Proud British Shorthair parent, Aideen Mccanny, takes a closer look at this loveable and popular feline in our latest Breed Guide.
Lovingly nicknamed ‘the teddy bear’, due to their muscular, stocky bodies, full cheeks, round eyes and cuddly temperament, there’s no denying that the British Shorthair cat is one of the sweetest breeds around. Proudly sitting as the most popular cat breed in the UK, they’re also one of the world’s oldest, widely believed to be descendants from cats imported to Rome from ancient Egypt.
It’s definitely a case of love at first sight when it comes to these guys. Well proportioned, they have strong, stocky bodies and a short back. Their legs tend to be shorter, paws firm and their tails are moderately thick. Although shorthaired, their fur is in abundance and so they’re fluffy by nature.
But it’s their faces which are the most endearing. With large, round eyes, short ears and noses and chunky round cheeks, their cuteness is undeniable.
Originally known as British Blues, over the years their plush coat colourings have evolved to include lilac, cream and tabby to name just a few.
The British Shorthair cat is in no rush to grow up quickly! It can take anywhere between three to five years for this breed to reach their full size and weight. A female typically weighs between 7 to 12 pounds, while the male averages between 9 to 17 pounds. The average adult British Shorthair cat can stand 12 to 14 inches high.
Revered for their kind, affectionate nature, their teddy bear appearance also extends to their loving personality. Although they don’t enjoy being carried around, and while they generally aren’t considered lap cats, they will definitely seek you out and sit lovingly by your side. They also enjoy being involved in your daily activities. They mature a little later than most cats, meaning their kitten-like playfulness extends into adulthood so they will definitely keep you on your toes.
As laid back creatures, they generally get on well with other pets and children, which is testament to their popularity.
ENERGY & VITALITY
Expressing low levels of activity, British Shorthair cats adapt very well to being kept indoors. Due to their chunky disposition, weight gain is a common complaint so their food intake and exercise levels require monitoring. They enjoy playing in short bursts between naps throughout the day. Check out out these common indoor cat owner questions for tips on keeping your cat happy and healthy indoors.
An intelligent cat breed, British Shorthairs need daily stimulation to keep them entertained and to deter them from becoming coach potatoes. They will happily let you know when they want attention and can be easily amused with the simplest of objects acting as toys. Like many cats, they are creatures of habit and won’t forgive you for upsetting their routine.
The average life expectancy of a British Shorthair is between 14 and 20 years, when cared for well and treated to a good quality diet. Like many pedigrees, they are prone to a few hereditary health issues which are worth being aware of, including polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Regular vet check-ups are recommended to keep your kitty in optimum health.
With short, dense coats, the British Shorthair requires little grooming. A good weekly brushing from head to tail should be sufficient to remove dead skin and hair. However, if your cat enjoys being groomed, there’s no harm in upping it to a few times a week. Like many cats, they will of course shed more during the spring and summer seasons so a little extra attention is required here.
Do you own a British Shorthair cat or are thinking about getting one? Tell us in the comments below.