It’s Like 23andMe… For Your Cat. A Look at CES’s Strangest New Product

This year’s CES, the annual technology trade show held in Las Vegas, promised to be weirder than ever. Case in point: One of the new pet tech products unveiled at CES 2019 is an Internet of Things litter box.

But it turns out several entrepreneurs are working on the ‘purrfect’ company for your pet; another company touting its services at CES trades in cat DNA. That’s right, Basepaws is trying to become the 23andMe of cats.

Showing off its genetics testing platform at the trade show, Basepaws’ so-called Catkit enables pet owners to collect and send in their kitty’s genetic material for all sorts of analysis. In return, Basepaws provides a data-rich look at your feline friend’s ancestry, potential longevity, and traits that may not be obvious but could impact a cat’s health and wellness.

It might seem silly, but knowing more about your pets could be as useful as knowing more about your own family medical history. “DNA research has revealed a vast amount of useful, often life-saving information for humans,” explained Anna Skaya, founder and chief executive of Basepaws, in a statement. “We want to facilitate those same kind of breakthroughs for cats.”

Basepaws was founded in 2016, and while DNA-testing your dog has become more popular, felines tend to be far more overlooked than Fidos when it comes to studying the science of their genetic makeup and health.

From a business standpoint, it also makes sense with so many pet startups raking in venture capital. Pets are a multibillion dollar industry, from food and products to medical care and insurance. And better understanding your cat’s nutritional needs or, say, whether their DNA contains any traces of wild cat genes could go a long way toward extending their life—or all nine of them.

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