Cheek (buccal) Swab Samples

Cheek or buccal swabs are an excellent way to collect DNA from your cat and are usually appropriate for genetic testing once a DNA variant has been discovered and is being offered as a commercial test. The Inhibitor (Silver) test is conducted using cheek (buccal) swabs.

Most buccal swab samples do not need any special shipping requirements, but a Letter to US Customs (see below) can be helpful, especially when using courier services such as, DHL, Fedex, or TNT. Courier services are often safer, faster and more reliable means of shipment.

Please use cytological brushes or cotton buds (Q-tips) to collect the cheek (buccal) swabs from your cats.  Cotton buds can be real cotton, synthetic cotton, or bamboo – any brand.  The cotton buds or cytological brushes do not need to be sterile but do not handle with your bare hand or get them wet or dirty.

Please see the video, How to collect a buccal swab from your cat.

(See examples below – not an endorsement)

  1. Complete the online submission form
  2. Print the form and attach (tape or staple) the buccal swabs to the form for each cat.
  3. Email pedigrees and pictures of each cat –

Send samples to Feline Genetics Laboratory:

Leslie A. Lyons, PhD
Feline Genetics Laboratory
Department of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery
College of Veterinary Medicine
E109 Vet Med Building, 1520 E. Rollins St.
University of Missouri – Columbia
Columbia, MO 65211

Questions – please contact the laboratory:

Lab Phone: +01 573 884 2287
Lab e-mail:

Approved swabs
Not approved swabs

Download letter template

Letter to US Customs – Animal Products that do not require an import permit = Example of a “Letter to US Customs” – Animal Products that do not require an import permit

Put Current Date Here

Attention: US Customs Officials

USDA – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Health Assurance

Dear US Customs Service and USDA Agents,

Enclosed in this shipment are cheek (buccal) swab samples from domestic cats.  These samples have no commercial value and are for scientific research applications only – genetic testing.  They are being shipped from Dr. Leslie Lyons at the University of Missouri – Columbia, College of Veterinary Medicine for commercial genetic testing.

Below is the information required in accordance with USDA Guideline # 1102.


  1. The samples are cheek (buccal) swabs of domestic cats from PUT SPECIFIC LOCATION HERE. All cats were of normal health and have not been part of any scientific experimentation.
  2. These samples do not contain any other animal-derived products, particularly of agricultural concern, such as fetal calf serum. These samples do not contain any livestock or poultry origin material. They are domestic cat products only.
  3. The samples are not derived from cats that have or have been exposed to agents that are infectious or contagious agents to human beings or of agricultural concern. Thes cats have not been inoculated with or exposed to any livestock or poultry disease agents.
  4. These samples have no commercial value, they are for research / commercial testing purposes only.

If this information is not sufficient, please contact Dr. Leslie Lyons at the University of Missouri – Columbia, College of Veterinary Medicine. E-mail: Phone / Fax: (573) 884-2287

If these samples are detained by US Customs, please maintain at room temperature until the samples can be released.