The Original Cheshire Cat: The British Shorthair Cat Breed

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cheshire cat smile, a british blue cat playingThe British Shorthair is a refined, reserved, and undemanding cat that is just so… British. You may be familiar with this breed of cat from Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland or Shrek. The Cheshire Cat and Puss in Boots were both famously British Shorthairs.

This breed of cat is dignified but easy going. They are dog-friendly cats that don’t mind well-behaved children. If you’re looking for an affectionate, well-mannered cat that is laid back, easy to train, and undeniably cute, look no further than the British Shorthair.

A Brief History of the British Shorthair Cat Breed

The British Shorthair originated in England. According to the Cat Fancier’s Association, the Brit’s ancestors can be traced back to the domestic shorthair cats of Rome. They hunted big scary vermin!

They started out as street cats in Great Britain, helping reduce the rat population, but cat breeders recognized their beauty and carefully developed the breed. There were very few British Shorthairs left after World War II and to save the breed, Brits were bred with Exotic Shorthair cats. The CFA recognized the British Shorthair breed in 1980.

The Appearance of This Breed

The Shorthair has an adorable teddy bear-like appearance. These cats have chubby, rounded facial features and are made for cuddling. Brits often look like they’re smiling and tend to be heavier than the average cat.

They have a broad chest lean and towards the stockier side. The British Shorthair breed is often confused with the Scottish Fold Cat. The main difference between the breeds is their ears. Brits have ears that stick up while the Scottish Folds have ears that fold downwards.

British Shorthair vs British Longhair Cat: What’s the Difference?

blue british shorthair cat with big yellow eyes

The British Longhair is a result of breeding shorthairs with Persian cats from 1914 to 1916, according to the International Cat Association.

Longhairs have all of the same great personality characteristics of the Brit but have a longer coat. Longhairs require more grooming than Shorthairs do, but have the same temperament.

Average Size and Weight of the Original Cheshire Cat!

Brits are larger cats, standing about 12 to 14 inches tall from paw pads to shoulder. These cats are naturally muscular and strong. British Shorthairs are prone to obesity and can get quite heavy when overeating and not exercising.

Female Brits should weight between 7 to 12 pounds, while males weigh 9 to 17 pounds. Overweight cats can have health problems like diabetes and mobility issues.

British Blue Cat Coat and Colors Explained!

Cats, British Shorthairs, in particular, have many different coat colors, some are more desirable than others. They have a plush coat that is easy to groom.

The most famous coat color is the Blue British Shorthair. British Blues have a ground color that is a gray-blue. There are also white British shorthairs and even Tabby British Shorthairs with traditional tabby markings.

This Short Haired Cat Needs Regular Grooming!

The Shorthair is easier to groom than the British Longhair but still needs to be regularly groomed. They should be brushed weekly to get rid of dead hair and to help distribute the skin oils to keep their coat looking nice and shiny.

british shorthair kittens long body sprawled out on floor

Brits will need to be brushed more in the Spring and Fall as they prepare for their Winter and Summer coats.

 Temperament and Personality: What to Expect!

British Shorthairs are known for their easy going temperament. These cats are relatively quiet and make great apartment cats. Brits are couch potatoes and are typically very well-behaved. They get along great with other animals such as dogs, cats, and rabbits. They enjoy being part of a family and even tolerate children.

The British Shorthair is a sociable and affectionate cat. They will follow their human family members around the house and tend to settle down close by. They’re not lap cats, but they do enjoy being next to their owners. These cats are not super active or destructive, usually settling down after a year or so.

How Long do They Live?

British Shorthairs live 12 to 17 years.

3 Potential Health Issues of British Shorthair Cats!

Pedigree cats like the British Shorthair can have genetic issues even when bred by highly responsible British Shorthair Breeders.

  1. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy– This is the most common type of heart disease in Shorthairs. It’s a disease that causes the heart muscle walls to thicken, which can lead to heart failure or other complications.
  2. Brachycephalic Syndrome – British Shorthairs are considered flat-faced cats and were bred to have flatter noses and bigger eyes. They can have breathing problems as a result of their pushed-in noses.
  3. Polycystic Kidney Disease – In this genetic disorder, small cysts grow and multiply on the kidneys and can cause kidney failure. It is due to a genetic anomaly found in Persian cats, Himalayans, and British Shorthairs.

British Shorthair for Sale!

You can find British Shorthairs kittens for sale by contacting the International Cat Association to find a reputable cattery near you. British Shorthairs are a well-known breed with many great breeders like the Innocentia Cattery.

The prices of a British Shorthair kitten will vary depending on the coat and bloodline. Colorpoint kittens may be more pricey than a chocolate brown kitten.

cheshire cat costume face, alice in wonderland characters red and blue cat

The Cheshire Cat Smile (British Shorthair)

British Shorthair Kittens for Sale Near Me!

If you’re looking to find British Shorthair kittens for sale, check with local vets in your area. The local vets may be able to give you information on reputable breeders that they known of or are even treating.

If you get lucky, one of their Shorthair patients may have just had kittens!

Find a Reputable Breeder!

It’s important to find a reputable British Shorthair breeder to make sure you’re supporting humane breeding practices and get a healthy kitten.

Some conditions and diseases are not obvious and may not show symptoms until the cat is older, and you could end up with a very sick kitten that requires a lot of medical care.

A “cheap” kitten can quickly become very expensive after many vet visits. Reputable breeders do not to overbreed their cats and to check for any genetic conditions.

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask an Animal Shelter About British Shorthair Kitten Rescues!

There are tons of cats and kittens in shelters looking for homes. You can find kittens and adults of different breeds and color varieties looking for their new homes.

According to the ASPCA, 3.2 million cats are surrendered each year, or taken into US animal shelters!

Common Questions on British Shorthairs

How big do British Shorthairs get?

What is a Blue British?

Do British Shorthairs get along with dogs?

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