There are no American Shorthair health problems. Yes. Nice isn’t it? You can write about a number of cat breeds that have recorded and recognised genetically inherited health problems but you can’t do that with the American Shorthair. The cat breeds with the greatest number of inherited health problems are the Siamese and Persian. Obviously, American SH cats suffer illnesses just like any other cat but there are no recorded inherited illnesses associated with this breed.
The breed’s inherent health must be a very good reason why people should adopt the American Shorthair, if they would like to adopt a purebred cat. This is a popular cat breeed. The breed’s health is one reason for that.
Why are there no recorded American Shorthair health problems?
Dr Clark DVM in Medical, Genetic & Behavioral Aspects of Purebred Cats gives us the clue (book ISBN: 0-9634124-0-X).
He says that “they have a broad genetic base and a heritage that exemplifies ‘survival of the fittest'” (page 41). In other words this breed of cat has a broad base of foundation cats, which is not the case with some cat breeds.
The American Shorthair is the shorthaired “American Cat”. The Maine Coon is the long haired American cat. Both started life in America, it is thought, with the immigration of the English pilgrims in the early 1600s (see American SH history).
There was a lot of time for the early cats to evolve healthily. Initially, early on in the cat fancy in North America, the American Shorthair was referred to as a domestic shorthair indicating its random bred foundations.
The CFA breed standard says that no outcrosses are now permitted (2012). I suspect that for a while outcrosses were permitted.
This breed has a very wide selection of coat types and colors. Does this encourage cat health? I think it does as it widens the breeding program. But I am prepared to be corrected by someone more knowledgeable than me.
A search of Google Scholar for health problems related to this cat breed produced no results. Neither could I find anything on Fabcats.com where inherited diseases are comprehensively discussed.