The British Shorthair is a pretty big cat breed that could be described as thick or chunky, and is considered one of the oldest and most popular breeds in Britain.
The British Shorthair cat will be a great companion for people of all ages and families with children due to its calm, cheerful character and philosophical attitude to the owners’ daily absences.
The British Shorthair is by far the most famous cat breed in the UK. Although there are only written records of the existence of British shorthair – since the beginning of the twentieth century, the breed goes back hundreds of years. The first British Shorthair cat has probably arrived in Britain with the invasion of Roman troops and has been present in prints and paintings over the centuries.
It has been exported in large quantities to the New World, where it has become very popular. The variety of colors and fur patterns available today is due to the selective reproduction of the best stray cats in the 19th century and the careful reproduction plans preserved to this day.
Native country: Great Britain
British Shorthair physical characteristics
British Shorthair cats are medium to large in size, with a stocky, well-developed body, a broad chest, well-developed muscles, a strong back and shoulders, short but stocky limbs, large round legs and a thick tail, slightly curved. The head is round, massive on a short thick neck. In general, all parts of the body in animals of this breed should look massive and rounded.
British Shorthair males are noticeably larger than females – 5.5-9 kg versus 3.5-6.5 kg, respectively. Growth is fully completed only by 5 years.
Head: Large, round, with full cheeks. The forehead is rounded, between the ears passes into a flat area, the “stop” is poorly expressed, but still noticeable.
Eyes: The eyes of the British Shorthair cats are large, round and expressive. Set wide and straight. The look is open and friendly. The color is in harmony with the color of the coat and can be yellow, copper-orange, blue, green. In white cats, heterochromia is possible – eyes of different colors.
Nose: Short, wide, straight. The nose and chin are vertical.
Ears: The ears of the British Shorthair are small, wide at the base, with neatly rounded tips. On the head, set wide and low.
Neck: Short, muscular.
Body: Well balanced, powerful and strong. Not loose! The chest is wide and deep. The back is short and muscular.
British Shorthair cat character
British shorthair cats are “natural giants” of the feline world. They are kind and loving towards humans and other animals. These cats do not continually seek the attention of humans and are quieter than their eastern counterparts, with whom they also do not share the curious nature that drives many eastern breeds into trouble .
These cats are calm, cute smart and gentle cats. They are much more active than other breeds that are related to the Persian. However, with age, these cats prefer not games but the opportunity to sleep peacefully. British Shorthair cats are balanced, sociable, unobtrusive, independent and loyal to their owner.
Cats of this breed usually give birth to 1-2 kittens in the litter. They usually do not need help with the birth of a baby. These are very loyal and caring mothers who do not shift the care of kittens on the shoulders of the owner.
These are very peaceful cats, so you can safely house a British Shorthair cat in a house where other animals already live. They do not require much attention and are easy to train. By the way, that’s why they like to shoot in movies and commercials.
This is a great breed for modern city dwellers.
Caring for a British Shorthair is easy. It is necessary to comb the hair daily with a special glove. Once a week, examine and wipe their eyes and ears. These cats should be washed once a month.
The main condition for a good appearance of this cat is a balanced, high-quality high-calorie diet.
The health of the British shorthair cats is not a serious concern for specialists. But breeders who claim that British Shorthairs are generally not prone to disease are shamelessly cunning. Yes, there are no specific British shorthair diseases, but there are some that affect any pedigree cats – including genetically determined ones, therefore, appropriate medical research must be carried out before animals are allowed to breed.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a thickening of the wall of one of the ventricles (more often the left one), which leads to a violation of the heart rhythm, heart failure and death. When a whole complex of drugs is detected at an early stage and taken for life, the development of the disease can be significantly slowed down. Animals with this diagnosis cannot participate in breeding.
- Hemophilia B – decreased blood clotting, as a result of which any injury is fraught with serious blood loss or extensive internal hemorrhage. The risk of the disease is increased by closely related crossbreeding. There is no full-fledged treatment, sick animals are given blood transfusions, and iron preparations, hepatoprotectors, vitamins B6 and B12 are prescribed to combat anemia and stimulate hematopoiesis. Carriers of genes and individuals suffering from hemophilia are excluded from breeding.
- Polycystic kidney disease is the formation of fluid-filled, hollow tumors that disrupt the normal functioning of the excretory system. A typical disease of Persian cats, from hybridization with which the British shorthair cats suffered. At the initial stages, there are no noticeable changes in the pet’s behavior, therefore it is often diagnosed only at an advanced stage. There is no effective therapy. If the cysts are isolated, they can be removed during surgery, but in case of serious damage, only medical treatment is possible, which will extend the life of the animal for several months or years.
- Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that affects the ligaments and bones. In the absence of proper treatment, teeth are lost and the infection spreads through the bloodstream.
British shorthair cats do not give their owners much trouble. Their dense and thick fur practically does not tangle and does not fall off, therefore, to care for the fur, it is enough to walk on the fur coat with a special brush once or twice a week and remove the loose hairs. During periods of seasonal molting (spring and autumn), the procedure must be carried out more often, otherwise furniture and clothing will become unexpectedly fluffy.
The ears are cleaned once every two weeks, it is advisable to wipe the eyes with cotton swabs dipped in boiled water, once a week.
It makes sense from time to time to give your pet preparations to dissolve the coat, since when licking, part of the thick coat gets into the stomach and can cause serious health problems.
Frequent washing of the British shorthair cat is undesirable, since the natural fatty coat is a barrier to many infections and bacteria. If the animal, for any reason, is so dirty that washing cannot solve the problem, be sure to use mild products recommended by veterinarians and make sure that no water gets into the ears – this can provoke inflammation of the ear canal.
The immunity of the British shorthair cats allows them to take long walks on the street without health consequences, when the air temperature does not drop too low, but in large cities heavy car traffic, dog attacks and the actions of intruders are a serious danger, so home maintenance will be preferable.
This breed is prone to obesity, which is the root cause of a number of diseases. The relatively low physical activity of adults leads to a rapid accumulation of excess weight. A balanced diet and strict adherence to the recommended serving sizes will help avoid problems. With natural nutrition, do not forget about the need to take vitamin and mineral supplements.
Regular preventive examinations in the veterinary clinic, timely vaccinations and regular care of teeth and ears will help to ensure a good standard of living for your British Shorthair cat. Please note that all reputable breeder and cat owner organizations strongly oppose the practice of claw removal and tendonectomy (a surgical procedure that removes part of the tendon responsible for the claw release mechanism). The most humane way to protect your furniture and wallpaper is by carefully trimming the sharp points and using the scratching post.
The British Shorthair and like each cat is unique and has its own needs in terms of food. However, cats are carnivores and each cat must obtain 41 different specific nutrients in their food. The proportion of these nutrients will vary depending on age, lifestyle and overall health, so it is expected that an energetic kitten that is still growing needs a balance of nutrients different from that of a less active older cat.
It is necessary to pay attention to the amount of food necessary to maintain an ideal physical condition according to the feeding guidelines and according to individual preferences regarding the type of food (wet or dry).
Choose premium premium professional feeds, and if you decide to feed your pet “natural”, it is better to take lean beef, offal and fish – but only in boiled form, but it is better to refuse pork, lamb, poultry (except chicken).
Sometimes you can treat the British Shorthair cat with egg yolk and dairy products. As a “side dish”, offer the cat vegetable purees made of zucchini, pumpkin or carrot. Talk to your veterinarian about which vitamin and mineral supplements to choose for your cat — they will make her coat shiny and her bones and teeth strong.
British Shorthair Cat Highlights
- This breed has lived next to the British for so long that in their homeland they call it simply shorthair.
- Recognizable features are a round muzzle, a stocky body and thick fur of a special texture, tactilely reminiscent of plush.
- Long before the appearance of the first “feline” organizations, the British shorthair cat was valued not for its external qualities, but for its unsurpassed skill as a mouse-catcher.
- Animals openly show their affection for their owners, but they do not like to sit on their knees and hang on a person’s arms.
- They treat other pets well (including dogs, rodents and birds), but they feel great as the only animal.
- British shorthair cats do not require complex and specific care.
- After reaching maturity, the level of physical activity decreases significantly.
- The main danger awaiting British apartment maintenance, veterinarians call obesity.
- British shorthair cats are generally considered healthy cats, with an average lifespan of 12-17 years.