British Shorthair Cat Breed: Information, Health, and Facts

The origin of this powerful breed of cat dates back to over 2,000 years ago when the invading Romans first brought them into Britain. This makes the British Shorthair one of the oldest breeds in the world today and remains one of the most popular cats in the United Kingdom.

British Shorthair
British Shorthair

Quick facts about the British Shorthair

Weight: 7 to 15 pounds Height: 12 to 14 inches
Life span: 12 to 17 years
Intelligence: high Temperament: social | affectionate
Playfulness: medium Activity level: calm
Vocalness: when necessary Coat length: short
Shedding amount: occasional
Good with: kids | seniors | dogs | other cats | families
Traits: The British Shorthair has a very calm temperament and is a good fit for any family. They are easy to train, grooming is minimal, and they get along with everyone from humans to other pets. These cats also do well with being left alone for periods of time as long as they have their own space in the home.

Short-legged and muscular, they were originally bred for catching mice and rats. The term “cobby-shaped” describes their stocky build, but it can also refer to any other short, small-bodied cat. Some other distinctive features of this breed include a broad face with round cheeks, large wide-set eyes, a short muzzle, and a dense coat. They also tend to have prominent jowls, especially males. This can sometimes give them the appearance of grinning and may have served as the inspiration for the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Although the most common color type is “British Blue,” they also come in a variety of other colors, from all-white through cream, silver, brown, red, mackerel tabby, tortoiseshell, spotted, and bicolor, to smoke and black.

Despite being a short-haired breed, these cats need regular brushing, especially during the winter when their coat is likely to grow very thick. They may also require extra grooming once their coat begins to shed. Unfortunately, this is not a hypoallergenic breed and is therefore not recommended for people with cat allergies.

British Shorthair

Otherwise, British Shorthair’s are relatively low-maintenance and require only moderate exercise to maintain a healthy weight. 

British Shorthair’s have a docile, friendly disposition in terms of temperament, making them ideal pets for families with young children. They are not very active and can be left alone during the day also makes them good companions for people who work. They enjoy interacting with people in general and will regularly seek them out for attention, although they will not readily lie on people’s laps. 

Their laid-back, friendly nature also means that they tend to get along well with other animals, including other cats.

Given the fact that they are a typically robust breed, British Shorthair’s do not appear to suffer from any serious health problems. That being said, they still need to be vaccinated against common feline infections, as well as wormed and treated for ticks and fleas. With proper care and a healthy, balanced diet, this breed can easily live for up to 15 years. 

Overall, the British Shorthair is an excellent pet for families and individuals alike.


Great Britain


Dr. Adedapo Adisa:

Also known as the British blue, the British shorthair cat is one of the oldest cat breeds in England. With a roundish appearance, starting from the head, eyes, body, and even paws, the British shorthair cats have been known to have a long life expectancy ranging from 14-20 years.

Because of their large genetic pool, the British Shorthair cat isn’t known to be unhealthy as seen in their life expectancy; however, there are certain hereditary health conditions the British shorthair is prone to. Among these conditions is the heart issue known as Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Another inherited health condition the British shorthair cat faces is Polycystic kidney disease (PKD), affecting the cat’s kidneys. The breed also faces another hereditary condition known as Haemophilia B, a blood-related disease in the British short hair.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an inherited genetic condition. This condition is more prevalent in the male British shorthair than the females. In this health issue, the section of the heart responsible for pumping out blood (the left ventricle) becomes thickened and gradually loses its pumping functions.

Subsequently, the upper section, known as the left atrium, becomes enlarged due to being engorged with blood, leading to accumulation of clots or even a severe condition known as congestive heart failure.

Some common signs to watch out in the British shorthair with this condition are;

● Exercise intolerance in the cats.

● Cardiac murmurs and Irregular heartbeats.

● Fluid accumulation around the limbs 

● Heavy breathing in the cats 

● Paralysis is a result of fragments of clots blocking vessels around the limbs.

ThisThis condition is best diagnosed by a Veterinary cardiologist who would have to carry out multiple tests to give a confirmatory diagnosis.

Another inherited condition common to the British shorthair is polycystic kidney disease. Multiple cysts (fluid-filled pockets) form in the kidneys from birth in this condition. This cyst continues to expand as the cat grows and eventually leads to a failure of the kidneys.

Some common symptoms to watch out for in the British shorthair breed includes having polycystic kidney disease include ;

● Increased water intake as well as peeling.

● Foul-smelling breathe (uraemic breath).

● Fluid may accumulate around the abdominal area (edema).

● Cats may present with vomiting.

● Loss of weight. 

● Blood may be found in the urine of cats.

Because there is no known treatment for this condition, If any of these signs have been noticed in the British shorthair, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a Veterinarian. Furthermore, the British shorthair cats should be screened for this condition before engaging them in breeding actually.

Hemophilia B is also another genetic health condition associated with British shorthair cats. This is a rare condition that affects the blood clotting properties of the body.

This blood-clotting deficiency results from a lack of clotting protein known as factor IX in the British cats, leading to prolonged or uncontrolled Bleeding in cases of cuts and injuries or even surgery.

Some common signs to watch out for in British shorthair cats include,

● Bleeding under the skin

● Regular Bleeding around the gums.

● Bloody diarrhea or dark tarry stool as a result of internal Bleeding

● Epistaxis (Bleeding through the nose).

● Paleness in the mucous membrane of the eye.

Before registering for breeding programs, British shorthair cats should be genetically screened for this condition. If any of these signs have been noticed, it’s best to contact your veterinarian to diagnose and manage the condition.

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