British shorthair might be one of the most favorite cat breeds of all cat lovers. This cat breed is a powerful, compact, and well-balanced breed with a very dense and short coat. This cat is a pedigree version of a traditional British domestic cat breeds. British shorthair cats have a broad face, distinctively muscular, and solid body.
The breed’s soft, calm, and good-natured appearance makes it a frequent media star. John Tenniel took inspiration from this powerful-looking cat for his famous illustration of the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland. This breed is the most famous pedigree breed in its native country, as registered by the UK Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF).
Every year almost a quarter of British shorthair kittens are registered with GCCF, making them the most popular breed in the UK. The Cat Fanciers' Association profile reads: " When gracelessness is observed, the British Shorthair is duly embarrassed, quickly recovering with a 'Cheshire cat smile'."
Want to know more about the British shorthair cat breed? Read the complete blog!
In this blog, you learn about every little detail about the British shorthair. Here is a quick overview of British shorthair cat breeds.
History and Origin of British Shorthair
The origin of the British shorthair goes back to the first century AD, making them the most ancient cat breed globally. This breed is native to Great Britain, just like the American shorthair is native to America. Romans used to keep these cats with them in the camps to clear out mice, insects, and snakes.
When Romans invaded Britain, they brought these cats with them along the way. The Romans eventually left Britain, but the brits were left behind. These felines then interbred with the local European wildcat population. When Victorian England began to infatuate the pedigreed cats, this breed was one of the first developed varieties.
During World War I, the breeders made crosses to Persians, and these longhair cats came into existence. However, these cats almost faded out during World War II, becoming the victims of food shortages. After the end of the war, the breed was revived with crossing to domestic shorthair, Persian, Russian blue, and other cats.
In the nineteenth century, selective breeding was emphasized on producing the unusual blue-grey variant called “English type” or “British Blue”. Harrison Weir -a UK breeder- is usually credited for the initial concept of standardizing the breed. Other breeders are also involved as pioneering cat fanciers.
These felines were featured in the first cat shows, held at the Crystal Palace in London in 1871 and organized by Weir. These cats enjoyed great initial popularity. However, with the advent of Persian and other long-haired cats during the 1900s, the popularity of brits had fallen out of favor. Any long-haired cat created after that time would eventually be placed into the Persian breeding program.
British shorthair was first recognized by the American Cat Association (ACA) in 1967. The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized British shorthair in 1979. The Cat Fancier Association (CFA) formally recognized this breed in 1980. After the recognition, the breed once again gained popularity and became the most famous pedigreed breed in its native country.
British Shorthair Personality Traits
If you want a super fun-loving, active, and energetic cat, then British shorthair is not for you.
This cat breed is considered the best household companion because of its undemanding nature. They are not generally lapcats, and you will not always find them underfoot or in your face but somewhere near you on the floor. They are affectionate but not clingy and love to keep a low profile. Undemanding nature with a bit of typical resistance, even-tempered, and calm personality traits became the reason for their popularity.
British shorthair cats are affectionate, intelligent, and dignified companions. They become extremely faithful companions when they get over their initial reserves. They are to become loving and loyal companions when you give them love and attention. The more affection and care you give them, the more they will repay you in kind.
These cats are confident, devoted, and tend to trust you when they get to know you. They love to keep an eye on your activities and follow you from room to room. They enjoy quality time with you without asking you for your full attention.
British shorthair cats suit well to any home with people who will love them. They do not get hyper or become destructive in any situation. They are very independent compared to other cat breeds and usually adapt well to most situations. They show loyalty and affection to the whole family instead of just one person with whom they bond well.
These cats are quite humorous but not very vocal and only make tiny squeaking sounds rather than meows. They are often known for their motorboat type purr as they make up for their tiny squeaking by some of the loudest purrings you have ever heard.
British Shorthair Temperament
Talking about the British shorthair cat’s temperament, you will love this easy-going and dignified breed.
British shorthair cat breed is a sweet-natured, moderately active breed and devoted to its owner. They are not as playful or active as other cat breeds. However, they enjoy a fair amount of physical activity.
These smiling cats have a happy-go-lucky nature but a natural air of command. They are very calm and undemanding. These cats are usually quiet but occasionally have bursts of crazed activity and then get back into their normal dignified and affectionate temperament. They enjoy their owner’s attention and get along with kids, dogs, and other pets.
The female British shorthairs are serious as compared to male British shorthair. However, both genders want to be with or around their people but not necessarily in a lap or being carried around. They can also live alone for a while and be satisfied to entertain themselves until you return.
As these cats are not very active and playful, you’ll find them on the floor somewhere near you but not on top of the refrigerator. Moreover, these cats might be laid back but are very smart and love to play with toys, especially if they are interactive. You can easily teach them various tricks with positive reinforcement, i.e., providing them kibble or treats when they learn something.
British Shorthair Physical Attributes - Official Breed Standards
The British shorthair is a study in roundness as they are round everywhere, i.e., paws, eyes, head. Even the tail has a rounded tip. They are relatively powerful-looking large cats having thick-set legs and a broad chest. They have a short but thick and dense coat, and their large ears are broad and widely set.
In the beginning, these cats were named British blue, as they only had blue color at that time. Over time, their plush coats started to come in various colors and patterns. A long-haired variety called British longhair also exists, which is exactly the same as British shorthair except for the coat.
Moreover, these cats are slow to mature than most of the other cat breeds. They reach their full physical development at approximately three years of age. They are a noticeably sexually dimorphic breed among domestic cats.
Brit’s coat is one of the defining features. It is thick and dense with a double layer of fur, having a plush texture with a firm, crisp pile. They come in various colors, including golden, silver, cream, red, white, blue, black, fawn, and cinnamon.
All official standards accept a Bicolor pattern, shaded, tabby, colorpoints, or simple solid color. Tortoiseshell variants are also acceptable but dilute lilac and chocolate colors are disallowed in breed standards.
The tabby patterns include ticked tabby, spotted, mackerel tabby, and classic tabby. The non-tabby patterns include tipped and colorpoints, smoke, van patterns bi-color and white, bi-color, and tortoiseshell.
Here are the standard physical attributes of British shorthair accepted by all official breed standards.
|Massive and round
||Short and Dense
|Round and slightly flat forehead
||Firm to touch
|Round and Large
|Eye color depends upon the coat color
|Set wide apart
||Combination of these colors with white
||Legs & Paws
|Powerful and well-knit
||Short to medium
|Medium to large
||Strong and well boned
|Deep broad chest
||Firm and round paws
|Medium in size
||Thick at base
|Broad at base
Care and Grooming Needs of British Shorthair
British shorthair cats are not just easy-going but are also easy to groom. Their plush coat needs weekly grooming. However, you need to groom your cat more often during spring and fall when she sheds her coat in preparation for new growth. Other than that, weekly combing or brushing is enough to keep loose hairs at a minimum and remove dead hairs.
The rest is basic care as any other cat breed requires. Weekly nail trimming or whenever required. Ear checking for a bad smell, infection, redness could also be done every week. Wipe the ears with a cotton ball damped with a gentle cleanser recommended by your vet to remove any dirt or moisture.
Regular teeth brushing with vet-approved toothpaste is also suggested for fresh breath and overall dental health. Bath them often to keep their coat shiny and sleek and remove any dirt or impurities from the coat. Bath them every 2 to 3 months or whenever required to prevent fleas and remove mats. Strat grooming activities early when your kitten is young so that they accept the activity as a normal grooming routine.
Unknown Facts About British Shorthair
Having an undemanding cat in the home is all a lazy pet owner needs. Here are some amazing unknown facts about British shorthair.
British Shorthair Health Problems and Medical Care
As all people have the potential to develop diseases, cats have the potential to develop many genetic health problems. However, they are considered long-lived cats with a higher life expectancy. Even though the breed is one of the most ancient cat breeds, they still have minimal health issues.
The British shorthair is prone to the following health problems.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
HCM is the most common type of heart problem in British shorthair cats. It causes thickening of the heart muscles, limiting the amount of blood pumped to the body leading to blood clots and heart failure. It can be diagnosed through X-ray, ECG, and ultrasound. Drugs, medication, and proper treatment can slow down the advancement and alleviate the disease.
According to a study, more than 329 cats had HCM, of which 2.1% were female, and 20.4% are male cats. The results of this study made HCM testing mandatory for males used for breeding.
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
Brits are thought to be at high risk of Polycystic Kidney Disease. PKD forms a cyst in the kidney, leading to kidney failure. It can be diagnosed through ultrasound or genetic testing. However, there is no cure for PKD, but some medicines effectively alleviate the disease effects and reduce its advancement.
Make British Shorthair Your ESA!
Who doesn't love an undemanding, lenient, and easygoing feline that wants nothing but love and affection?
British shorthairs are commonly known as “Happy Cats” and a perfect family companion. If your preference is calm, friendly, peace lover, affectionate cat breed, British shorthair is for you.
Brits are very adaptable, and they understand your mood and act accordingly. They do not irritate you by being clingy or demanding a lot of attention. They are good on their own and enjoy some quality “Me Time”. However, they become quite attached to the people they own.
So if you are looking for an Emotional Support cat, consider this lovely feline. You would love the company of happy British shorthair. They will not just provide you emotional support but also help you deal with your mental health problem. Ask your doctor to provide you an ESA letter so that you can keep your cat with you wherever you go.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are British shorthair cats cuddly?
No, British shorthair cats do not love cuddling. They might enjoy a quick cuddle, but they prefer less physical ways to show love and affection. They are generally “no lap” cats but adore human company.
2. Why do British shorthair cats hate being picked up?
British shorthair is one the strongest and independent cat breeds who do not enjoy being picked up. They get uncomfortable when you hold them, even if you hold them with soft hands. Picking them is a sort of harassment to them rather than an act of affection.
3. Do British shorthairs shed a lot?
Yes, British shorthairs shed a lot. They have a short but thick coat and a double layer of fur. Their undercoat sheds quite frequently, mostly in spring and fall.
4. Do British shorthair cats like to climb?
British shorthair prefers to stay on the floor rather than jumping on the refrigerator or swinging dizzily from your chandelier. However, they enjoy climbing certainly less than other cat breeds.
5. Can British shorthair cats go outside?
Yes, British shorthair cats can go outside. However, you need to take care of them and not leave them unattended outside of the house. Leaving them alone outside can be dangerous for your cat.
6. How do you train a British shorthair cat?
As British shorthairs are intelligent and easy to train, the trick is to teach them tricks with patience. Positive reinforcement is the best trick to train you feline anything.
7. Do British shorthair cats scratch furniture?
Scratching furniture is in cats’ nature regardless of the breed, so yes, brits scratch furniture. However, you can prevent your British shorthair from scratching furniture by diverting her attention to other things.
8. Is British shorthair hypoallergenic?
No, British shorthair cats are not hypoallergenic. So if you are allergic to cats, British shorthair is not the one for you.
9. How high can British shorthair jump?
British shorthair cats can jump approximately 2.3 to 2.76 meters equivalent to 7.5 to 9 feet vertically in the air. They are not much of a climber and love to be on the floor.
10. Can British shorthair cats be left alone?
Yes, British shorthair cats can easily live alone as they are independent and strong. They can handle 1 to 3 days of short-term loneliness better than all other cat breeds. However, leaving your cat alone and unattended is never a good idea.
11. What should I feed my British shorthair?
As with all other cats, British shorthair should be fed high-quality dry or wet cat food. They are obligate carnivores just like other cats; they will do well on food that contains meat as one of the ingredients or wholly of meat.