or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › longevity of purebred vs. domestic cats
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

longevity of purebred vs. domestic cats

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
I'm beginning to wonder if I am just cursed or if purebred cats don't live as long as domestic short or long hairs. My cat history is Sam-DSH who lived to be 16 and probably died of liver or kidney problems. (a nice long life) The next cat was Icsis, a Siamese, who only lived to be 5 1/2 and who had a malignant adenocarcinoma that had grown on to his small intestine. After the surgery to remove it, we had to put him to sleep because he did not do well. Then came Wally, a Siamese who died very suddenly at age 11 from (the Vet said) probably Cardiomyopathy, or possibly a Myocardial Infarct. In the beginning of this February we had to have Dickens our just turned 6 yr. old Oriental Shorthair put to sleep. In December, he ended up with Cholangiohepatitis (liver problem), some degree of Hepatic Lipidosis and some kind of autoimmune disease. We had a peg tube put in his stomach to feed him with-he did fantastically well (tube was in for about 6 wks. and he was eating on his own again and blood work back to normal) only to get an infection between the stomach wall and the abdominal wall right after they removed the tube. That was horrible! I cried for days! Two weeks ago, I had an extremely tiny growth (looked like a cat nipple but in the wrong place) from my male Siamese named Phantom, that has turned out to be a mast cell tumor. (malignant but supposedly has a low rate of recurrence and spread and the Vet thinks he got it all) I love the Oriental breeds because of their personalities but I'm beginning to wonder if I should go back to a Domestic Shorthair. I am SO discouraged, I love my cats SO much and I never seem to get to have them for very long. So, am I just unlucky or do purebreds not live as long? All of our cats (except possibly the one at 5 1/2 with the adenocarcinoma) have come from reputable breeders-very involved in the "cat fancy". Sorry so long.
post #2 of 31
I imagine a lot of it was bad luck - we had an Applehead Siamese who lived to 22 and was never sick. However, from reading cat books and magazines I've gotten the impression that purebreds are more apt to have hereditary health problems, presumably because of inbreeding. A lot of books with descriptions of the various breeds list "common health problems" for a number of breeds, e.g. heart problems in Siamese, Maine Coons, kidney problems in Persians, etc..
post #3 of 31
I have heard and been told MANY times that "mutts" live longer and often have less health problems then the pure bred animals.

I'm talking about cats and dogs here.

I've been told this by shelter owners, breeders, vets, other pet owners.

Do I know if it's true, nope. Do I know if it's false, nope. It's just another statistic.
post #4 of 31
good question. I have thought that the wider the gene pool the better. How true this is I dont know.
post #5 of 31
I have had 5 Siamese cats for 7 years,none of mine have ever been sick. I think it may just be bad luck with yours.I hope you have better luck in the furture. I have 2 seal points,2 col.point,1 blue lynx.1 blue point. And a litter of blue points coming.
post #6 of 31
According to Preossia, a club for Siamese owners and breeders, all of the Siamese in the U.S., even Appleheads, are inbred. As a result, their lifespan has been shortened considerably. I understand that some Appleheads are being imported from England to strengthen the bloodlines here in America. Even though the judges are not choosing the original Appleheads in shows, many of us prefer the traditional look, so this is very good news to me. What's important is the health and quality of the breed, not what the public prefers. Just my opinion.
post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
I'm finding everything that you all have to say very interesting about this topic. If Siamese have become more inbred, it is really a shame. They are such lovely, intelligent animals. I just adore their personalities so that's why we keep getting them. As one of the posters said, perhaps I'll have better luck in the future. But they've been such wonderful friends, I'd rather (I guess) have them for a shorter time than not have them at all.
post #8 of 31
Cind, This site might be of interest to you. The lifespan would not be more than five years shorter than normal. However, it is shorter than it was years ago.
post #9 of 31
One of the books I have at home, What Your Cat Is Trying To Tell You by John M. Simon, D.V.M. has several appendixes in the back of the book. One of these lists the diseases that different breeds are prone to.

This is what the book says about the Siamese breed.

"Agenesis (lack of development) of upper eyelid.
Central nervous-system diseases.
Feline hyperasthesia syndrome.
Feline Maratoeaux-Lamy syndrome (bone enlargement of ribs and ends of long bones)
Heart disease.
Psychogenic alopecia.
Respiratory infections.
Vestibular disease."

I just want to add that I owned a Siamese-mix for 13 1/2 years and all my other cats have been at least part Siamese. I just love the Oriental breeds, they're so beautiful!
post #10 of 31
I think the biggest factor of how long our furbabies live is whether they are indoor only or outdoor access. I think the average outdoor access kitty only lives to 4-5 yrs. After that, the luck of the gene draw probably determines how long they live. And I would think wider gene pool the better.

I have a 15 yr old DSH calico and a 12 yr old purebred Russian Blue. The parents of the Russian lived to 14-15 I think. I had another DSH who passed at 11 yrs old.

Maybe ask your next breeder for the ages of the parents and grandparents?
post #11 of 31
I would guess what you have found is probably a combination of genetics & bad luck. While I think that reputible breeding does a lot to reduce the health problems with animals I think that due to possible in breeding in the past these health problems may be so ingrained in the breeds already that they are going to crop up some where along the line. (keep in mind this is all my opinon I have no scientific knowledege to back it up) If you look even in humans there are certain birth defects that occur almost entirely in one race or another. That being said I think that luck has something to due with it too because I don't believe that all of one breed of animal is going to have a shorter life, but that maybe you've just had some bad luck. I've only had 2 cats in my life but the first was a DLH who only lived 7 years. I'm not sure exactly what was wrong with her, but the vet thought it was possible she had Feline Lukemia because when she died she had such bad pnemonia that the vet could not help her. The cat I have not was born a barn cat & is a DSH who is 16 years old, she does have CRF, but 16 years is a good long life for a cat. I do want to say I'm sorry you've had such bad luck with them, I love cats that talk & I know the oriental breeds tend to be talkers.
post #12 of 31
I wondered which were healthier too when we were looking into getting a cat. I made the comment to a cat owner that I thought the mixed breeds should be healthier and her reply to that was that you could end up with several of the problems from the different breeds, as well as their strengths. Just a thought!
post #13 of 31
Responsible breeders are always trying to improve the overall health of cats, as well as appearance. That's why they import from other countries or lines to outcross. When a breeder inbreeds, he gets the very best qualities of the line and the very worst qualities. Some of the bad qualities are recessive, and will show up in future generations. So, it's important to know the bloodlines of your cat. I love Siamese, so that's what I have. I want my cats to live 20 years, but I have never had a DSH live more than 16 years, unfortunately.
post #14 of 31
Jeanie, the cats in the link you posted are beautiful. I much prefer the older style Siamese and shy away from the extreme looks. I wish they had more of the old style at shows.
post #15 of 31
I agree with you. But for years now, many breeders have bred for a triangular shaped face, with no "stop" at the forehead. Those are the cats taking home the ribbons. I too wish that the classic Siamese were shown more often. I think they're beautiful. Of course, mine are classic, so I'm biased.
post #16 of 31
I'm really pleased to see some people like the Applehead Siamese. I have a Modern Siamese & an Old Style. They're both young cats, I've never had any health problems with either of them, and won't touch wood.

My "skinny" Siamese is a lot more neurotic than my Applehead. Maybe it's just that she comes from a laid back line, and he doesn't. Who knows.

I think most of us here have a friend who will attest to the fact that they had a Siamese years ago who "lived to the ripe old age of 20". The Siamese of years gone by did seem to be more robust.

Yes, the Appleheads today are quite inbred...the entire Siamese breed is inbred, Wedge or Applehead. I hope they can solve this problem by importing from overseas.

I was going to breed my Applehead, but the gene pool is so small in Australia, and the politics as such that I decided not to go ahead. I feel like I let the breed down, there is only one person actively breeding them here....but I don't have the strength to pursue it. There are still a lot of people who are really opposed to the Appleheads coming back.

post #17 of 31
Oh, I used to speak to one of the breeders on the PREOSSIA site, she was an incredibly helpful lady, who absolutely is a bonus to the breed. Anyway, a couple of years ago her & her hubby went to Thailand & brought back one or two Siamese cats from there. I don't think they're registered, but they have been brought in as foundation stock. I actually looked into doing the same here, but we're not permitted to bring in cats from Thailand

There is info on these cats towards the bottom of this page.

Thai Imports

post #18 of 31
Originally posted by Cind11
In the beginning of this February we had to have Dickens our just turned 6 yr. old Oriental Shorthair put to sleep. In December, he ended up with Cholangiohepatitis (liver problem), some degree of Hepatic Lipidosis and some kind of autoimmune disease. We had a peg tube put in his stomach to feed him with-he did fantastically well (tube was in for about 6 wks. and he was eating on his own again and blood work back to normal) only to get an infection between the stomach wall and the abdominal wall right after they removed the tube. That was horrible! I cried for days!
I think all the losses you've told us about are really sad, especially this one. I hope this copy of the Rainbow Bridge poem will help to give you some comfort.

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an aniumal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so that they can run and play topgether. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made well and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content except for one small thing: they each miss someone very special to them who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carring him faster and faster.

You have been spotted and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, not to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face: your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look again into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart.

Then, you cross the Rainbow Bridge together..........

Author Unknown...............
post #19 of 31
Thread Starter 
Lorie D., thank you for your posting of the Rainbow Bridge-I love that poem. Yes, losing Dickens was especially difficult. We were so happy we'd had the original surgery done (when the peg tube was put in) because Dickens did so well. We really thought he'd be fine. So to lose him to an infection after the tube was removed was a cruel trick of fate. If cats could be angels, he will be one. (he was such a sweet, bloppy easy-going guy)

Jeanie G., I got on that Preossia website, I found it pretty fascinating reading. The breeders who belong to that group seem very dedicated to producing healthy cats. Perhaps the next time we get a kitten, we'll try one of those breeders.

Actually, right now, I'm still somewhat freaking out over my Phantom who just had the mast cell tumor removed. Even though the path report said "low rate of recurrence and metastasis", my vet explained to me that it is for that particular tumor. It doesn't mean that he couldn't get another one. Ugh!!!

Thanks to everyone for their opinions and ideas.
post #20 of 31
I really think it's luck with domestics, and it's the breeding lines for pure breeds. I know of pure breeds that have lived 20 years and up. However, you will find some people breeding without doing proper research and then you get problems.
I hope Phantom lives a long and healthy life
post #21 of 31
Something I have learned in my short time as a cat owner is that, as Sandie points out, just because someone hangs out their shingle as a breeder, that doesn't always mean they know what they're doing. Next time, educate yourself so that you can ask good questions about your cat's bloodline. If the breeder is reputable, they should be willing to answer your questions clearly. Hopefully, that will up your luck with the longevity of your next kitty.
post #22 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thank you Sandie, I hope Phantom lives a long and healthy life too.

Dickens' breeder happens to be an associate professor of genetics at a university in Ohio. Geez, you'd certainly think she'd know what she was doing. And I'm not blaming her for what happened to Dickens but if anyone should understand breeding, you'd think it'd be her. Plus, she just seems like a genuinely nice person who cares about her cats.
post #23 of 31
Oh, I absolutely agree. Two examples.

One breeder of a longhaired breed didn't know if long hair was dominant or recessive.

Another breeder just stopped caring. She's been at it for 20 + years, and started cutting corners by not bringing in new lines, she would just keep a kitten & use it in her "programme". Eventually, all her cats ended up inbred, and she's losing litter after litter. She doesn't perform a necropsy on them. It's so sad to hear how many kittens she loses in a year, and she denies there is a problem.

Research is definitely the key. If you smell a rat, follow your senses & go elsewhere.

post #24 of 31
i too am glad that people are bringing back the "apple head" siamiese. Now only if they would put the noses back on the persians.(im sorry,might be an unpopular thing to say)
post #25 of 31
Just wanted to add this I know a geneticist who breeds several breeds. It's very unfortunate, but her standpoint as a so called breeder is to "play" with genetics. I have seen her "play" with cats and it makes me sick. Her whole thing has always been scientific, not for the betterment of the breed, or the health of the cats.
As a breeder, I know there may be a time or two we can make a simple mistake, but in general a good breeder will always do what they can to make sure everything is for the best.
I am sure Phantom is going to be just fine. If you ever want another kitty, I am sure lots of people here would be more than happy to help find a reputable breeder
post #26 of 31
I myself do not like the wedge siamese.I like the applehead.
post #27 of 31
Me too. I really don't understand why breeders felt they needed to change the appearance of the breed.
post #28 of 31
Me too. Why try to "improve" something that is already perfect? Here in Germany they've gone so far as to give the "appleheads" a new name. They're called "Thais", whereas as the narrow-headed ones are "Siamese". As far as inbreeding is concerned - here people are importing Maine Coons from the States, because the European ones have a lot of health problems (heart and gum disease in particular). I suspect that an awful lot of breeders concentrate on their own perception of beauty at the expense of health. I find several breeds absolutely gorgeous, e.g. Applehead Siamese, Russian Blues, Somali, but I've decided that I'm going to stick to good old "dime a dozen" domestic shorthairs that have trouble finding homes.
post #29 of 31
Thread Starter 

I don't want to sound overly defensive here, but I don't get the sense that Dickens' breeder is trying to play with genetics. Having spoken to her many times, I really feel that she genuinely cares about the welfare of her cats. I think what happened to Dickens could be a fluke and doesn't necessarily mean that the majority of her cats have (or will have) a health problem. My sister has two cats from this same breeder and hasn't had any problems with them. This breeder offered to give us a kitten after I told her all about what happened to Dickens, which I thought was extremely nice. However, I have e-mailed three breeders from the PREOSSIA website to see if they have available kittens because I think I'd like to go with an applehead. (we have an Oriental Shorthair and a Balinese besides Phantom and we'd like to have a fourth kitty)

Thank you for saying that you think Phantom will be OK. He is my buddy, not at all "bloppy" like Dickens was, but a peach of a cat as well.
post #30 of 31
Oh heck, I am sorry if I gave you the impression that I thought that this breeder was like the one I know. I just wanted to point out that I knew someone who did this. It's best to get to know the breeder and even visit the cattery. Just because someone has credentials, or a degree won't make them responsible.
I should have made that clear, it sometimes seems to come out in writing different than in my head
Again, I am sorry if I gave you the impression I was "slamming" the breeeder you got him from.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Health
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › longevity of purebred vs. domestic cats