The British Shorthair and especially the British Blue are among the most common domestic felines. With its thick body, broad facial shape, and dense fur coat, the British Shorthair is also the inspiration behind the famous Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.
The British Shorthair is solid and muscular, with a calm personality. As befits his British heritage, he’s a bit reserved, but once he meets someone, he’s quite caring. Its short, dense coat comes in many colors and patterns, and it must be brushed two to three times a week to remove dead hair.
British Shorthair breed: fun facts
- Blue is the most popular color for British Shorthairs, so much so that “British Blue” almost looks like the breed itself.
- His eyes can be deep gold, copper, blue or green, depending on which of his many hair colors he sports.
- From them come the British Longhair.
History and origins of the British Shorthair
You may not realize it, but you probably grew up with the British Shorthair. He is the clever feline from Puss in Boots and the smiling Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland.
The British Shorthair is originally from England. With the rise of cat shows during the Victorian era, cat hobbyists began to breed cats to a particular standard and maintain pedigrees for them. In early cat shows, British Shorthairs were the only pedigree cats on display. All others were described simply by coat type or color.
Two world wars devastated the breed, and few British Shorthairs remained after World War II. With the help of other breeds, Shorthairs, as they are called in Britain, were revitalized.
The American Cat Association recognized the British Shorthair in 1967, but the Cat Fanciers Association did not accept it until 1980. Now, all cat associations recognize the breed.
British Shorthair cat size
Adult males weigh between 6 and 10 kg and females between 4 and 7 kg. It is a big cat.
Character of the British Shorthair breed
The British Shorthair is smooth and calm, making it an excellent family companion. He enjoys affection, but he’s not the “me, me, me” type of cat. Expect him to follow you around the house during the day and settle near wherever you stop.
Full of British custom, the Shorthair has a calm voice and is an undemanding companion. He doesn’t need a lap, although he loves to sit next to you. Being a big cat, it does not like being carried around.
This is a cat with a moderate activity level. He is energetic during his childhood and adolescence, but usually begins to calm down when he is one year old. Older British Shorthair cats are often addicted to sofas, but adult males will sometimes play around and goof around. When they run around the house, they can sound like a herd of elephants.
British Shorthairs are rarely destructive; her manners are that of a proper governess, not a football hooligan. They welcome guests with confidence.
British Shorthair health
All cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit diseases. Any breeder who claims that their breed has no health or genetic issues is either lying or has no knowledge about the breed. Run away, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee for kittens, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that their kittens are isolated from the main part of the home by health reasons.
The British Shorthair is generally healthy, but is prone to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and hemophilia B, an inherited bleeding disorder. A DNA test has been developed that allows breeders to identify carriers of hemophilia B or affected cats.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common form of heart disease in these cats. It causes thickening (hypertrophy) of the heart muscle. An echocardiogram can confirm if a cat has HCM. Avoid breeders who claim to have CMH-free lines. No one can guarantee that their cats will never develop HCM. British Shorthairs to be bred should be screened for CMH, and cats identified with CMH should be excluded from breeding programs. Do not buy a kitten whose parents have not been tested for this disease.
Do not buy from a breeder who does not provide a written health guarantee. Remember that after bringing a new kitten into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity.
Keeping a British Shorthair at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to protect its overall health. Make the most of your preventive skills to help ensure a healthier life for your cat.
The British Shorthair and its care
The short, smooth coat of the British Shorthair is easy to clean with a weekly brushing or combing to remove dead hairs. Bathing him is rarely necessary.
Brush your teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is the best. Trim nails weekly. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t risk spreading any infection.
Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them off with a cotton ball or soft cloth dampened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the inside of the ear.
Keep the litter box immaculately clean. Cats are very particular when it comes to bathroom hygiene.
It’s a good idea to keep a British Shorthair as an indoor-only cat to protect it from diseases carried by other cats, dog attacks, and the other dangers outdoor cats face, such as being hit by a car. British Shorthairs that go outside are also at risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have a British Shorthair cat.
Appearance and coat of the British Shorthair cat
With its short thick hair, round head and cheeks, large round eyes, and rounded body, the British Shorthair looks like but is nothing like a teddy bear. Its body is compact but powerful with a broad chest, strong legs with rounded legs, and a thick tail with a rounded tip. The coat comes in just about any color or pattern you could want, including lilac, chocolate, black, white, spiky, brindle, and many more. The best known color is blue (gray) and cats are sometimes referred to as British Blues.
This breed of cat does not reach full physical maturity until it is between 3 and 5 years of age.
Medium to large in size, well made and powerful. Wide and deep back and chest.
Round and massive. Round face with well-established round underlying bone structure on a short, thick neck. The forehead is often round with a slight flat on the top of the head. The nose is medium and wide. In the profile there is a gentle dip. The chin is firm, well developed in line with the nose and upper lip. The muzzle is distinctive, well developed.
Medium in size, broad at the base, rounded at the tips. They are pulled to the sides and fit the contour of the head.
Large, round, wide open. Like the ears, they are slightly apart. The color of the eyes depends on the color of the hair.
LEGS AND CLAWS
Short legs, with thick and strong bones in proportion to the body. The front legs are straight. Round and firm legs.
Medium length in proportion to the body, thicker at the base, tapering slightly to a rounded tip.
Short, very dense, with a good body and firm to the touch.
Any color or pattern, with the exception of those that show evidence of hybridization resulting in chocolate, lavender, the Himalayan pattern, or these combinations with white.
British Shorthair cat with children or other pets
This well-mannered cat adapts well to life with families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He loves the attention he receives from children who treat him with courtesy and respect, and he forgives clumsy children. Supervise young children and show them how to pet the cat well. Instead of holding or carrying the cat, have them sit on the ground and pet it. Other cats will not disturb your balance and peace of mind.
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