Cat breeds aren't just about looks. What breed of cat you buy can have significant effects on their health and the kinds of diseases they are more or less susceptible to. Some people are worried about adopting rescue cats because of concerns about breed-connected conditions. Since International Cat Rescue Day was on March 2, we thought this was an excellent time to cover some of the most common cat breeds (and the most common you'll find to rescue) and what concerns you should have for their cat wellness plans.

Common Cat Breeds and Their Common Health Issues

American Shorthair

As the name might suggest, the American Shorthair is one of America's most widely popular cat breeds. The breed is known for its amiable disposition, making it a popular cat for families.

As far as health goes, an American Shorthair is pretty robust and won't stress a cat wellness plan too much. They may have some heart problems but tend to live for a very long time.


The striped Bengal is a trendy cat breed due to its striped pattern. This breed is actually a cross between domestic cats and wild Asian Leopard Cats. Having a miniature tiger around the house can be pretty neat, especially since Bengals are naturally playful.

However, Bengals also have a reputation as a somewhat tricky breed regarding health. In particular, Bengals are noted for issues with their eyes, from developing cataracts to genetic problems with their retinas. In particular, some Bengals develop Progressive Retinal Atrophy, a condition that leads to incurable blindness. Heart, kidney, and hip conditions are also not uncommon.

British Shorthair

The stocky body and round face of the British Shorthair make it a popular breed, along with its reputation for a pleasant disposition. Indeed, the cheerful attitude of the British Shorthair made it the inspiration for the early illustrations of the grinning Chesire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.

When it comes to health, the British Shorthair is also reasonably easygoing. The main things to watch out for are some kidney and heart conditions. As part of wellness plans for these cats, you'll want to have checkups on these organs.

Exotic Shorthair

Can't decide between an exotic or domestic cat? The Exotic Shorthair is a staple breed in America, being a cross between the Persian and American Shorthair breeds. They're best known for their "flat" facial appearance and short, soft coat.

Despite its popularity, the Exotic Shorthair is prone to various diseases, often originating with their Persian ancestors. Most unique to this cat is a variety of breathing problems caused by the shape of their flat face and squared skulls. They are also prone to eye, kidney and heart problems. This is emblematic of the difficulties selective breeding can cause in cats, even for the most popular breed.


Persian cats aren't just for Bond villains, being one of the most popular cats in America. This cat breed is prized for its long coat, unique "flat features," and tranquil temperament. As mentioned previously, the Persian was one of the breeds used to create the Exotic Shorthair cat.

However, we also mentioned that the Exotic Shorthair picked up its tendencies for health issues from its Persian ancestors. Persians tend to be prone to nearly every condition possible in a cat, including kidney issues, breathing issues, sight issues, heart issues, and a notable tendency to pick up parasites such as ringworm. If you find a Persian to adopt, you should be ready with a robust cat wellness plan.


Few cat breeds are more chill than this one. Ragdolls are very popular cats because of their relaxed attitude. They're noted to be very easy to handle, going limp in your arms instead of struggling, giving them their name. If your wellness plans for kittens and cats include visits to the vet, the Ragdoll is a pretty easy cat to take places.

As far as health goes, the Ragdoll is average. They're not super prone to medical conditions, but they aren't uncommon either. Some of the most noted medical conditions connected to Ragdolls include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a heart condition), kidney diseases, and bladder diseases.

Scottish Fold

Nope, the Scottish Fold has nothing to do with the proper way to store your kilt. This cat gets its name from its distinctive "folded" ears. The cat has become famous for its unique appearance and because it tends to get along well with children and other animals.

However, on the health front, the Scottish Fold is somewhat controversial. In some countries, there have even been calls to a ban on the breed. This is because the gene that causes their unique folded ears is also linked to issues with their joints and growth. A Scottish Fold may look unusual but could also be more than your cat wellness plan can handle.


The Siamese is an iconic cat breed, with its slim body and unique coloration. There's a reason it's so popular. However, the Siamese is also prone to a wide array of different medical conditions. Some of the most common include asthma, retinal atrophy (leading to blindness), hip dysplasia, and systemic amyloidosis, a dangerous building of proteins in the organs. Despite the risks of these conditions, Siamese also have a reputation for long lives. You may need to prepare a cat wellness plan that can cover a long-running condition.

Get a Cat Wellness Plan With Wagmo

At Wagmo, we're all behind rescue cats. Of course, if you adopt, you might not have full choice over the breed of cat in question. With Wagmo, you can make sure that you have a cat wellness plan that covers any contingency. Check out our pet wellness plans and get your cat covered today!