The British Shorthair cat is said to be the oldest cat in Britain, brought here by the Romans during the invasions and crossed with native wildcats, thus creating a true breed. Later they were crossed with French Carthusians and Persians to make their fur softer and their heads rounder. But legend places its origin even further back; it is said to have come from ancient Egypt at the time of the Hebrews’ flight from Egypt.
During the First and even more so during the Second World War, this breed risked extinction, as did many other feline breeds, and it was after the Second World War that the British Shortair, as it is today, was finally created through various matings. The breed was only recognised worldwide in 1977.
Character of the British Shorthair cat
The British Shorthair has a very special character among cats. They are calm and very well-balanced animals. They are affectionate with family members, but they are also very independent and do well on their own because they do not get bored. It is the classic flat cat, peaceful, independent but also playful. It loves to sleep for long hours in comfortable and warm places, it likes to play but it doesn’t demand it, it meows rarely and only for the food or during the game. Although a lover of cuddles, he prefers to sit close to his human rather than on his lap, and does not like to be held at all.
Although he does not need company, he gets on well with both dogs and cats, as long as he has his own place to go when he wants to be alone. It also gets along well with children, but does not like violent and noisy games.
It is a very homely cat, but it has a hunter’s instinct which in the country is revealed by chasing rodents, birds and lizards, and which in the flat is unleashed on insects of all kinds. Due to its calm character it tends to avoid new people in the house, it has its own time to adapt to newcomers.
Another important thing is that the British is more attached to its owners than to the house, so it will not have any problems with travel and possible changes of home. Changes are stimulating, as the British Shorthair is a very curious animal.
Appearance of the British Shorthair cat
The British Shorthair is a massive cat, with a thick coat that makes it look like a plush toy, very soft to the touch. It has an appearance totally based on the roundness. In fact it is all round, from the head to the body; round paws, big round eyes, and even the tip of the tail is round.
It is medium to large in size, the male weighing 7 to 8 kilograms, the female a couple of kilograms less. It has a massive and vigorous body, massive and short legs with round and firm feet. The tail is rather short and rounded at the tip.
The head is round with large jaws, with small spaced out ears and large round eyes that have a colour to match the coat.
The coat is short and thick with a dense undercoat, very pleasant to the touch. The best known colour is blue with large orange eyes, but there are many colours of this cat; pinkish grey and light fawn are also very popular. There are also tortoiseshell, two-coloured, spotted and even brindled cats.
Care and health of the British Shorthair cat
The health of the British Shorthair cat is usually excellent and long-lasting throughout its life. It does not have any particular pathologies, however, like all cats of the breed, they must be checked periodically by the vet. Their life expectancy is long, reaching up to 20 years.
As far as the care of the coat is concerned, a brushing a couple of times a week is sufficient. More often in spring and autumn when it sheds its winter coat. Combing this cat every day helps to prevent and/or remove tangles or knots.
Particular attention must be paid to its diet, as it is a sedentary cat with a good appetite and may suffer from obesity.