12 Unhealthiest Cat Breeds in the World

Unhealthiest Cat Breeds
Photo by Dietmar Ludmann

If you’re like most cat owners, you love your feline friend no matter what breed they are. Whether one of the most popular or least popular breeds, your pet still brings joy to your life daily. 

However, having a cat can be fulfilling, but taking proper care of them can also be very time-consuming and expensive – That’s why it’s important to know about the unhealthiest cat breeds before bringing one home.

There are nearly 500 different cat breeds in the world, and each one comes with its own unique personality and appearance.

Some cats are long-haired, some are short-haired, and some are downright furry. There are many cat breeds out there, making it hard to keep track of the different characteristics of each breed.

Here are the top twelve unhealthiest cat breeds you need to know about like a cat lover.

1. Persian

The Persian is a long-haired breed with a natural-looking, rounded face and cute whisker pads. The Persian is also prone to feline hyperthyroidism, making it one of the unhealthiest cat breeds.

The thyroid gland in cats can become overactive, leading to enlargement of the thyroid gland and weight loss due to increased metabolism.

In addition, about 80 percent of Persians are born deaf because their ear canals are too narrow for their enlarged heads.

Some Persians may develop eye problems as well due to inbreeding. Other health issues include heart disease, kidney failure, and high blood pressure.

2. Siamese

Siamese cats are beautiful animals and are high on many people’s list of desired felines. However, Siamese cats have earned a place on the list of unhealthiest cat breeds due to their potential for developing heart disease. 

The breed is particularly susceptible to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), characterized by abnormal heart muscle tissue thickening.

As a result, affected cats can develop enlarged hearts with a weakened pumping action and atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat).

These conditions result in blood pooling inside the heart; untreated atrial fibrillation can eventually lead to death if not properly managed.

3. Burmese

Burmese is a great family Cat choice for someone who has time to devote to their care. It. Burmese is considered one of the most mentally and physically developed breeds. 

The Burmese’s conformation (physical build) gives it a high energy level, requiring daily exercise. It. It is also highly intelligent and vocal, demanding attention from its owners. 

These factors make it one of the unhealthiest cat breeds for someone looking for an aloof or low-maintenance cat.

Because of its heavy coat, which can become easily tangled, regular grooming is necessary when caring for a Burmese. These cats have longer lifespans than most other breeds; many live into their 20s with good health care and nutrition.

4. Devon Rex

Devon Rexes were once thought to be hypoallergenic because they don’t shed as much as other breeds. But that doesn’t mean they’re healthy. They are still carriers of environmental allergens like dust mites and mold spores.

If you live in a dusty or humid area, you might be better off with another breed. Lifestyle factors, like a sedentary lifestyle and a bad diet, are responsible for Devon Rex cats’ predisposition to develop diabetes, and overweight pets have an increased risk of developing diabetes. 

Owners must control their cat’s weight through regular exercise and a high-quality diet (avoiding fatty treats like bacon and sausage). Devon Rexes tend to have digestive issues. 

If your cat is overweight or becomes overweight in adulthood, there’s an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These factors qualify it to be one of the unhealthiest cat breeds.

5. Egyptian Mau

The Egyptian Mau is one of those cat breeds that most people don’t know about. This little guy packs a lot of personality into a small package. He’s extremely active and requires at least an hour of daily exercise to burn off his abundant energy.

Because he’s such a high-energy breed, starting him on an appropriate diet early on is important. Owners must also watch for health problems since they are much more likely to occur in these smaller breeds. 

It would be best if you had in mind that these little guys tend to become more sedentary as they age. Do some extra research when getting your new kitten! Extra research might prevent you from having one of the unhealthiest cat breeds as a pet.

6. Himalayan

The Himalayan cat is a long-haired breed known for its striking blue eyes, and it is also one of the unhealthiest cat breeds. They’re adorable, but with their slanted eyes and small nasal passages, they’re also prone to several health issues. 

The Himalayas are prone to eye conditions such as glaucoma, retinal atrophy, and fungal infections like Fusarium and Aspergillus (yeast).

If you own a Himalayan, it’s important to watch out for sneezing, wheezing, or coughing—all of which could be asthma symptoms.

These kitties also have a higher risk of heart disease than other breeds. Ensure to keep an eye on your Himalayan’s weight and activity level throughout his life.

7. Ragdoll

These non-aggressive cats make great pets but are also prone to gaining weight. These cat owners should closely watch their pets’ diets and activities to keep them healthy and maintain a trim figure.

They typically weigh more than 20 pounds when fully grown, so if your cat is in good health, there’s no need to limit their intake.

Being overweight exposes Ragdoll cats to the risks of obesity-related conditions like diabetes and joint problems. Therefore, they’re considered one of the unhealthiest cat breeds.

Obesity may shorten your pet’s life considerably, so be sure you focus on diet and exercise from a young age. If your cat gets bored or stops playing frequently, try adding different toys to keep her engaged and entertained.

8. Russian Blue

It may be surprising that Russian Blue cats are among the unhealthiest cat breeds. They are predisposed to Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), which can be fatal and is largely unpreventable. Russian Blue could be too much of a cat thing for those with an allergy to fur or who don’t like pets. 

Russian Blues are also prone to developing diabetes and hyperthyroidism, which puts them at a higher risk for heart disease.

They are also susceptible to immune-related illnesses such as feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and parasitic diseases like ringworm. 

On top of that, Russian Blues tend to develop eye and upper respiratory infections. While these cats aren’t fragile flowers, they require more love and attention than other breeds. 

9. British Shorthair

The cat is native to Britain and is one of several commonly referred to as a British Blue. It is a stocky, muscular animal with round eyes, short legs, and an oval-shaped head.

As these cats age, they tend to develop respiratory issues, making them one of the unhealthiest cat breeds.

But regular checkups can help prolong their life. This breed has also been known to be skittish around strangers but loves its family members. They are known for being loyal companions. 

They tend to be quiet animals and don’t mind being alone for long periods. They enjoy playing games like fetch or even hide and seek. A British Shorthair can live up to 15 years old with proper care.

10. Birman

As with most long-haired breeds, you should keep a close eye on your Birman’s coat, which can be prone to matting. As with most purebred cats, finding a good veterinarian and creating a relationship is also important. 

There are over 20 different genetic disorders that can affect these felines. The number of Birman hereditary problems is unknown because researchers haven’t studied them as much as other breeds.

Many owners are led to signing their animals up for health registries to identify potential problems early on. Due to these disorders, this breed is considered one of the unhealthiest cat breeds.

11. Exotic Shorthair

These cats are particularly susceptible to obesity, possibly because of their love of food and lack of interest in anything else. Genetics, however, can play a role; some Shorthairs have developed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). 

If your Exotic develops HCM, it’s best to put them on a low-calorie diet to manage their weight and heart conditions.

Your vet will also want to monitor their blood pressure closely. As long as they aren’t overweight, though, they should be fine. 

But watch out for these little guys! If you see any changes in their eating habits or behavior, get them checked out immediately. A recent study found that obese pets are less likely to try to lose weight than obese humans.

12. Sphynx

The Sphynx is an ancient breed of cat that originated in Canada during the 1960s. The hairless cats developed their appearance because of a genetic mutation that occurred as a natural process within their breeding stock. Its hairlessness has made it prone to certain conditions making it one of the unhealthiest cat breeds.

Sphynxes require sunscreen or sunlight protective clothing if they’re going to be outside. They also need special medical care since they have no fur or skin to protect them from injuries.

Because of these issues, many breeders advise against purchasing a Sphynx for families with young children or other pets. 

Sphynxes are particularly susceptible to temperature extremes, which can cause serious health problems due to excess heat or cold exposure.

An electric heating pad isn’t the best method to keep sphynx cats warm in the water, and fire from such devices is risky because they tend to overheat.

The other concern is skin burns from heating pads on sensitive skin surfaces that have no hair for protection. The best way to keep your cat warm in winter is to use fleece-lined beds and a blanket.

Consider putting pet warming mats inside his house so he has a cozy place to curl up when he wants to nap.


Cats can be wonderful pets, but some cat breeds are more prone to certain health problems than others. Looking for a new feline friend or want to know what to expect when taking on one of these breeds.

Here is a list of the unhealthiest cat breeds with increased health risks due to their genetics. 

These diseases and conditions are serious enough that you should ask any breeder about them before getting your new kitten. Discuss vaccinations and other preventative measures for these common health issues in certain breeds with your vet.

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