British Shorthair Cat
As one of the most popular breeds, British Shorthair cats are easygoing and have a sweet temperament. While they are not a lap cat, they do enjoy sitting close to their human companions. If you are looking for a friendly, medium size furry companion, this could be the breed for you! Let’s find out more about British Shorthairs.
British Shorthair Cat – A History
British Shorthairs can be traced back to Roman domestic shorthairs. It is believed that the ancient Romans brought this breed with them to Britain to fight the rodent population. They soon became farm cats for their ability to hunt and kill mice and other rodents.
In the 1800s, cat fancier Harrison Wier became known as the first to breed the “British Blue,” which later became known as the British Shorthair.
Weir was not only known for breeding British shorthairs, but he has also been credited for setting the rules for the first-ever cat show, held in Great Britain in 1871.
Like most cat breeds, this breed almost became extinct in the two world wars with very few British Shorthairs remaining after World War II. Even at the brink of extinction, cat breeders fought the Cat Fancy British Governing Council attempts to cross-breed them with other breeds.
British Shorthairs were recognized by the American Cat Association in 1967 and the Cat Fanciers Association in 1980. Today, they are fully recognized by all cat associations.
The British Shorthair cat tend to be medium to large in size and have very sturdy builds. Besides having strong, heavy bones and muscles, they also have a muscular neck, broad chest and thick, strong legs accompanied by a strong muzzle and jaw – thus giving them a thick and round stature
- Solid color
- Males: 5.4kg – 9kg (12-20 lbs)
- Females: 3.6kg – 6.3kg (8-14 lbs)
British Shorthair cats are very laid back cats; making them an ideal choice for a family pet. Although they enjoy affection, they tend not to be overly attention-seeking.
British Shorthair cats tend not be to be lap cats. Even if they do like to be close to their human family and will follow you around the house – they just do not like being carried about.
Often preferring to sit close by while being petted. They have a soft voice and are not overly demanding or destructive in nature. Furthermore, they are welcoming to strangers as they are not a shy breed.
Like any kitten, younger British Shorthair cats are energetic but tend to mellow out by the time they turn a year old – reaching full maturity around the age of three.
Although British Shorthair cats do become less active with age, expect sudden bursts of energy, especially with male British Shorthair cats. Females of this breed tend to be more laid back, while males have a bit of a mischievous, albeit harmless, side.
While they do enjoy interacting with their humans, British Shorthair cats can also amuse themselves, making them a good choice for a single person household. If they want playtime, they will bring you a toy to get your attention. They do not seem to be mind being left alone and enjoy sleeping in a soft, sunny spot under the window.
British Shorthairs are extremely intelligent cats. They are one of a few breed of cats that can learn tricks by rewarding their antics. They can be entertained with puzzle toys and other “safe” toys to hold their attention.
An ideal apartment cat, the British Shorthair cat makes a great pet for a household with children or other animals, including cat-friendly dogs! With proper introduction, of course.
Unlike some breeds, British Shorthair cats do not just bond to one person. They are highly loyal, devoted and will bond with the entire family. While they are not extremely vocal, they do purr very loudly when shown affection.
Health and Lifespan
The average lifespan of a British Shorthair is roughly 14 to 20 years. Like any other breed of cat, they can suffer from common health issues such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and gingivitis. Keep in mind that cats are just like humans, and can get an unexpected illness at any time in their life. Purchasing a cat from a breeder does not rule out any possible health issues.
British shorthair cats can be prone to Hemophilia B, which as a hereditary bleeding disorder; however, a DNA test can be performed to determine if your cat is susceptible to this breed-specific disease.
Due to their thick, coarse coat, British Shorthair cats should be brushed daily and combed once or twice a week. They are self-groomers, so they will not require bathing. You should trim their nails weekly and clean their eyes and ears regularly. Their coat thickens in colder climates to keep them warm, so they do shed moderately.
Care and Nutrition
When picking up your British Shorthair cat, support their back end.
Lifting them by the hind legs would apply pressure on their abdomen, making them very uncomfortable.
You should brush their teeth weekly when possible to prevent periodontal disease. Keep their litter boxes clean as possible. British Shorthair cats prefer a spotlessly clean litter box.
Besides preferring to remain indoors, British Shorthair cats should be kept indoors as they tend to be at a high risk of being stolen due to their popularity as a breed.
Always leave out clean, fresh water for your British Shorthair cat. British Shorthair cats should have a diet that consists of foods that are high in DHA, EPA and Omega 3 fatty acids for healthy joints and bones. They should never be put on a vegetarian or vegan diet as they are carnivores and need meat in their diet to live. You should avoid foods that contain carbohydrates as cats do not digest carbohydrates or plant-based ingredients well. This could lead to health issues such as diabetes or digestive issues.
Where to Find British Shorthair Cats
While you can purchase a purebred British Shorthair Cat from a breeder, you can also find them at your local animal shelter or adopting one from a cat Rescue shelter or group.
Fun Facts about British Shorthair Cats
- The Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland is based on a British Shorthair.
- A British Shorthair Cat was featured in the original “I Can Has Cheeseburger” meme in 2007.
- British Shorthairs are known for having the loudest purr among any cat breed.
- Due to their facial structure, British Shorthairs appear to have an “eternal smile.”
- “Puss in Boots” is also believed to have been inspired by a British shorthair.