The British Shorthair cat is one of two breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club as being a “sporting breed.” They are sleek and sturdy felines with long, flowing coats. They have distinctive blue eyes that are slightly dilated and almond shaped. British Shorthair cats range from one to three years of age. They do very well with training and are known for their ability to groom a variety of different things, including sticks, shoes, furniture, blankets, mattresses, etc. They tend to snuggle up tightly when not petted, but once a member of the family decides they want to be pampered, they quickly become very affectionate.
Unlike many short haired breeds, the British Shorthair cat has a double-layered coat that is very thick and shiny. This breed tends to have reddish accents and silvery tipped ears. The American Shorthair has varying degrees of occurrence and is believed to be anywhere between ten and fifteen percent of a population. Both types share the same general characteristics, such as being fairly gentle, sweet, alert and robust, but have their own individual personalities. Many British shorthair cats have been neutered and have been free of genetic disease. They are very affectionate and although they can be somewhat sensitive, they are great with children.
There is no solid proof that the British Shorthair is the first breed of cat to be used in England. Records do exist that show the breed was in existence as far back as the twelfth century. However, most of the information regarding their origin is either contradictory or they are just ignored altogether. There is no solid proof that the cat’s breed was created in Britain, but some believe that the British Shorthair has its roots in France. Whatever the case may be, the cat has become synonymous with England and she does represent our oldest known domesticate.
Because of their double-layered coat they tend to shed a lot more than other cat breeds, especially during the spring time when climate temperatures are extreme. The British Shorthair cat may also experience seasonal shedding throughout the year. While not all shedding episodes are due to environmental conditions, when a British Shorthair begins to experience seasonal shedding it can often be linked back to an internal problem. This can be anything from stress from a change in environment to illness. Regardless of the cause, the result is still a coat that needs to be kept healthy.
Another issue with the British Shorthair that has been gaining a lot of attention is the genetic health problems that can be found in this breed. Recent reports have proven that there is a genetic predisposition towards hyperthyroidism in cats. Hyperthyroidism is a disease where the thyroid gland produces too much hormone levels and causes a wide range of health problems for your cat. Because of the predisposition to hyperthyroidism, many British short haired breeds are at risk for contracting this disease. Symptoms include excessive weight loss, sluggishness, excessive grooming needs and depression. If you suspect your cat may have hyperthyroidism talk to your vet who will run tests to confirm your fears.
British Shorthair felines are very intelligent felines who enjoy playing and cuddling. They have a strong affection for their family and are faithful companions who will stay with you forever. British Shorthair cats range widely in color including blue, silver, black and fawn. Other colors that are sometimes seen are white and apricot.