Although not everyone agrees on whether or not there is a healthiest breed of cats, it is well known that some breeds’ genetic mix makes them prone to certain conditions, maladies and illnesses.
A case in point is the Scottish Fold, and many of these cats suffer from a debilitating and degenerative developmental condition called Osteochondrodysplasia. Cat lovers do agree, however, that some breeds seem healthier than others, and the American Shorthair seems to top the Healthiest Cats list.
Known for centuries as a working cat – rodent and vermin control is second nature to them – the American Shorthair is a natural breed that was developed in the US but has roots in Europe. A prolific and hardy breed, these cats may be commonplace across the country, but all true members of the breed are pedigreed cats that can trace their ancestors back decades.
These are large, muscular and powerful cats, and, over the centuries, they’ve been bred for certain characteristics, which has resulted in a breed that has a strong constitution and that’s not prey to any specific diseases or disorders. With adequate care, these cats can live long, happy and healthy lives.
Several other breeds are also known to be extremely healthy and without any specific genetic mutations that might cause the cats’ health to deteriorate or it to be born with certain conditions like the deafness associated with certain white cats.
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It comes as no surprise, for instance, that the Bombay is a healthy breed because these cats are an American Shorthair/Burmese mix. Like the American Shorthair, the Bombay is not pre-disposed to any illnesses or conditions that may result from genetic anomalies within the breed, and they can live for up to 20 years One of our visitors has brought to our attention that Bombays have a small genetic pool and the lack of genetic diversity puts Bombays at increased risk for the Feline infectious peritonitis disease. This disease is fatal, so we caution anyone interested in the Bombay breed regarding this condition. (Update, March 2017)
Another extremely healthy breed that’s also not genetically targeted for any specific health issues is the Havana Brown. Originating in the UK, this breed is a result of crossing Siamese with domestic black cats, and it also had a Russian Blue influence far back in its ancestry. Russian Blues are also known to be extremely healthy and not prone to specific illnesses and are a natural breed originating in Russia.
Returning to the UK, the British Shorthair is another robust breed, and this probably stems from the fact that this natural breed is centuries, if not millenia, old and has a large and varied gene pool from which to draw from. The Ragamuffin, on the other hand, is a fairly recent breed – officially recognized in 1994 – but it, also, is a breed that’s known for producing healthy cats.
Other breeds seen as exceptionally healthy include the Korat, a natural breed from Thailand, the Turkish Van, another natural breed developed in the UK, and the Egyptian Mau, yet another natural breed, this time from Africa.
Given the above and apart from a few exceptions, the healthiest cat breeds appear to be natural breeds that have been in existence for centuries and that have a very large gene pool.