British Blue Cat, Chinchilla ShorthairFamily: Felidae Felis domesticusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Justin Brough
The British Shorthair, one of the very best natured cats, is an excellent pet for all types of people!
The British Shorthair cats are extremely loving, affectionate companions that attach themselves to all family members. They are mild-tempered, relaxed, and gentle cats and for this reason they get along wonderfully with children.But they are also excellent cats for retired couples, or adults without children, because they are fairly sedentary. These mellow cats prefer sleeping or sitting to playing as they enter adulthood.
The strength and beauty of the British Shorthair has long made it one of the most popular show cats. They have a large, solid muscular structure. The most well-known features of this cat breed are its large, round head, and plush coat. Its coat is soft and exquisite, short and dense with a thick undercoat that requires very little grooming. They also have a soft voice, but are not very vocal.
The British Shorthair is a hardy, long-living cat that is loved for its relaxed disposition and friendly nature. This is a low-maintenance cat that requires little attention, but still enjoys being around people. If offered the opportunity, it is evident that they possess strong hunting instincts. This pet cat will benefit from the opportunity to hunt and run around, as they have a tendency to gain weight if they are too inactive. Overall this is an affectionate, tranquil, mild-tempered cat that is great for both families as well as homes without children.
For information about keeping a pet cat, see:
Cat Care: How to Take Care of a Cat
Background The British Shorthair is a result of the selective breeding of house, alley, and farm cats in Britain. This purposeful breeding was begun by Harrison Weir, a man who saw the strength and beauty that these domestic cats possessed. It became apparent that many others shared his view when, in the late 1890's the British Shorthair became the most popular cat in British cat shows.
Later, when the Persian was introduced to England, the British Shorthair lost popularity. It regained popularity in the 1930's, and again lost it during World War II, when cat shows altogether lost popularity. In the 1950's it was feared that this breed may die out completely, and around this time they were bred with Persians. Some believe that the Persian traits were later bred out of the British Shorthairs, while others believe some of this breed's defining features, such as its large round head, come from crossing it with the Persian. In the 1970's the British Shorthair arrived in the United States, where it acquired many enthusiasts.
This breed's origin is unknown, though it is possible that it was brought to Britain from Rome. Since the 1870's it has been shown in cat shows in Britain. Currently, it can be found in America, Europe, and Australia. The common names for this natural breed cat is British Shorthair. British Blue Cat was a former name, which named for its original color. Chinchilla Shorthair Cat is a former name for tipped colored varieties.
Description The British Shorthair is a solid, well-built breed. It has a large, muscular, compact body with a broad chest. The large, rounded head that the breed is known for, sits on a short, thick neck. The eyes are large, round, and wide set, the ears are medium sized and also wide set, and the nose is medium sized. The legs and tail are short and the tail is rounded at the end. This breed weighs from 9 to 18 pounds. This is a hardy breed, whose lifespan is 15 or more years.
The British Shorthair has a short, dense, plush coat with a thick undercoat. The most popular British Shorthair color is blue, but this breed is acceptable in almost any color. The many color varieties are classified into 18 categories: Self Colors, Tabby, Silver Tabby, Tabby and White, Silver Tabby and White, Spotted, Silver Spotted, Tortie Tabby, Tortie, Tortie and White, Bi-color, Smoke, Smoke and White, Tipped, Self Pointed, Tortie Pointed, Tabby Pointed, and Tortie Tabby Pointed.
Care and Feeding This breed's food intake should be monitored, since its low desire for activity puts it at risk for obesity. No special food is required, but you should be careful not to overfeed your cat. Offering your pet cat outdoor time to exercise and play can help.
Housing Your Cat Due to its relaxed, inactive nature, the British Shorthair is a great apartment cat. It enjoys being indoors, and has little need for time outside. However, some British Shorthairs enjoy being outside, and can benefit from the opportunity to hunt and run around. Some British Shorthairs are not great climbers, so their food and water bowls should be kept on the ground.
Maintenance The British Shorthair is known for its low-maintenance, but should be brushed weekly during most of the year. During shedding season, they need more frequent brushings, as often as once a day.
Social Behaviors The British Shorthair is an independent cat that does not need constant social interaction. It is content to spend its time lounging and simply enjoying life, but it still enjoys being around people and other animals. It is a friendly, affectionate cat that is loyal to its family and plays well with children.
Activities As mentioned earlier, this breed is not an especially active cat. They usually enjoy sitting and sleeping more than playing or exercising. But due to their tendency to become overweight, they should be encouraged play. They do have a hunting instinct, so if provided the opportunity to get outside they will be encouraged to run around.
Common Health Problems British Shorthairs are hardy cats that suffer from no particular illnesses. However, like the American Shorthair cats, they are susceptible to becoming overweight or obese. To prevent this condition, simply control the amount of food the cat consumes and play with the cat to increase its activity level. You can also feed it a diet formulated for overweight or obese cats. If your cat is obese, it is important to bring it to a veterinarian for a check-up, to rule out any thyroid or metabolic conditions.