If you are a cat owner you will think your four-legged friend is the best cat ever, and of course you would be right – after all, they are your pride and joy and one of the family. However, when it comes to breeds, no cat is perfect, and all have some sort of risk of health problem.
In this Pets4Homes article, we will take a look at 9 breeds of cat that can be predisposed to certain health conditions. Each one of these cat breeds is a pedigree variety. It is useful if you are looking to get a pedigree, to know any conditions that may arise. It is also useful if you currently own one of these cats to be aware of any of the health-related problems.
This is a popular cat with stunning blue eyes and a silky grey coat, that is long furred. They are a friendly breed and like to be near you, making them a wonderful family pet.
One of the heart problems that a Ragdoll is predisposed to is a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Owners of this breed can ask for their cat to be tested for this condition, so if you find yourself in this situation then speak to your vet for further advice.
Bladder problems can include kidney stones, and these may need to be surgically removed from the cat.
This breed of cat also suffers from kidney problems such as polycystic kidney disease (PKD).
The advice is to try and check any medical history of the parents and grandparents if possible before purchasing this lovely cat breed.
This is a stunning large cat with long fur and large paws! The breed is usually large framed with a long body and ears. In all this cat is one of the biggest breeds.
Due to the very size of the Maine Coon Breed problems can arise including hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Some Maine Coon’s can grow up to almost 10 kg, and this puts extra strain on the elbows and hips causing deformities. Although it is more common for dogs, it is worth asking a vet to x-ray the hips and elbows if you are worried about the way your Maine Coon is walking or moving. Like all the other breeds, before you buy a kitten, do your research.
Also, like the Ragdoll, this breed can suffer from a heart problem hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
These are very popular cats, with their very distinct markings, normally short coated with what is termed points, darker areas of the face, tail, ears and usually legs. There are different types of point such as chocolate point and seal point, but the health and mental issues affect the breed in itself, not the type of point they are. Proper Siamese cats always have blue eyes as well, regardless of the type of point they are.
Generally, Siamese cats are overall a fairly healthy breed, and the list above is not fully indicative to them, but because of their build and character they can show issues. For example, Siamese cats can have more dental problems than other cats, simply because their teeth are generally more prominent – the canines (the fang like teeth) are a bit larger for example.
One of the main characteristics of the Siamese cat is that they can suffer from mental health, in particular, obsessive-compulsive behaviour, this makes them a type of cat that needs a lot of reassurance and fuss. They really are in charge and are very vocal about it.
Himalayan cats have a distinctive look with a long silky coat and much like a Siamese they have points on the ears, face, tail and legs. They also have flat faces.
Because of their flat faces, known as brachycephalic skulls, all their tubes such as their trachea are more squashed. This means they can have breathing problems and can suffer in the heat (especially as they have a quite thick fur).
They are also prone to polycystic kidney disease (PKD), and this in itself can lead to kidney failure.
Again, this breed is quite distinctive as they too have a flat face, with a nose that is dipped. Their coats can be various colours and not pointed, but a healthy Persian should have a glossy coat that is well-kept.
Persians are a nice breed of cat, however as owners will know, and potential owners should be aware they are a very big commitment. Any health issues aside, they need regular grooming every day, they cannot keep matts from their fur themselves, because they have a deep undercoat.
Like other brachycephalic breeds, Persian cats can also suffer from respiratory problems due to the skull shape. They also can have digestive problems because of the same reason.
These breeds of cats are popular with people that want much shorter fur against allergies and shedding. Their coats are either curly or wavy and both types of Rex have a narrow neck. However, a Devon Rex will have longer ears.
Both types of Rex can suffer from heart problems, knee problems, and baldness.
The Cornish Rex commonly has umbilical hernias, whilst the Devon Rex can suffer from a condition called hereditary myopathy.
These are breeds that have been bred for their curly coats, but selective breeding has also raised health issues. For example, the condition hereditary myopathy in the Devon Rex makes the muscular system weak and sadly can prove fatal.
This cat breed is quite distinctive because of the shape of its head, which is almost triangular! It also has large ears that seem to point forwards.
These cats are one of the breeds to have several problems that are due to inbreeding throughout their evolution. It is thought by some, that because of the shape of the head, the problems this breed have are all linked to it.
This is a stunning cat breed with a very distinctive coat that is thick and silky. The markings this cat breed normally has are spotted or marbled. This breed is extremely intelligent and can get bored easily if not played with (they will let you know as they are very vocal).
Bengal cats can suffer from eye conditions that are degenerative such as progressive retinal atrophy. They are one breed that can suffer with knee dislocation. Other joint problems such as hip dysplasia is not uncommon. They are sometimes referred to orthopaedic practices to have surgical procedures completed on their joints.
This is a lovely cat semi-longhaired cat with a body that is creamy pale and a darker face, legs, ears and tail – much like the points of the Siamese. This cat is very affectionate, and love laps! They will only be active when you play with them.
Birman’s have one main health problem, that seems to show up time and again – kidney disease. Some vets like to blood test a young cat of this breed as they can show signs of problematic kidney function before, they are full adults. The chances if they show this problem, of fully developing kidney disease when they are older is higher.
This cat breed is very large with a long coat and really fluffy tail, like the Maine coon it also has tufted ears.
Although Norwegian Forest cats can suffer from heart problems such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and have joint issues such as hip dysplasia, the main disease to cause them problems is glycogen storage syndrome. Thankfully this is quite a rare disease, but it causes an enzyme depletion so glycogen cannot be used properly within the cat's body. It means the glycogen can build up in the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. Sadly, if a cat has this disease, it is normally fatal.
As you can see there are many cats that have health-related issues, and most of the issues we have listed affect the heart. So, whilst it is true that no cat is perfect, you still need to remember they are your cat and part of the family. If you have any worries or concerns over your animal, please speak to your own veterinary surgeon for advice. If needed your pets may have to have some tests before a conclusive diagnosis is made.