British Shorthair Cat History
The British Shorthair or European Shorthair is probably the oldest English breed and one whose ancestors came to Europe and Britain with the Roman soldiers. The Romans used these cats to protect their food supplies from rodents and as companions. The British and European Shorthair cats are identical and the name just reflects where you live. In Britain and North America we refer to them as British Shorthairs or Brits. The founder of the British cat fancy, Harrison Weir, is largely responsible for turning the domestic British cat into a recognized breed. He organized the first cat fancy show in 1871 which was dominated by the British Shorthairs. However by the turn of the century the Persians began to dominate and by the Second World War the British Shorthairs were in short supply. Some cross-breeding to Persians was introduced to save the breed and some hint of the Persian can still be seen in the Brit’s head shape. By the 1950’s out-crossing to Persians stopped because the supply of British Shorthairs had recovered. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) granted championship status to the Brit about 1980. The British Shorthair is relatively uncommon in the US with the British Blue being one of the most popular. However, the breed is gaining popularity in the US as animal trainers for commercials and movies are using more Brits because of their intelligence and laid-back attitude. The Brits are easily recognized by their plush coat and built-in smile created by their prominent whisker pads.
British Shorthairs are easy-going and affectionate and like to follow you around the house until they can sit beside you. These are not lap cats and do not demand a lot of attention until you are ready to play. Brits are calm and quiet companions with lots of patience. They get along with other animals in the home and adapt well to small or large households. British Shorthairs get along very well with children, and children love these plush smiling friends. Brits make great apartments cats, being alert and playful without being destructive. Brits become quite sedentary after the age of 4 or 5. Brits are quiet cats that don’t talk too much.
What They Are Like to Live With
British Shorthairs rarely have met a lap that they didn’t like. Be aware that their thick coats make them like feline furnaces and your lap may become toasty warm.
This breed is noted for its intelligence, loyalty and extending affection in a dignified manner. They won’t wow you by their speed, but they will win you over with their comical nature.
Its coat needs minimal care – just run a comb through once or twice a week to maintain its mat-free condition.
Enjoys the company of other household pets, but may opt to keep out of reach from overly energetic children.
Things You Should Know
Be patient. This breed takes up to five years to attain full physical maturity.
Due to its trusting, sweet nature, this is a breed that is best suited for indoor living. Always supervise your British Shorthair when outdoors.
British Shorthairs are very healthy and can live from 15 to 20 years if given sufficient exercise and a healthy diet. Brits have a tendency to put on weight after they fully mature and should be fed a calorie restricted diet and encouraged to play more if they are putting on weight. The short plush coat is easy to groom and a once per week combing with a steel comb keeps the coat neat.