The British Shorthair is every bit as English as scones and tea. This breed descends from the British domestic cat variety, with a powerful physique, a broad face and a chunky body. The rounded head is marked by full cheeks, a short nose and perfectly rounded eyes, which makes it seem like the cat is smiling all the time. One thing you’ll notice is the plush, short coating that’s very tempting to touch and hold.
Often called British Blue, the cat sports a good-natured, relaxed countenance and calm temperament. As such, this breed can often be seen alongside Hollywood stars. The Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland portrays one, and Garfield (the famous cartoon cat) has a British Blue girlfriend named Arlene. In 1871, this cat went side-by-side with some of the most exotic cats in the first-ever cat show in Crystal Palace, London.
The silver version of the British Blue is the logo of Whiskas, a popular cat food brand. The CFA, or Cat Fanciers Association, describes the breed as being quick to recover from embarrassment with a Cheshire Cat’s smile.
- 1 History of the British Shorthair
- 2 Size of the British Shorthair
- 3 Personality of the British Shorthair
- 4 British Shorthair Kittens
- 5 Breeding
- 6 British Shorthair Health
- 7 Care of the British Shorthair
- 8 Litter Box Training
- 9 British Shorthair Nutrition
- 10 Coat and Eye Colors
- 11 British Shorthair Grooming
- 12 Children and Other Pets
History of the British Shorthair
The long, illustrious history of the British Shorthair can be traced back to Roman cats. This cat breed was once highly prized because it had preternatural hunting instincts and well-muscled physique. The Romans brought these cats along when they took over Britain primarily to keep their food from being eaten by rodents.
When the war was over, some of these British Blues remained. The Shorthair was the center of attention when pedigree cat breeding became a popular pastime in Victorian England. Harrison Wier, one of the first cat breeders, is the father of the British Blue. He brought on a breeding programme and singlehandedly turned the then-alley cats into a princely pedigreed state.
The breed almost went extinct during World War II. In the aftermath, the British Blue was crossed with Russian Blues, other shorthairs and Persians in an effort to preserve the line.
The British Blue was recognized by the American Cat Association in 1967. The International Cat Association followed suit in 1979 and the Cat Fanciers Association a year later.
Size of the British Shorthair
British Blues are stocky, squat and have a square body with a full chest. The legs are thick and end in rounded paws. On the average, the breed can grow up to 14 inches in height and weigh about 7 to 17 lbs, with the males going upwards 15 to 17 lbs. while the females average around 7 to 12 lbs. The males also tend to be larger than their female counterparts.
Personality of the British Shorthair
The British Blue is one of the most easygoing cat breeds out there. Moreover, this cat variety is undemanding and won’t sulk or find a new owner if you’re out most of the time. This cat loves to sit next to you and follow you around the house. Understandably, this breed doesn’t sit on laps and they aren’t keen on being carried around due to their size.
The male British Blue is carefree while the female type is a bit more serious. They tend to grow up to be couch potatoes with the occasional goofing off every now and then. The always-smiling look attracts a lot of attention, especially with younger family members and guests.
Sometimes the British Blue will play around with energy before returning to his dignified self. They are proper and don’t cause much destruction around the house. They are quiet and are perfect for those who love peace and order.
British Shorthair Kittens
Reputable breeders won’t release or start selling British Blues until they’re about 3 to 4 month’s old. The kittens are somewhat slower to mature than other cat varieties; they reach full maturity after 3 full years. The British Blue can make do with moderate physical exertion. All kitties, no matter the breed are playful and full of zest, but the British Blue tends to settle down when he or she turns one.
As a sidenote, it’s your responsibility to choose a breeder who raises their cats responsibly while taking care of inoculation, vaccination and socialization needs. A fearful kitten is one that has spent most of his life in isolation, which can lead to difficulties later on. If you’re patient you can get a good British Shorthair at 6 months of age.
When considering buying a British Shorthair, you’ll need to check out the parentage, applicable markings and type. Lean towards breeders who can present you health certifications to ensure you’re getting a good one from a healthy litter. Cats may be pre-disposed to health conditions much like humans are.
The good thing is that British Blues aren’t pre-disposed to certain diseases. Check the paperwork for complete initial vaccinations and if the owner has put in the cat’s full medical history as well as its’ parents.
British Shorthair Health
British Blues have a longer lifespan at 14 to 20 years. They aren’t pre-disposed to certain health conditions, but they are prone to several diseases such as HCM, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and Hemophilia B, a bleeding disorder that can be passed down. Other than that, this cat breed is very hardy and will likely keep you company for a good number of years.
Keep an eye out for your cat’s weight as they can easily accumulate pounds due to their laid-back lifestyle.
Care of the British Shorthair
The British Blue isn’t very active and will prefer to lay on the ground instead of high up on the fridge or a bookcase. Owners can attest to the fact that this cat type can entertain himself when left alone during the day, making them a good choice for individuals or families whose members are absent during the day.
This breed is somewhat relaxed but they are very intelligent creatures. Owners should leave behind interactive toys that can keep their minds occupied. You can teach them tricks and they can solve puzzle toys relatively quickly.
Take care in feeding the British Blue as they tend to become overweight. Food intake should be observed in order to prevent obesity. They can be made to chase feathers, laser pointers or fishing pole toys for exercise. Keep your cat indoors to prevent auto accidents and acquiring diseases from other cats or animals.
Litter Box Training
Choose a litter box that can comfortably fit your cat and have enough clearance so they can get in on their own. Placement is of absolute importance- it should not be put in crowded, high-traffic areas of the house so your cat can feel comfortable and secure.
Litter boxes should be cleaned everyday to ensure your cat will continue to use it. Check constantly for wetness, foul smells and clumping litter. When you see one or more, then it’s a sign that you should change it.
Don’t change the type of litter all at once. Gradually introduce the new one over the course of a few days so your cat can get used to it. If your cat has refused the litter for unknown reasons them it’s time to visit the veterinarian in order to rule out medical conditions.
British Shorthair Nutrition
British Blues love high-quality food that’s nutritious and packed with essential minerals and vitamins. Remember to give them plenty of water during mealtime and keep their bowls filled with fresh water so they can drink at their own leisure.
Alternate between a fine balance of wet and dry cat food to keep your British Blue happy.
Coat and Eye Colors
The British Shorthair’s most common color variety is that of the blue one. A coat of blue gray with copper-colored eyes and a medium tail is the most recognizable characteristics of this breed.
There are other colors and patterns as well. There’s golden, silver, cream, red, white, blue and black. Recently, there have been fawn and cinnamon-colored varieties that are within acceptable standards. Patterns can range from bi-color, shaded, tabby, colourpoint, tortoiseshell and calico.
It’s worthy to note that the TICA and GCCF also accept dilute lilac and chocolate shades with tortoiseshell patterns. The eyes can either be green, blue or copper, depending on the coat color and pattern they have.
British Shorthair Grooming
The plush coat can be groomed quite easily, as long as you do it regularly. A weekly combing should take out the loose and dead hair and keep the coat shiny and healthy. The British Blue will require more frequent brushing come fall and spring time in preparation for the shedding and when their coats are naurally thinning or getting thicker. Comb daily in order to untangle and prevent matting of any kind.
Observe basic care for this cat breed. This means the nails should be trimmed once a week, and the ears inspected weekly and cleaned as needed. Brush your cat’s teeth with a small toothbrush and vet-approved toothpaste.
Children and Other Pets
British Shorthairs make for excellent pets and companions for children and other pets around the house. They are intelligent, gentle and trainable. Moreover, they appear laidback even in the presence of children as long as they are respectful of the cat. They don’t like to be moved around or carried, so it’s best to teach family members that British Blues are happy to be petted where they lie. This cat type is compatible with dogs and other pets such as rabbits, mice and birds.