Mortality and Reproduction
You very often hear breeders claim that they have a healthy breed. Most of the time this only means that they are poorly informed or simply lying. In the articles below you can find facts on the matter.
A new article is under way which deals with cost for veterinary care and diagnosis of insured cats in Sweden. Egenvall who is first author of the article on mortality have informed me that Abyssinans are number 5 and Ocicats are number 9 of 21 breeds with respect to need for veterinary care. This means that Abyssinans and Ocicats need more veterinary care than most breeds in Sweden. They are not particularly long lived either.
This can be disappointing news, but I prefer to think that there is an opportunity for improving the health of cat breeds. After all, if breeders worked towards healthier breeds, there is absolutely no reason why pedigreed cats should be affected by more diseases than the avarage house cat.
Egenvall, A., A. Nødtvedt, J. Häggström, B. Ström Holst, L. Möller and B. Bonnett (2009). "Mortality of life-insured Swedish cats during 1999-2006: Age, breed, sex, and diagnosis
". Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 23(6): 1175-1183.
Background: A cat life insurance database can potentially be used to study feline mortality. Hypothesis: The aim was to describe patterns of mortality in life-insured Swedish cats. Cats: All cats (<13 years of age) with life insurance during the period 1999-2006 were included. Methods: Age-standardized mortality rates (MR) were calculated with respect to sex (males and females), age, breed, and diagnosis. Survival to various ages is presented by time period and breed. Results: The total number of cats insured was 49,450 and the number of cat-years at risk (CYAR) was 142,049. During the period, 6,491 cats died and of these 4,591 cats (71%) had a diagnosis, ie, were claimed for life insurance. The average annual MR was 462 deaths per 10,000 CYAR (95% confidence interval, 431-493). Sex-specific rates did not differ significantly. The overall mortality of the Persian and the Siamese groups was higher than that of several other breeds. Overall and br0eed-specific (for most breeds) survival increased with time when analyzed by 2-year periods. The 6 most common diagnostic categories (ignoring cats recorded as dead with no diagnosis) were urinary, traumatic, neoplastic, infectious, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal. The MR within diagnostic categories varied by age and breed. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: In this mainly purebred, insured cat population, the overall mortality varied with age and breed but not with sex. The increase in survival over time is likely a reflection of willingness to keep pet cats longer and increased access to and sophistication of veterinary care. © 2009 by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
Holst, B. S. and J. Frössling (2009). "The Swedish breeding cat: population description, infectious diseases and reproductive performance evaluated by a questionnaire". Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery 11(10): 793-802.
The questionnaire based study gives a combined description of management, infectious diseases and reproductive performance in breeding catteries during 1 year. The mean number of cats per cattery was 6.1, and 25% of the breeders let some of their cats have free access to outdoors. Breeders reported that infection with feline panleukopenia virus, feline immunodeficiency virus or feline leukaemia virus was uncommon, but 8% of the breeders had sold or had themselves owned a cat that died of feline infectious peritonitis. Presence of conjunctivitis was reported by 33.3% of the breeders. Mean litter size was 3.7 ± 1.5, with 9.7% stillbirths and 8.3% kitten mortality week 1–12. The percentage of stillborn kittens increased with the age of the queen and litter size, and also differed among breeds. Kitten mortality differed among breeds, but did not increase with age of the queen. Seven percent of the litters were delivered by caesarean section, significantly more during winter and positively associated with presence of stillborn kittens.