British Shorthair cats are extraordinarily friendly! These adorable kitties with round faces and powerful bodies are known to be loyal, laid-back, and easygoing. They tend to be on the large side and typically weigh between 13 and 18 pounds.
British Shorthairs are well-muscled and dense, have thick coats, and have relatively short legs. While gray is the color most associated with these friendly animals, they come in various shades, including white, smoke, and cream. British Shorthair cats also have bicolor, calico, and tabby coat patterns.
Most British Shorthair cats enjoy spending time with people and are often happy when doing their own thing with their favorite people nearby. They also take longer to grow up than most cats; British Shorthair cats don’t reach their full size until they’re around 3 years old.
Are British Shorthairs Good Family Cats?
Yes, British Shorthairs fit right in with most families. While some have favorite people, most are happy to snuggle up with any human family member. They’ve got the right combination of patience and playfulness to be excellent choices for families with children. They’re typically fine if left alone for reasonable periods and are not generally very vocal. While kittens can be a little rambunctious, most adult British Shorthairs are decidedly low-key in the activity department.
Do British Shorthairs Get Along Well With Other Pets?
This laid-back breed usually gets along well with other pets and accepts familiar cats and dogs into their inner circle. But remember that not all cats enjoy the company of fellow felines. If you have a pet at home, you most likely don’t have to worry about a British Shorthair becoming aggressive or territorial towards your other cat (if you take the time to introduce them properly). If you’re interested in two pets, consider adopting both around the same time since animals that grow up together tend to get along better in the long run.
Do British Shorthair Cats Require Any Special Care?
Like all cats, they need good food, exercise, and mental stimulation. Healthy British Shorthairs don’t require special food or supplements. But these heavily muscled cats are inclined to obesity, which is a major feline health concern. Overweight cats are more likely to develop chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and osteoarthritis. You can invest in nutritious cat food and measure your pet’s portions to ensure they eat the right amount.
Sufficient exercise also plays a massive role in keeping British Shorthair cats happy and healthy. Daily playtime provides these cats with the physical exercise they need as well as a way to release tension and nervous energy. Exercise keeps cats fit, and mastering playtime challenges lets them engage with their environment in ways that draw on and reward their instinctual behavior. Keep play sessions short to maintain your cat’s interest.
As shorthaired cats, these kitties don’t have many grooming requirements. Weekly brushing is pretty much all they need for coat maintenance. Like all cats, British Shorthair kitties need to have their nails clipped regularly to prevent ingrown nails. They also need their teeth brushed with cat-friendly toothpaste a few times a week.
Are British Shorthair Cats at Risk for Any Genetic Health Conditions?
Yes. British Shorthairs don’t generally have many health issues. However, as purebred cats, they’re at heightened risk of certain conditions, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a condition in which a thickened cardiac wall makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood. Some cats with relatively mild HCM never really experience problems. But cats with severe cardiac thickening often suffer from congestive heart failure.
Signs of HCM include difficulty breathing and lethargy. Diagnosis of the condition is based on a physical exam and imaging studies. Not all British Shorthair cats develop HCM, and the disease has a variety of outcomes, but most British Shorthairs are relatively healthy cats that live for 14 to 20 years.
A Short History of the Breed
British Shorthairs are an old breed, and their origins are challenging to untangle. But the most commonly accepted theory is that these affectionate cats were originally British street cats that were developed into a specific breed.
British Shorthairs appeared at the first cat fancy show in the United Kingdom in 1871 and arrived in the United States in the early 1900s. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) awarded the breed recognition in 1980. Since then, British Shorthairs have become popular pets. They’re number 6 on the Cat Fanciers’ Association’s most popular breeds of 2021 list.
British Shorthair cats are incredibly friendly and loving. These large, relaxed cats don’t get terribly worked up about much. And while they may take a while to warm up to new people, British Shorthairs aren’t likely to run off and hide the minute someone unfamiliar comes to visit. The breed’s laid-back personality makes it a great choice for families with children, and they tend to get along well with dogs and other cats. Their sweet, friendly personalities and easygoing natures make British Shorthair cats excellent companion animals.
Featured Image Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek, Shutterstock