The British Shorthair is one of the most popular cat breeds in the Netherlands and abroad. It is a somewhat sturdy cat with short hair, is easy to handle and does not require a lot of attention. The British Shorthair is especially popular because of its special character. Would you like to know more about this popular cat? Then read on!
Ancestry: the oldest breed of cat originating in Great Britain
The British Shorthair is the oldest cat breed to come from Great Britain. There are stories that the Romans brought the British Shorthair to Britain, where the cat served as protection from vermin. For a long time the cat lived in isolation. This changed after British cat owners began to look more at the characteristics of cats from the nineteenth century onwards. More attention was paid to the beauty, strength and personality of cats.
This also caused the first cat show to be organised in 1871. The cat show was held in ”The Crystal Palace” in London and was an instant success. At this cat show the British Shorthair was the first recognised cat breed. The cat was immediately popular.
After 1871 the cat was still crossbred with Persians which made the British Shorthair somewhat fuller in body and head. From these crosses the British longhair came into being. After the Second World War there were not many British Shorthairs anymore. After the war the cat breed was crossed with a large number of other cat breeds to enlarge the gene pool again.
The character: a calm cat that adapts easily
The British Shorthair is a quiet cat with a lot of patience. The cat adapts quickly and is very friendly. The mood of the cat is quite stable and the cat likes company very much. It is therefore important that you spend enough time with the cat. Nevertheless, the cat can also be good on its own. The British Shorthair can have a good time on its own but can also sleep for a long time.
The cat loves attention and likes to be petted. Although this type of cat can be good on its own, it often happens that they are dependent on their boss and want to spend a lot of time with him or her. Lifting the cat or putting the cat on your lap? In general they don’t like that very much. So they are not lap cats.
Appearance: a round head with full cheeks
The British Shorthair is a medium to large cat. Cats usually weigh between 3.5 and 8 kilograms, with males being firmer than females. Moreover, in many cases males have more developed jaws than females. The British Shorthair continues to grow for a long time. In some cases they have only grown after 3 years!
The head of this cat is firm. They have a rounded head with full cheeks. Next to that the cat has a short but broad nose and small rounded ears. The cat has big eyes that are quite far apart and can be of different colours. Sometimes it happens that the cat has two different coloured eyes. It is a muscular cat with a broad chest and strong shoulders. The tail is short and quite broad.
As the name suggests, the British Shorthair has a short coat. The coat has a high density and the hairs are fine. The cat comes in several colours and can be either plain or uneven. The British Shorthair can also have white markings and pointy markings.
The upbringing: make sure your kitten is socialised
With kittens it is important that they get used to people. It is important that kittens get used to human touch so they can take care of themselves. Once your kitten is used to human touch it will be possible to cut your kitten’s nails, not unimportant!
It is also important that your kitten gets used to other animals and unfamiliar sounds. If your kitten doesn’t get used to this, there may be complaints of anxiety and stress in the kitten. This can lead to several problems. For example, you may have problems with the kitten’s skin or the immune system. Behavioural problems can also occur. For example, the kitten may start to behave very aggressively. Something you absolutely don’t want to happen!
It is therefore important that the cat is properly socialised. This is especially important when the kitten is between 2 and 7 weeks old. In addition to this first socialisation period, there is also talk of a second socialisation period. This stops as soon as the kitten is 14 weeks old. If you want to get your kitten from a breeder who is a member of a cat club, you will only get your kitten when she is at least 13 weeks old. The kitten will then have spent almost the entire socialisation period with the breeder. It is wise to check whether the breeder has paid enough attention to this socialisation process.
The care of the British Shorthair
If you manage to socialise a kitten at a young age and get her used to human touch, she will also become more accustomed to grooming. Cutting their nails, brushing their teeth and brushing their coat will make it easier for you. The coat of the British Shorthair does not require extreme attention. Brushing and combing once a week is sufficient. Cats do have periods in which they change coat. This is also called the moulting period. In this period it may be wise to comb the cat more often to remove the loose hairs from the thick coat. With this combing it is best to use a large metal comb or a Slicker brush.
The food the British Shorthair needs
In addition to the care, it is important to pay attention to the diet of British Shorthair. As the cat is firmly built, the British Shorthair tends to be overweight. Especially in the kitten phase of the cat, it is very important that the cat doesn’t absorb much more energy from the food than it actually consumes. It is important to adapt the energy supply from the food to the activity of the cat. More active cats can therefore get more food than less active cats.
It is also good to know that the British Shorthair has strong muscles. The food should therefore contain sufficient protein. There are several types of cat food on the market specially formulated for the British Shorthair. For example, Royal Canin kitten food has been specially tailored to the British Shorthair in its range. This cat food is completely tailored to the needs of the British Shorthair.
Diseases common to British Shorthair
Just like humans, cats can also be affected by various types of disease. Two common diseases in the British Shorthair are the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) and the Hypertrophic Cardiomypathy (HCM).
Polycystic Kidney Disease
The Polycystic Kidney Disease is a kidney disease that is hereditary. If a cat suffers from this hereditary disease, the kidney function will deteriorate over time. The symptoms can often only be recognised at a late stage. In most cases, the kidney tissue is already more than 70% affected. That is a very high percentage! It is therefore good to be alert to certain complaints.
The following complaints can point to PKD:
- The cat has less appetite for food;
- The cat is getting leaner;
- The cat drinks and pees a lot;
- The cat is less active;
- The cat suffers from dehydration;
- The cat has pale mucous membranes arising from; anaemia and vomiting.
PKD is a hereditary disease. It is therefore very important not to breed with cats that have PKD. It is recommended to do a DNA test beforehand.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a hereditary heart defect. In this disease, less blood is pumped around, which considerably increases the risk of thrombosis. It is also possible that fluid accumulates in the lungs and chest and the functioning of the heart valves may decrease.
The disease is usually noticed at a young age. There are not always symptoms and it can happen that a cat dies suddenly without any complaints. It is also possible that the cat does develop symptoms. The disease cannot be cured. There is medication available that can alleviate complaints due to HCM.
The following complaints can point to HCM:
- The cat has a bad appetite;
- The cat suffers from anxiety;
- The cat has accelerated breathing;
- The cat suffers from paralysis in the hind legs.
HCM is also a hereditary disease. So it is very important not to breed with cats that have HCM. It is recommended to do a DNA test beforehand.
How old can British shorthair get?
On average, British Shorthair gets about 15 years old. This of course depends on the care and health of the cat. If the cat is well cared for and maintained in good health, the British Shorthair can also grow older than 15 years. Will the cat have to deal with certain diseases and/or disorders? If so, life expectancy is lower.
What you need to know before you take in British shorthair
To get a British Shorthair you don’t need any specific experience in keeping pets. However, it is important that you inform yourself well in advance so that you know what to expect. If you want to take in a registered British Shorthair it is wise to visit a breeder who is a member of a breed or cat association. After thirteen weeks Dutch breeders will give the kitten to its new owner. Moreover, the cat associations all make extra demands. For example, the breeding animals have to be tested for certain hereditary diseases and blindness.
When buying a British Shorthair, it is also wise to ask whether the parents have been tested for the diseases HCM and PKD; these diseases are quite common in the British Shorthair. It is also important not to buy a kitten if the mother cat is not present. For the development of a kitten it is very important that the kitten is raised in a domestic environment in the presence of the mother cat. It is also very important that the cat has been vaccinated, dewormed and possibly chipped.
What price do you have to think of?
The price of a British shorthair is usually between EUR 500 and EUR 800. The prices can differ per breeder. In addition to these purchase costs – if you take in the British Shorthair – you also have to take other costs into account. For example, you will have to buy a litter box, a cat basket but also toys for the cat.
In addition, you will incur costs for the care of your cat. To take good care of your cat you will quickly lose 500 euros a year. Think of costs for feeding your cat and veterinary costs. It is also possible to take out health insurance for your cat so that you do not incur unexpectedly high costs in the event of any illness or disease.
Do you also choose the British Shorthair?
Do you already have a British Shorthair or are you planning to have one? Then let us hear from you! We are very curious to know why you choose this cat breed and what you think makes this cat so special. You can let us know by leaving a comment on this article!