What you need to know about the British Shorthair cat breed

The British shorthair cat is an exceptionally popular breed and one of the most common in the country. It’s nothing to do with the name either, there are many reasons why this particular breed can be seen everywhere.

If you’re planning to get a new friend and are considering a British shorthair cat , you’re looking at the right breed.

It’s ideal for families and has many other lovely qualities that people usually look for in a cat. 

Here’s what you need to know about the British shorthair.


The British shorthair cat is a medium sized cat with a short, often thick coat. Some types have double coats, with a thinner, lighter coat underneath a thicker outer coat.

As the British shorthair has been around for so long, there is a bit of diversity in facial characteristics. Some will be flatter and rounder while others will include a more angular appearance and longer nose.

Either way, the breed is a typically slim and active breed with expressive tails and very mobile ears.

Colours vary a lot too. There’s the classic British Blue as well as hundreds of colours including tabby, tortoiseshell, single coloured and multicoloured.

Thanks to their medium size and usually slim build, the British shorthair cat can weigh anywhere between 3 – 7 kg and can live up to 17 years old.


The British shorthair cat is very easy to share your home with. They love to cuddle and play and many have a strong prey drive which can be turned into games.

Left unsatisfied, that prey drive will be exercised in other ways, especially in younger cats.

While many cats can be aloof, the British shorthair cat is well-known for it. They can be slow to welcome strangers, but once they get to know you, you have made a friend for life.

They are very affectionate and can happily spend all day curled up on your lap. So, if you’re after a companion you can carry around the house and who will stay with you, this is a breed to try!

Younger cats will need space to run and play, but once they are older, they are quite chilled and think nothing of lazing around soaking up sunshine or the warmth of your lap.

One great thing about the British shorthair cat is the fact they remain playful until late in life. Some say they are slow to mature, but we don’t think so.

We think they mature just fine but have a lovely playfulness that shows you they want to enjoy life to the full and interact with you on multiple levels.

We love that about them!

History of the British shorthair cat

The British shorthair cat is the oldest recorded breed we know of. It is thought to be related to cats imported from Rome or Egypt and has steadily evolved into the cat we love today.

Whether that’s true or not, it is definitely the oldest cat breed we know of.

They were officially shown at the first cat show back in 1871. The British Blue variant was shown and its popularity exploded from there.

The breed as a whole has been exported steadily over the years and can now be found everywhere, especially in the US and Canada where they thrive.

How to care for the British shorthair cat

The British shorthair cat is a relatively low maintenance breed. They are largely self-governing and will be sensible with food, drink plenty as long as their bowl or cat water fountain is clean and look after themselves.

Like all cats, provide good quality food and don’t overfeed them and they should take care of the rest. Closer Pets automated pet feeders are perfect for this! 

Many shorthairs are content on dried cat food or wet food. They can be a little fussy, so once you find a brand and type they like, you’ll probably stay with that brand for the rest of their life.

They will soon tell you if they want a change!

The thickness of their coat does mean they benefit from regular grooming.

One you get them used to the process, you’ll find they relax completely and let you comb or brush them whenever you like.

You don’t have to groom them every week but we would recommend doing it to keep them used to it. They will need combing in summer as they can moult heavily and that’s easier to do if they are used to being groomed.

Plus, it can reduce the occurrence of furballs, so it’s  well worth doing!

What else do you need to know about the British shorthair cat?

Aside from loving to play and to cuddle, the British shorthair cat is very easy to live with and won’t mind sharing their house with you, children and other pets.

It is best to introduce your new pet early on to other animals in your household, ideally when the cat is still a kitten.

As long as there is no competition for food or cuddles, they can live contentedly with other cats and even dogs.

That makes them ideal for family life.

They have no predispositions to particular health issues either. They are a healthy breed that has evolved to our climate over 2,000 years and have no key vulnerabilities.

Keep them groomed, play with them often, give them lots of love and regular vet checks and you should enjoy a long and happy life together!