The European Shorthair: an easy cat that adapts quickly

europese korthaar in de bosjes

The European Shorthair is a cat very similar to a typical domestic cat that lives in many European villages and towns. The European Shorthair is a different breed but has many similarities with this cat. The European Shorthair comes originally from Scandinavia. It is a very playful cat that can adapt well. It is also a fairly easy cat that is easy to take care of. These characteristics make it a popular breed in Europe. Are you looking for a nice and sociable cat and do you want to know more about the European Shorthair? Then read on!


The origin: a Scandinavian

The European Shorthair is of Swedish origin. The European Shorthair is a fairly new breed that originated in 1980. Despite the fact that this breed is fairly new, it is still quite popular and is common in Scandinavia. The European Shorthair is a real breed, but it looks a lot like the “normal” domestic cat that naturally occurs on the streets of many European cities. He is therefore often confused with this. It is not strange that this cat resembles this common house cat so much because the European Shorthair was developed on the basis of these common house cats. A careful breeding programme ensured that only the best cats with the most beautiful appearance and the most beautiful colour remained.1 In 1982 the European Shorthair was registered as an official breed by FIFE and since then this breed is very well known in Europe.

In addition to the European Shorthair, there are other Shorthair breeds. Think of the British Shorthair and the American Shorthair. There are similarities between these breeds, but they have been bred in a different, selective way.


The character: playful and easy to handle

The European Shorthair is known for its playful character. He enjoys playing both indoors and outdoors. It is therefore important to ensure that both ways of playing are possible. The European Shorthair is very social, but it also has a quiet side. This is also the biggest difference with the “normal” cat he resembles so much. The cats that occur naturally are much busier.

The European Shorthair is also known for its affection and great adaptability. He loves to play with family members. This makes him the ideal family cat. However, it may be that this breed is somewhat more reluctant towards people he sees for the first time. This is completely normal. As soon as he sees a person more often, he will be curious and want to get acquainted.

The European Shorthair loves to hunt, which is why the cat should have the opportunity to go outside. By hunting and playing outside he can release his energy. This breed is sometimes kept as an indoor cat. This is possible, but make sure that there are enough opportunities to play. If there are none, he will get bored and can change his behaviour.

Infographic European Shorthair

Appearance: many different colours and patterns

Surely the most striking feature of the European Shorthair is its powerful body. It is not remarkably large, but it is quite muscular. His body is also quite long. He has a round chest, a muscular neck and a strong body. The European Shorthair is between three and eight kilograms on average. Males can be slightly bigger and heavier than females.

The legs of the European Shorthair are medium long and as strong and firm as the body. The legs gradually become narrower as they get closer to the feet. The feet of this cat are also round and firm. Its tail is medium long and well in proportion to the whole body. What is striking about his tail is that it starts out fairly thick but gets narrower and narrower. The end of the tail consists of a round tip.

This cat can also be recognised by its round head. Especially in males the cheeks are well developed. The nose of the European Shorthair is straight and fairly wide. Its eyes are big and round and should be clear and distinct.

The European Shorthair has a short and dense coat that lies flat against the body. This gives him a reasonably slim appearance. His coat is shiny and has no undercoat. The coat can have different patterns and colours.

All coat colours are possible, except for a brown/chocolate colour and a lilac colour. Besides the many colours that the coat of this cat can have, there are also many different patterns to be found. The most common patterns are:

  • Smoke
  • Colorpoint
  • Tabby
  • Tortie

So, there are many combinations possible in terms of coat colours and coat patterns. A European Shorthair can have several coat colours in several different patterns and shades. This makes it a diverse breed.


The upbringing: the socialisation period is important

The upbringing of the European Shorthair is not very different from that of other breed cats. The most important thing is that your kitten is well socialized. In general, a cat has two socialisation periods, which last for a total of fourteen weeks. During the first 7 weeks the kitten learns everything he needs to know from his mother. A kitten can only develop well if he is in constant contact with his mother. The contact with his mother is essential for the development of a healthy mental state for the kitten. Many behavioural patterns are already learned during this period. As the kitten gets older, he will certainly be able to develop new behavioural patterns, but the foundation will be laid during these first 7 weeks. That is why this period is so important.

When the kitten is 5 to 9 weeks old, it is important to get him used to humans and animals immediately. You can do this by holding the kitten regularly and playing with it. The human contact ensures that the European Shorthair gets used to human touch. If you don’t do this, behavioural problems can occur later in life. Also, getting used to people will make taking care of the kitten much easier and more pleasant in the future.

It is also important that your kitten gets used to other animals. By letting a kitten play with other kittens he learns to develop social contacts. Also getting used to other animals, like dogs, is important to do during the socialisation period. So it is advisable to only buy a European Shorthair that has had a good socialisation period of about fourteen weeks. This ensures that the cat has the right basis and can grow old healthy.

europese korthaar kitten

The care: quite simple

Taking care of the European Shorthair is quite simple. The coat of this breed is short and dense. This means that his coat does not need a lot of grooming. Brushing once a week is sufficient with this breed. During moulting it is advisable to brush about two or three times a week. During this period the chance of hairballs and skin disorders due to poor care is higher. Keep this in mind.

It happens to all cats that the nails have to be cut every now and then. It can be difficult to judge for yourself how to do this in the right way. If you have no experience with cutting a cat’s nails, please contact your vet about the best way to do this. You can also get a scratching post in the house so that the cat can sharpen his own nails. A scratching post is also a good place for your cat to expend his energy and prevent your cat from putting his nails in your couch or doorpost.

When your European Shorthair has had a good period of socialisation, it also becomes much easier to take care of it. Cutting the nails can be difficult in cats that have had a less good socialisation period. That is why it is so important that this is done properly.


Nutrition: lots of protein and variety

Every cat has an individual energy requirement. It is therefore important that you adapt your cat’s diet to his lifestyle. If your cat is very active and plays outside a lot, he also needs more food. By keeping a close eye on your cat’s activity and weight, you can create a nutrition plan that suits your cat perfectly. The European Shorthair can be quite active hunting and playing outdoors. As a result, it consumes a lot of calories. The European Shorthair is also very muscular. For these reasons it may be wise to buy food with a little more protein.

Animal proteins are the basis for good health. It is important that the proteins are complete. This means that all amino acids are in these proteins. These proteins ensure that your European Shorthair will recover well from hunting and playing.

For cats there is dry food and wet food. Dry food is more concentrated than wet food, so your cat needs to eat less to get enough nutrients. It also contains little moisture and has a longer shelf life. Wet food, on the other hand, contains a lot of moisture and can be left in the food bowl for a shorter period of time. Just as that variety is good for a person, it’s also good for a cat. It is therefore wise to alternate dry and wet food. The advantage of wet food is that the cat also gets moisture immediately. Cats sometimes have trouble getting enough water in. Adding wet food to your cat’s diet makes sure it stays well hydrated.


Diseases that are common in this cat

The European Shorthair is known for its healthy genes. It is a strong and healthy breed. There are no specific diseases known to occur in this breed. However, it is susceptible to the standard diseases that every cat can contract. Think for example of overweight and common heart diseases. Keep a close eye on your cat to be able to recognise when he is feeling well and when he is not. A healthy cat can be recognised by its liveliness and playfulness. Do you notice that your cat is much more withdrawn than before? Then something could be wrong, and it is advisable to contact a vet.

The European Shorthair has a fairly short and wide nose. This can cause some problems with his breathing and lungs. However, there is no great evidence yet that this is very common in this breed.

europse korthaar staand op een boomstronk

How old can the European Shorthair get?

The European Shorthair is about 10 to 16 years old on average. The life expectancy of the European Shorthair is somewhat higher than the average pedigree cat. There are even cases known where a European Shorthair reached the age of 20 years.

Although this breed has a high life expectancy, the age he can reach also depends on how he grew up and how you care for him. Also important is the amount of attention the cat gets and the play possibilities the cat has. This determines his mental and physical health. Nutrition is also essential. If your European Shorthair is overweight he will grow less old. Is your European Shorthair structurally not getting enough nutrients? Then he will also grow less old. The right care is therefore very important if you want to give your cat a long and happy life.


What do you need to know before you take this breed into your home?

When you are going to take in a European Shorthair, it is very important that you can give it sufficient attention. The European Shorthair is a cat that loves to play a lot. It is therefore important that there is often someone in the house. You can choose to buy a second European Shorthair so that they can play with each other and offer each other company. It is also advisable to place a cat flap in your house, so he can go hunting whenever he wants. Furthermore, it is wise to buy enough play options, such as a good scratching post and cat toys.

In addition, it is wise to buy the European Shorthair from a licensed breeder. This is especially important because in that case you can be sure that you have a healthy cat with a good history. So always be alert to this!


What does a European Shorthair cost?

The European Shorthair costs about $850 on average. This price can differ per breeder. Keep in mind that you will not find a healthy European Shorthair for a price much lower than $850 If this is the case, then you have to ask yourself if you are not dealing with a bread breeder.

In addition to the purchase costs, it is wise to take the other costs into account, such as the costs for:

  • The scratching post
  • Food
  • Litter box
  • Care stuff
  • Toys
  • Medical costs

The costs therefore consist of purchase costs and maintenance costs. The purchase costs include the cat, the litter box, the scratching post, the toys and care products. In general, you only buy these things once, with some exceptions.

The maintenance costs are running costs that you actually pay every year, this is the food, the care products and the cat litter. These maintenance costs quickly rise to an average of $500 a year. So, it can cost quite a bit to take care of your cat. Make sure you have enough money available to do this and don’t neglect your European Shorthair.

europse korthaar kitten staand

Will you also choose the European Shorthair?

Do you already have a European Shorthair? Then let us know what you think of this breed. Maybe he has crazy habits? Are there things striking about the character of your European Shorthair? Does he have a preference for special food? We and our readers are curious about your experience with the European Shorthair.



[1] The Cat Encyclopedia – The definitive visual guide

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[Total: 15 Average: 4.9] Team Team

We are a team of cat lovers, doing our best to create and spread information about cats. On you will read all about different cat breeds, and what makes them so special. You will also find information about grooming and training your cat. Be sure to leave us a reply if you like our article.

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