British Shorthair is a national treasure in England. These kittens impressed not only the Old, but the New World also. Felinologists are proud of their selection work, because Nordic temper of British cats coupled with their impressive look makes this breed one of the most popular in the world. Just one touch to this amazing coat – and you will never forget this feeling. And just one look into their eyes – how can your resist the charm of a true Cheshire Cat?
Widely known and internationally popular British shorthair cats are representative of the indigenous breed in England, having been formed naturally for several centuries. The ancestors of British shorthair cats were once ordinary cats of farmers kept as rat-catchers. For a long time little attention was paid to these heavy muscled animals – for people from Foggy Albion the ancestors of British cats looked quite ordinary.
The world's first cat show took place on June 13, 1871 in London. In this exhibition the ancestors of modern British shorthair cats were shown among other breeds. The first pedigree has been issued in 1898. Since then, the breed developed actively, changing standards; new colors appeared.
Angora cats, Russian blue, Persians and Exotics, European Shorthair cats and, of course, Scottish Folds took part in the process of British Shorthair breed formation. Mating with Scottish Fold cats is banned since 2004, but even today among amateur breeders there is such a term as “British fold cat”.
Potential owners of British Shorthairs should know that such breed doesn’t even exist. Today British cats can mate only with the representatives of the same breed. If the breeder claims that this kitten is a British fold, it is better to refuse from purchasing such a kitten and to look for a more competent breeder.
If Scottish Folds are compared with bear cubs, British Shorthair should be compared with real bears. Adult cat is strong animal, muscular with strong bones. Interestingly, the Brits weigh quite little: males weigh about 7-9 kg (about 14-18 lbs.) and female cats even less – only 4-6 kg (8-12 lbs.). But due to their unusual coat and well-developed muscles, they look really huge.
When viewed from above the lines of their bodies form a rectangle: large head, short neck, powerful and broad back. Paws and tail are slightly shorter than in ordinary cats. And there are no sharp corners – only soft lines and rounded shapes.
Proper coat for a British Shorthair is very thick plush. The coat is soft, elastic and kind of sticks up, isn’t close to the body. There are long-haired British cats (Highlanders) with extended guard hairs on their neck, hind legs and tail.
The eyes of these cats are quite large, round and wide open. The look is confident, bold and even a little defiant. Cats of this breed are full of dignity and gentility. Their greatest quirk is rounded muzzle with cheeks especially pronounced in males. Ears are medium-sized, wide-spaced. The muzzle is short, but not as flat as in Persians.
British Shorthairs come in such colors as: blue, black, white, red, cream, fawn, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, the patterns are tabby, mackerel tabby, colorpoint, shaded and bicolor.
There are about 100 variations of patterned and solid colors – the choice is huge! Depending on the coat color the eyes of a British Shorthair can be copper, blue or green.
British Shorthair cat is a real gentleman, a little prim, intelligent and reserved. These cats symbolize the English mentality and behave as if they’d been drinking freshly brewed black tea from expensive porcelain cup, sitting in an old chair near the fireplace for their whole lives. These lords of the cat world will never allow themselves to show excessive activity and fussiness.
In the family Brits express their friendliness, but accept people’s affection without any extraordinary emotions. These cats are suitable for calm people who need a friend and not a toy to carry in their hands. However, kittens, like all kids, enjoy playing and take part in everything happening around.
Cats of this breed communicate with kids showing imperturbable coolness. They never show aggression, preferring just quietly leave a carless kid alone. Guests are greeted by these cats with interest, but Brits mostly play the role of observers.
Housing and care
British Shorthair cat is one of the best breeds for those who don’t have much time for cat grooming. British Shorthair cats don’t need daily brushing and frequent washing. Long-haired cats should be combed once a week and bathed before the show or when necessary (usually every two to three months).
Since these cats aren’t too fond of the communication with strangers, they need a secluded place – a cat house or a bed in an elevated place, where the pet can rest and safely watch what’s happening around.
Many breeders claim that kittens of this breed adopt rules of etiquette almost from the mother's milk. This does not mean that you don’t have to pay attention to the training, but the fact that Brits are really intelligent cats with high mental abilities is true.
Modern British cats have preserved good health of their indigenous ancestors who have lived through severe natural selection. Brits don’t suffer from genetic diseases, and live longer, probably due to their Nordic temperament, they remain healthy to a ripe old age.