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Golden British Shorthair Cat: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Written by: Lorre Luther

Last Updated on May 30, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team


Golden British Shorthair Cat: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Golden British Shorthair cats are gorgeous, round kitties with large heads and big hearts. They are rather large cats, and some large males can weigh up to 18 pounds. While gray tends to be the color most associated with the breed, these cats can be found in several shades, including white, cream, smoke, and golden. Some have bicolor, calico and tabby patterned coats.

Golden British Shorthair cats are orangish versions of this popular breed. They are generally laid back and relatively mellow and were the 6th most popular breed in the US in 2021, according to the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA).

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The Earliest Records of Golden British Shorthair Cats in History

British Shorthair cats are one of the oldest recognized breeds in the feline world. But the breed’s exact origins are difficult to pin down. Some researchers suggest the ancestors of these cats were Egyptian felines brought to Europe by Romans. These cats then crossed the English Channel with the Romans during their 43 CE invasion of the British Isles to become the ancestors of today’s British Shorthair cats. Others point to British street cats as the breed’s ancestors.

Either way, they were initially sought after as working cats and eventually became popular pets. They were considered regular old cats until the late 1800s, when Harrison Weir, the father of modern cat shows, advocated identifying them as a distinct breed. A British Shorthair cat even participated in the first cat show in the UK back in 1871.

golden british shorthair cat lying on a blue sofa
Image Credit: SunRay BRI Cattery RU, Shutterstock

How British Shorthair Cats Gained Popularity

British Shorthair cats may have first arrived in Britain with the Romans, but the breed’s precise origins are a bit opaque. They were identified as a distinct breed in the late 19th century and participated in cat shows. But the breed’s popularity declined over time as interest in highbrow breeds grew, and these street-cat descendants fell out of favor.

In the early 20th century, breeders began introducing Persian cat genes to the breed, resulting in the development of long-haired variants. The breeding stock took a serious hit during the middle of the 20th century due in part to the hostilities of WWII. British Shorthair cats were crossed with Persian, Russian Blue, and Domestic Shorthair kitties after WWII to strengthen the gene pool.

The breed was introduced to North America in the 1900s and became the 6th most popular cat in the US  in 2021. They regularly rank as one of the most popular pedigree breeds in the UK.

Formal Recognition of British Shorthair Cats

British Shorthair cats made an appearance at the first cat show in the UK in 1871. But the breed went through some hard times during the early 20th century, as the cats lost popularity among cat fanciers and breeders began crossing British Shorthair cats with Persian kitties. The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized the breed in 1979, and the CFA acknowledged British Shorthair cats one year later, in 1980. The Royal Mail created a series of stamps in 2022 featuring kitties in adorable poses, and a gorgeous gray British Shorthair cat was one of the featured animals.

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Top 3 Unique Facts About the British Shorthair Cat

1. A British Shorthair Cat May Have Inspired Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat

Lewis Carroll, the Victorian author of Alice in Wonderland, may have based the Cheshire Cat character in his classic children’s tale on a British Shorthair cat. But he may also have drawn inspiration from various carvings depicting smiling cats.

Fans suggest Carroll may have based the character on a 16th-century carving of a grinning cat located on a church tower in a village just a few miles from where the author grew up. However, some scholars argue that a carving in Croft Church, where Lewis’ father worked as a pastor, was the model for Carroll’s famous smiling kitty.

2. A British Shorthair Cat Was the World Record Holder for Loudest Purr

In 2011, a British Shorthair cat snagged the record for the world’s loudest purr. Smokey, a rescue cat, took the spot with a purr that reached 67.7 dB, but Smokey’s purrs can go all the way up to a whopping 90 dB. The average domestic cat’s purr tops out around 25 dB! A normal conversation often reaches around 60 dB, and lawnmowers clock in at 90 dB. Smokey won the world record when she was 12.

3. Brother Cream Was a British Shorthair Cat

Tsim Tung Brother Cream shot to fame in 2012 when he disappeared from the convenience store in Hong Kong where he usually “worked” alongside his human, Ko Chee-shing. The internet sprung into action, and the cat was returned about 3 weeks after he first went missing.

Brother Cream became perhaps the most famous cat in Hong Kong due to his disappearance, with fans flocking to take his picture and meet him during guest appearances. He became an advertising must-have, appearing on the sides of buses and even handbags. The cat was even interviewed on CNN! Brother Cream died in 2020.

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Do Golden British Shorthair Cats Make Good Pets?

British Shorthair cats make wonderful pets. They are curious, sweet, and incredibly easygoing. Because they’re so patient, they do well around children and other pets. Most are happiest when around their favorite people, but they do not require high levels of sustained direct interaction. Many British Shorthair cats are content just hanging out and doing their own thing in the same room as their favorite humans.

They’re fantastic apartment cats since they don’t have tons of energy. Most play with their toys and scratching posts periodically, but the activity seldom becomes intense. And they usually do just fine when left alone during the day—British Shorthair cats are not known for being particularly prone to becoming anxious, depressed, or lonely, but, like all cats, they do best when given lots of love and attention.

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Golden British Shorthair cats are loyal, friendly, and easygoing. They’re also known for being a bit on the large side, and you can even find golden kitties with tabby patterns! These muscular, laid-back cats first gained popularity as working cats. But over time, the mellow sweeties came to be seen as pets. They arrived in the US in the 1900s, but the CFA only granted the breed recognition in 1980. British Shorthair cats are incredibly popular in the US and the UK.

Featured Image Credit: OksanaSusoeva, Shutterstock

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