This round, teddy-like cat with the plush-like fur is an intelligent and affectionate friend. British shorthair, or “british” as it is often called, is perfect as company for those who are looking for a moderately active, affectionate cat.
British shorthair is not entirely unexpectedly derived from Britain, but the roots are found in Egyptian cats of Roman origin that were imported by the British in the 1880s. At that time, the breed was called “British Blue” due to the distinctive blue (gray) color that all cats then had. British Blue became a popular companion cat around the turn of the century and it was often seen at exhibitions.
During the First and Second World Wars, however, the breeding of these cats decreased and in the 1950s there were not many cats left. The breed was then given new genetic material through crosses with domestic short-haired cats, russian blue, Persian cats and more.
Initially, there was a common breed standard for British shorthair and British longhair, but in the early 1980s, the International Breed Tax Association FIFe decided to recognize them as two different breeds.
British Shorthair is a calm cat that is affectionate, friendly and easy going. It can be described as a kind and quiet friend who does not demand much and who is moderately active. They are not very close but like to be near you and they usually get along well with the family’s other pets. Visiting people are not a problem as long as the cat gets to know the company at its own pace.
It is not uncommon for British shorthair to dislike being worn. Many Britons prefer to keep their dignity with their paws firmly in the ground.
Appearance, size and weight
British Shorthair is a medium to large cat with a large, muscular body. It has short, strong legs and a short tail, round firm paws and a rounded tail tip. It resembles a teddy bear with its thick, plush-like fur, its large round head with its full cheeks, its large round eyes and its blunt nose. Adult males weigh 5–7 kilos and females weigh 3–5 kilos.
This cat can have almost any color and pattern other than the original blue (gray) color. For example, they can have colors such as black, white, beige, chocolate brown, red or cinnamon brown, light brown, purple, tabby or turtle color and they can also be masked. The eyes can be blue, green, golden yellow or copper colored, depending on the color of the coat.
The short, dense coat is easy to care for – a couple of brushes a week is enough. If the cat spends a lot of time outdoors, you need to brush it more often in the spring when it sheds its winter coat.
Special characteristics of the breed
Because British shorthair is a fairly large and heavy breed, it matures late and has usually not reached its full physique until at the age of 3-4 years.
British shorthair is generally a healthy breed, but hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) occurs in the breed. HCM is the most common heart disease in cats and means a thickening of the heart muscle, which in the long run can lead to complications such as heart failure or blood clots. There is no cure for HCM. Some breeders choose to have their breeding treasures ultrasounded regularly to ensure that they have no changes in their heart. In this way, you can prevent the offspring from getting the disease.
The inclusion of Persian cats in the pedigree means a small risk of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). This disease causes cysts (fluid-filled cavities) that develop over time. This leads to enlarged kidneys, impaired kidney function and eventually to kidney failure. The disease can be diagnosed with the help of an ultrasound examination and there is a genetic test that can determine if the animal carries the diseased gene.
As with other cats, feeding should be based on age, size and activity level. It is an advantage to feed the cat a varied diet, where soft food is an important component. Always consult your veterinarian if you are unsure about which food is best for your cat.
Obesity and obesity are a common health problem in cats. Remember that it is much easier to prevent obesity than to fix it. Proper feeding and encouragement of activity, especially if the cat lives as an indoor cat, are important elements in the prevention of obesity.
5 fun facts about British shorthair
- Early in the breed’s history, all cats were blue (gray) and the breed was named “British Blue”. Although there are many other colors today, the blue color is still sought after.
- There is also a long-haired very closely related breed, British long-haired – the only thing that separates them is the coat length.
- Children are no problem for this cool cat, as long as the children learn to treat the cat with respect.
- Many Britons dislike being carried and prefer to stand firmly with their paws on the ground.
- As with other cat breeds, obesity and obesity are a common health problem for British shorthair – prevent this through controlled feeding and activation.