Siamese cats are one of the most popular breeds of cats, and certainly one of the most recognizable. Although sometimes portrayed as cunning and mean, Siamese cats are actually very intelligent and more trainable than most other cats. As far as purebred cats go, the Siamese is one of the healthier breeds. People who own a Siamese cat, or who are thinking of getting one, will want to be aware of the health problems that are often seen in this breed of cat.
Respiratory Tract Problems
Some Siamese cats have been bred to have extremely distorted faces. The result is cats that are more prone to having breathing difficulties and may even suffer from upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) more often. Kittens in particular are more prone to suffering respiratory related problems especially if chilled.
Again along the lines of breeding cats for head deformities, there was a trend at one time to breed cross eyed cats. Occasionally kittens are still produced with this condition although good breeders are trying to get away from it.
A condition known as nystagmus, or quivering eye, is also found in some Siamese cats. This is a condition that causes the cats eyes to shake back and forth. The condition comes and goes. Cats with this problem should not be bred.
Conjunctivitis seems to be more common in Siamese cats than in other breeds.
An inherited condition known as Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is also found in Siamese cats, as such DNA tests for this condition should be done on any cat that is to be used for breeding.
Reactions to Anesthetic
Siamese cats are sometimes more sensitive to anesthetics. As such before being spayed, neutered, or having any surgery, they should be tested to make sure they are not allergic to the type being used. In most cases another type of anesthetic can be used if the cat is found to be at risk from a particular type.
This is a problem sometimes seen in older Siamese cats. The heart muscle enlarges and causes problems for the cat. The cat may find exercising more difficult. In some cases the cat might even have a sudden death as a result of this condition.
Other Health Concerns in Siamese Cats
Siamese cats are more prone to mammary tumors, which can be reduced by having the cat spayed before she is a year old.
Siamese cats are more sensitive to lactose and should not have milk.