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/cat Mar 15, 2023 at 5:59
  • Heh heh. That cats don't care. Why do you? The cost of a DNA kit hardly seems worth it for feral cats.
    – Boba Fit
    Mar 26, 2023 at 23:10

1 Answer 1


The DNA self-test kits for cats that are commercially available typically focus on "breed" composition as far as ancestry is concerned.

While they sometimes present results in the form of a family tree, they usually will not match multiple samples against each other, this tends to be purely a presentation thing. So it generally isn't possible to use this type of test as paternity or maternity test.

Additionally, these test kits typically need you to take one or two saliva samples, which isn't something I'd be prepared to do to a truly feral cat, especially one with very little of its limited humor left because I just trapped it...

Disclaimer: I'm not a geneticist, so take the following with a few pinches of salt. Also note that I have not used any of these, so I can't comment on quality of the services provided.

There are test kits where you can request parentage testing if providing multiple samples, although as far as I understand the potential relationship must be known beforehand, one example here:


Other online offers provide more extensive genome data, which might or might not allow to prove maternity / paternity, though if possible the service provider does not offer this directly, one example here:


These are just random samples for illustration purposes, and should not be considered as advertisement for the service providers.

  • Do you have a link for such a typical kit? Not as advertisement, but to give more insight into how it works or for what it tests? Mar 15, 2023 at 5:49

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