This cat breed has a short, dense coat and a distinctive rounded head and face that make it look like a teddy bear. The British Shorthair is one of the oldest cat breeds in Great Britain, and it has a sweet and affectionate personality without being needy or clingy. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the British Shorthair cat breed, including its characteristics, personality traits, history, care, and health issues.
|Weight||About 7 to 17 pounds, with males slightly larger|
|Length||About 22 to 25 inches|
|Coat length||Short and very dense. Not double coated or woolly|
|Personality||Affectionate, easy-going, and calm|
|Coat colors||Many solid and patterned colors, including white, black, blue, red, cream, smoke, silver, cameo, and golden|
|Coat patterns||Solid, bicolor, tabby, tortoiseshell, calico, and more|
|Eye colors||Varies depending on coat color and pattern, but may be blue, gold, copper, green, blue-green, hazel or odd-eyed (eyes of two different colors)|
|Lifespan||12 to 16 years|
|Good with kids||Yes|
|Good with other pets||Yes|
The British Shorthair is a medium-sized to large cat breed that weighs about 7 to 17 pounds, with males slightly larger than females. The breed has a broad chest, muscular neck, strong jaws, and a well-developed muzzle. The body shape is rounded and thick, giving the impression of a powerful and sturdy cat. The legs are thick and strong, and the tail is medium-length and tapered.
The coat of the British Shorthair is short and very dense. It is not double-coated or woolly but rather has a crisp and firm texture that protects the cat from the elements. The coat becomes much longer and thicker during the winter, making the cat look even more plush and cozy. The coat color and pattern can vary widely, from solid colors like white, black, blue, red, and cream, to bi-colors, tabbies, tortoiseshells, calicos, smokes, shaded, and more. The eye color also depends on the coat color and pattern but may be blue, gold, copper, green, blue-green, hazel, or odd-eyed (eyes of two different colors).
The British Shorthair is a very pleasant cat to have as a companion. The breed has an easy-going, calm personality that adapts well to different situations and environments. The British Shorthair is affectionate and loyal to its family members but not overly demanding or clingy. The breed likes to be near its people but not necessarily on their lap. The British Shorthair enjoys being petted and cuddled but also respects your personal space.
The British Shorthair is a wonderful family cat that gets along with everyone, including kids and other animals living in the house. The breed is gentle and patient with children and can tolerate some rough play. The breed is also friendly and sociable with other cats and dogs as long as they are introduced properly and have their own territory.
The British Shorthair is active without being hyper. The breed likes to play but doesn’t need hourly attention. The breed can play well by itself or with others, using toys or household objects as entertainment. The British Shorthair is also intelligent and curious and likes to explore its surroundings and learn new things. The breed tends to be quiet and rarely vocalizes unless it needs something.
History of the British Shorthair Cat
The British Shorthair is possibly the oldest cat breed in Great Britain. The most agreed-upon theory of this breed’s development is that British Shorthairs started out as shorthaired street cats that were brought to Britain by the Romans around 2,000 years ago. These cats interbred with native wildcats and developed into sturdy and hardy cats that were used to keep rodents out of the barns and houses.
In the 19th century, cat fanciers began to take interest in these cats and started to refine and standardize them into a distinct breed. British Shorthairs were among the breeds exhibited at England’s first organized cat show in 1871 at the Crystal Palace in London. Back then, the breed was called the “British Blue” because blue (gray) was a very common color in the breed.
Although blue British Shorthairs are still popular today, they come in many different colors and patterns thanks to crossbreeding with other breeds such as Persians, Russian Blues, Chartreuxs, Burmese, Abyssinians, Siamese,
The British Shorthair was first brought to the United States in the early 1900s by American servicemen who fell in love with them during World War I. However,
they were not recognized as a separate breed from domestic shorthairs until 1980 by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). Today, the British Shorthair remains common and popular in its native Britain; in the United States, however, it is still considered rare but is gaining popularity in droves.
Taking care of a British Shorthair cat is not unlike taking care of most other cats. However, there are some specific tips and tricks that can help you keep your British Shorthair happy and healthy for many years to come. Here are some of the main aspects of caring for a British Shorthair cat:
As the breed name suggests, the British Shorthair has a short coat that needs only minimal grooming. Brush your British Shorthair once a week using a soft, slicker brush. This will help remove loose hair, dirt, and dander and keep the coat shiny and healthy. Brush more frequently during periods of seasonal shedding to prevent hairballs and matting.
You don’t need to bathe your British Shorthair unless it gets very dirty or has a medical condition that requires it. If you do need to bathe your cat, use a mild shampoo designed for cats and rinse well. Dry your cat thoroughly with a towel and keep it warm until it is completely dry.
Other grooming tasks include trimming your cat’s nails every few weeks, cleaning its ears with a cotton ball and a gentle ear cleaner, and brushing its teeth daily with a cat toothbrush and toothpaste. You should also check your cat’s eyes for any signs of irritation or infection and wipe them gently with a damp cloth if needed.
The British Shorthair is a thick, muscular cat that needs a high-quality diet to maintain its health and weight. Choose a cat food that is appropriate for your cat’s age, size, and activity level and that meets the nutritional standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Avoid foods that contain artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or fillers.
Feed your British Shorthair twice a day, following the feeding guidelines on the food package or consulting with your vet for specific recommendations. Don’t overfeed your cat or leave food out all day, as this can lead to obesity and health problems. Provide fresh water at all times and change it daily.
You can also offer your British Shorthair some treats occasionally, such as cooked meat, fish, eggs, cheese, or fruits and vegetables. However, don’t give your cat too many treats or human foods, as this can upset its stomach or cause nutritional imbalances. Avoid foods that are toxic to cats, such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, alcohol, caffeine, or bones.
The British Shorthair is not a very active cat by nature. It tends to be lazy and prefers to lounge around rather than run and play. However, this doesn’t mean that your British Shorthair doesn’t need any exercise at all. Lack of exercise can lead to boredom, depression, and obesity, which can affect your cat’s physical and mental health.
To keep your British Shorthair fit and happy, you should provide it with opportunities for play and movement. Provide your cat with plenty of toys
that stimulate its natural instincts of hunting, chasing, and pouncing. You can use toys such as balls, feathers, mice, or laser pointers to entice your cat to play with you or by itself. You can also get a cat condo or a scratching post to encourage your cat to climb, scratch, and stretch.
Another way to exercise your British Shorthair is to take it outside on a leash or in a harness. This will allow your cat to explore new sights, sounds, and smells and to get some fresh air and sunshine. However, you should only do this if your cat is comfortable and safe in the outdoor environment and if you supervise it closely. Never leave your cat outside unattended, as it may face dangers such as predators, cars, or other animals.
The British Shorthair is a very sociable cat that loves to be around its family members. The breed is affectionate and loyal but not overly demanding or clingy. The breed likes to be near its people but not necessarily on their lap. The breed enjoys being petted and cuddled but also respects your personal space.
To socialize your British Shorthair properly, you should expose it to different people, animals, and situations from an early age. This will help your cat develop confidence and trust in you and others.
Common Health Issues in British Shorthairs
The British Shorthair is generally a healthy and robust breed that can live up to 20 years or more. However, like all cats, they are also prone to developing certain health problems throughout their lives. Some of these health issues are inherited, while others are influenced by environmental factors or lifestyle choices. Here are some of the most common health problems that can affect British Shorthair cats:
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a heart disease that commonly affects British Shorthairs and other cat breeds. This condition causes the heart muscle to thicken, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood properly. A British Shorthair with HCM may experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing, lethargy, loss of appetite, coughing, and an irregular heartbeat.
To diagnose HCM in cats, veterinarians will scan the heart to do an echocardiogram and may also recommend X-rays and blood tests. There is no cure for HCM, but treatment options are available to help manage the condition and extend your cat’s life. The key is to catch HCM early on and work with your vet to create a treatment plan to minimize its impact on your cat’s quality of life.
Feline Aortic Thromboembolism (FATE)
Another health problem for British Shorthairs is feline aortic thromboembolism (FATE). This is a serious condition that occurs when a blood clot forms just past a cat’s aorta, which is the largest artery in the body. As a result, this impedes the flow of blood to the cat’s hind legs, which can cause symptoms such as weakness, paralysis, or even death.
The moment you see your British Shorthair limping or dragging its legs, it’s important to seek emergency veterinary care because FATE is a life-threatening condition. The good news is that British Shorthairs can and do survive FATE with early and aggressive treatment. After your cat has stabilized, it may need to be on medications long-term to prevent future blood clots from forming.
Hemophilia B is a blood clotting disorder that can affect British Shorthairs and other cats. This inherited condition causes a deficiency of a protein called factor IX, which is essential for normal blood clotting. A British Shorthair with hemophilia B may bleed excessively from minor injuries or surgeries or even spontaneously without any apparent cause.
To diagnose hemophilia B in cats, veterinarians will perform blood tests to measure the level of factor IX and other clotting factors. There is no cure for hemophilia B, but treatment options are available to help control bleeding episodes and prevent complications. The main treatment is to administer factor IX concentrates intravenously or subcutaneously as needed or prophylactically.
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a kidney disorder that can affect British Shorthairs and other cats. This inherited condition causes multiple fluid-filled cysts to form in the kidneys, which can impair their function and lead to kidney failure. A British Shorthair with PKD may show signs such as increased thirst and urination, decreased appetite, weight loss, vomiting, lethargy, and anemia.
To diagnose PKD in cats, veterinarians will perform ultrasound scans of the kidneys and may also recommend blood tests and urine tests. There is no cure for PKD, but treatment options are available to help manage the symptoms and slow down the progression of kidney damage. The main treatment is to provide supportive care such as fluid therapy, dietary modification, supplements, and medications.
Cataracts are eye problems that can affect British Shorthairs and other cats. This condition causes the lens of the eye to become cloudy or opaque, which can impair vision and lead to blindness. A British Shorthair with cataracts may show signs such as cloudy or milky eyes, squinting, redness, or eye discharge.
To diagnose cataracts in cats, veterinarians will examine the eyes with an ophthalmoscope and may also recommend other tests, such as blood tests or ultrasounds. There is no cure for cataracts, but treatment options are available to help prevent complications and improve vision. The main treatment is surgery to remove the affected lens and replace it with an artificial one.
Where to Adopt or Buy a British Shorthair
If you are looking for a British shorthair cat, you have several options to find one. You can search for reputable breeders online or in your area and contact them to inquire about their available kittens or cats. You can also visit cat shows and meet breeders and their cats in person. Another option is to adopt a British shorthair from a shelter or rescue group. There are many British shorthairs that need a loving home, and you can save a life by giving them one. You can use websites like Petfinder or Adopt-a-Pet to search for British shorthairs near you or contact local shelters and rescue groups directly.
Here are a couple of other resources for finding kittens, especially if you need them to be registered.
- The British Shorthair Cat Club lists breeders on its website. (UK Based)
- Shorthair British Kittens is a home-based family business that specializes in luxury, purebred British shorthair cats and kittens for sale.
- Royally British Cattery is a TICA-registered breeder of traditional British shorthair cats in the United States.
The British Shorthair is a great cat breed for anyone looking for a loyal, loving, and easy-going companion. This breed has a charming appearance and a sweet personality that will melt your heart. The British Shorthair is also a healthy and hardy breed that can live a long and happy life with proper care and attention.
We hope you enjoyed this article about the British Shorthair cat breed. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. We’d love to hear from you!
Q: Where are British Shorthair cats from?
A: The British Shorthair is possibly the oldest cat breed in Great Britain. It is believed that they descended from domestic cats imported from Egypt by the Romans around 2,000 years ago. They were later refined and standardized by cat fanciers in the 19th century.
Q: What are the main characteristics of the British Shorthair cat breed?
A: The British Shorthair is a medium-sized to large cat breed with a short, dense coat and a distinctive rounded head and face. They have a broad chest, muscular neck, strong jaws, and a well-developed muzzle. They come in many different colors and patterns, but the most familiar one is the blue-gray variant called the “British Blue”.
Q: What is the personality of the British Shorthair cat breed?
A: The British Shorthair is a very pleasant cat to have as a companion. They are affectionate, easy-going, calm, loyal, and intelligent. They are wonderful family cats that get along with everyone, including kids and other animals. They are active without being hyper, tend to be quiet, and can live happily in almost any size house.
Q: Are British Shorthair cats easy to care for?
A: Yes, as far as basic care needs, they are easy. The British Shorthair cat needs only minimal grooming. You should brush their coat once a week to remove loose hair and dirt. You should also trim their nails, clean their ears, and brush their teeth regularly. Feed them a high-quality diet, and don’t overfeed. You should also check their eyes for any signs of cataracts and take them to the vet regularly for health check-ups.
Q: What are some common health problems of the British Shorthair cat breed?
A: The British Shorthair is generally a healthy and robust breed that can live up to 20 years or more. However, like all breeds, they can be prone to developing certain health problems such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), feline aortic thromboembolism (FATE), hemophilia B, polycystic kidney disease (PKD), and cataracts. You should be aware of the symptoms of these conditions and seek veterinary care if you notice any signs of distress in your cat.