top of page

The British Shorthair: A Guide to Modern Cat Ownership



The British Shorthair is one of the most popular cat breeds in the world. In the UK, their recognition as a distinct breed has only recently been achieved, but their popularity is soaring. Perhaps this is because, despite the name and associations with Great Britain, these cats have been around for centuries – but were simply known by different names in different places. The laconic, sturdy and reliable nature of the British Shorthair means that it has thrived wherever it has settled and made its presence felt regardless of whether that home was England or Egypt or some other part of the world. Read on to find out more about this wonderful cat and what makes it so special!


History of the British Shorthair

The British Shorthair is a breed that is almost as old as the general concept of the domestic cat itself. There are indications that the British Short Hair is a breed that is at least 2,000 years old. Indeed, they are depicted in Egyptian tombs, most notably those of the British explorer Howard Carter and his Tutankhamen discovery sites. It is believed that the first cats that were used to control rodents and pests in the UK were cats imported from Egypt, where they had already been domesticated for millennia. British Shorthairs are also referred to as the English Shorthair or the British Domestic or just British. They are also sometimes known as the “British Blue”, although this is a name that is also used to describe several other breeds, too. Despite the name and associations with Great Britain, these cats have been around for centuries – but were simply known by different names in different places. The laconic, sturdy and reliable nature of the British Shorthair means that it has thrived wherever it has settled and made its presence felt regardless of whether that home was England or Egypt or some other part of the world.



Things to consider before getting a British Shorthair

There are many reasons why you might want to get a British Shorthair. If you are considering adopting one or perhaps already have one at home, it is important to first consider these qualities. After all, you don’t want to regret your decision later on! So, are you ready to commit to a British Shorthair? If so, here are some of the things you should consider beforehand.


  • Lifespan

The average lifespan for a British Shorthair is around 12-15 years, which is a pretty decent lifespan for a cat breed. British Shorthairs enjoy a better lifespan than some other cat breeds, but are less long-lived than others such as the Devon Rex.

  • Living Conditions

One of the most important things to consider when looking at getting a British Shorthair is the kind of lifestyle you have. If you work long hours, live in a small house or have other factors that mean you can’t give your cat the attention it needs, then a British Shorthair may not be the best choice for you.

  • Personality

Another thing to consider is the personality of the British Shorthair breed. Each cat is unique, of course, but certain breeds have personalities that are more typical than others. Many experts describe the British Shorthair as being “even tempered” and “easy going”. If you are looking for a cat that is not likely to get into fights or cause any unnecessary drama, then a British Shorthair might be perfect for you.


  • Health

All cats, including British Shorthairs, are susceptible to a variety of diseases. Some common diseases that affect British Shorthairs include gingivitis, upper respiratory infections, feline asthma, flea allergies and worms. Gingivitis is a disease that results in inflammation of the gums. It can be caused by bacteria, poor dental hygiene or genetics. A simple dental exam can detect gingivitis and any other diseases that may be present in the mouth. Upper respiratory infections are common in cats that live in places with high levels of pollution or are kept indoors without proper ventilation. Symptoms include a thick yellow or green discharge from the eyes and nose, coughing and sneezing. Feline asthma is triggered by allergens like dust and dander and causes the lining of the bronchi to swell. It is often seen in cats that are indoor-only and can be treated with medication. Flea allergies are triggered by flea bites and cause cats to scratch excessively. British Shorthairs can be treated with flea shampoos that kill the fleas on their fur and prevent them from biting.



Care and maintenance for your British Shorthair

The British Shorthair is relatively low maintenance when compared to other cat breeds. A good grooming routine every week or two will keep your British Shorthair looking good, and a weekly trip outside to use the bathroom and a monthly visit to the vet for preventative medicine will keep your cat happy and healthy. As far as diet and nutrition goes, you should feed your British Shorthair the same diet that you would any other cat. However, it is important to remember that cats are “obligate carnivores”, which means that they need meat in their diet or they will not receive all of the nutrients they need to stay healthy. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it may be difficult to feed a British Shorthair a diet that includes enough meat, although there are plant-based alternatives that are suitable for cats too.


Breeds Within the British Shorthair Group

There are many different breeds that are part of the British Shorthair family, but the most commonly known include:

  • British Shorthair: This is the original breed of British Shorthair, and is a large breed that is common in both the UK and abroad.

  • British Longhair: This breed is the same as the British Shorthair but has long fur rather than the short fur of the original breed.

  • British Curl: This breed has curly fur and is the same as the British Shorthair in terms of temperament.

  • British Shorthair Scottish Fold: This breed has shorter fur than the original British Shorthair and also has a unique ear shape.

  • British Shorthair Exotic: This breed has very long fur and is popular in the United States.


The British Shorthair is a wonderful breed of cat that comes in many different varieties. It is a good idea to do some thorough research before choosing a breed of cat, but the British Shorthair is a great choice for anyone who is looking for a friendly, low maintenance and easy to care for cat. If you are interested in getting a British Shorthair, make sure you select a reputable breeder and make sure to follow all of the necessary safety and hygiene protocols.

178 views0 comments

Comments


Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page