Genetic testing for Annie? Nah.

annie_day2.jpgWell, finally, on Sunday, I broke down. I’ve been wanting another cat for some time. My last 19-year-old passed about a year ago now. But for several external reasons the timing wasn’t right and I wasn’t ready.

But one more story about the shelters getting filled up with pets as a result of the economic crisis just pushed me over the edge.

Economic crisis has animal shelters crammed with dogs and cats

….When the economy tanks and expenses rise, people take a hard look at what they can live without, often making painful cuts.

When they lose their houses to foreclosure, they often have to downsize and do without things they love….

So I went over to the Animal Rescue League and fell for a cream puff. And as she’s a calico I get to tell the X-inactivation story (which I already have, twice now). Her shelter name is Annie. By the next morning she was all set for belly rubs and copious purring. I think we have a fit.

I’ve always been happy with mutt-style pets. I have no illusions to pedigree for myself or for my pets. But I’m dying to know what she is. I suspect she is half Maine Coon based on her phenotype and behavior. At the shelter I laughed when they said she eats “with company” in the health review. Turns out that is Maine Coon behavior.

I’m nearly convinced–and now a little daunted by how big she might get. But I began to wonder about testing…Lo and behold it is out there. Norwegian forest cats testing for a number of possible mutations. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Maine Coons. Parentage testing. Blood type. I stumbled upon the Canine Inherited Disease Database in this little exercise.

I probably won’t. But I admit I’m curious. It will suffice to look around the GBrowse installation for the cat at NCI. It is called Garfield. I swear:

Genome Annotation Resource Fields—GARFIELD: A Genome Browser for Felis catus. 2007. Joan U. Pontius, and Stephen J. O’Brien. Journal of Heredity 2007 98(5):386-389; doi:10.1093/jhered/esm055.

EDIT: BTW, Animal Planet has a new show called Cats 101, and this upcoming Saturday they are supposed to include Maine Coons according to my Tivo listing.