The adult British Shorthair will
snooze the day away while you’re at
work, but he likes to be near, next to,
or on his people when they’re home.
This is a medium- to large-sized
cat. Males weigh 9 to 17 pounds,
with females slightly smaller at 7 to
12 pounds. It’s easy to let this breed
become chubby, especially as he
enjoys a sedentary lifestyle once past
kittenhood, but as with any cat, don’t
let him put on excess weight.
British Shorthairs mature slowly
and don’t reach their full size until
they are 3 years old. With good care,
they can live 14 to 20 years.
When it comes to grooming, this
breed is low-maintenance. His thick
coat doesn’t tangle and is easily
cared for with combing or brushing
once or twice a week. Like most cats,
he sheds, especially during spring and
fall. Groom him more often during
these times to remove excess hair.
The British Shorthair is generally
healthy, but it’s a good idea to ask
breeders if the cats in their breeding program have tested free of
hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the
most common form of heart disease in cats, as well as polycystic
The Romans contributed much
to the development of England,
including its cats. Armies traveled
with them to keep rodents at bay,
and the Roman-by-way-of-Egypt
cats contributed their genes to
England’s feline inhabitants.
During the Victorian era, one
of the results of the craze for
pedigreed animals was the development of Britain’s native cat into
what we now know as the British
Shorthair. They were among the
breeds exhibited at the first cat
show in 1871.
The Cat Fanciers’ Association
recognized the British Shorthair
in 1980, and the breed was recognized by The International Cat
Association in 1979.
Kim Campbell Thornton is
an award-winning writer in
Southern California. Her sub-
jects include pet care, health
and behavior, and wildlife and marine life
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Did You Know?
The “lolcats” craze
can arguably be
said to have started
with a blue British
“I can has
Did you know?
The most admired color in this breed is blue, and he is often referred to as
the British Blue, even though the cats come in many different colors and patterns, including solid, shaded, smoke, tabby, tortoiseshell, calico, and bi-color.
While the British Shorthair is a cat of many colors, shades such as chocolate
and lavender or a Himalayan pattern are off the palette because they are evidence that the cat has been crossed with another breed.
Depending on his coat color, the British Shorthair’s eyes may be deep sapphire blue, gold, green, blue-green, hazel, or copper. Odd-eyed white cats have
one eye of deep sapphire blue and one of gold.
The British Shorthair has a compact body and broad chest supported by
short, strong legs. Topping it is a round head with a short nose and chubby
cheeks. Round eyes with a wide-open gaze look out on the world with stately
amusement. A plush coat is his crowning glory.