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British Shorthair Cat Breed Info: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

British Shorthair cat
Image Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 30, 2023 by Catster Editorial Team
Height:12–14 inches
Weight:8–17 pounds
Lifespan:12–20 years
Colors:Blue, White, Black, Cream, Tabby, Torti, Bi-Color, Calico
Suitable for:Single people or families, with or without other pets
Temperament:Calm, Independent, Affectionate, Easygoing, Smart

The British Shorthair is believed to be Britain’s oldest domestic cat and is thought to have originated from ancient Rome’s domestic cats. When the Romans invaded Great Britain, they brought their cats with them in an effort to protect their food from rodents. When the Romans left, they also left their cats behind, and the British Shorthair has gone on to be one of the most popular family cats today.

The British Shorthair has a distinctive round head with chubby cheeks and big round eyes. They tend to have very thick and plush coats of blue fur but also come in a vast array of colors and patterns. The British Shorthair tends to be a medium to large cat with a very sturdy and stocky body and a shorter tail with a rounded tip.

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British Shorthair Kittens – Before You Welcome One Into Your Familly…

British Shorthair kittens_Eric Isselee_shutterstock
Image Credit: Eric Isseelee, Shutterstock
British Shorthair Singapore (infographic)
Graphic via

The British Shorthair is a calm cat that doesn’t spend much time running and playing, but they are trainable thanks to their intelligence. They have a long lifespan if they are properly taken care of and are a healthy breed. They enjoy spending time with everyone in the family, even including all pets, provided they are cat-friendly.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the British Shorthair

1. The British Shorthair is thought to be the model for the Cheshire Cat.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll features the Cheshire Cat, famous for his smile. It is believed that the Cheshire Cat was inspired by the British Shorthair, minus the purple tabby coloring.

2. The British Shorthair and Longhair are essentially the same.

The British Shorthair was just called the Shorthair for a long time and was one of the first varieties of domestic cats that were developed. During World War I, Persians were bred with the Shorthair, which gives us the British Longhair, recognized separately by TICA (The International Cat Association) in 2009. They are identical in every way except for the length of their fur.

3. The British Shorthair is a “well-rounded” cat.

They seem to be round in almost every way. They have rounded ears, tails, paws, and eyes in a round head with round cheeks.

British Shorthair pedigreed kitten with blue gray fur_PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek_shutterstock
Image Credit: Michal-Bednarek, Shutterstock


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Temperament & Intelligence of the British Shorthair

They are generally calm cats that are affectionate but prefer not to be carried around. British Shorthairs are slower to mature than other cats as they don’t reach their full adult size until they are approximately 3 years old. They aren’t particularly chatty cats, and they tend to be easygoing and adaptable.

British Shorthairs are intelligent cats, and they get along with all family members, whether they are humans or animals. While they are very loving and sweet cats, they are also quite independent and can amuse themselves when left alone. British Shorthairs are not known to be terribly active cats but will occasionally get the “zoomies” like any other cat.

Are These Cats Good for Families?

The British Shorthair is a perfect cat for a family. They are affectionate and patient and get along very well with children of all ages. However, keep in mind that because they do not like to be carried, all members of the family should be taught to respect this.

British Shorthair
Image Credit: uschi2807, Pixabay

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

The British Shorthair gets along very well with other pets as long as any dogs in the household are cat-friendly and don’t resort to playing roughly with him. It’s important to provide your cat with places they can escape to if they’re feeling threatened or overwhelmed; typically, a high shelf will do. The British Shorthair has been known to live comfortably with all kinds of pets, including birds and rabbits.

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Things to Know When Owning a British Shorthair:

Food & Diet Requirements

When you bring your British Shorthair home, the breeder or rescue group will usually send a small amount of the food your new cat has been eating home with you. Some cats might experience digestive upset if you switch their food too suddenly, so if you want to introduce your cat to a new food, do so slowly.

You’ll want to feed high-quality cat food, and you can follow the guidelines on the back of the food bag that can help you to determine how much you should feed your cat every day. The British Shorthair is prone to obesity because they’re not very active, so be aware of this potential issue and consult your vet if you’re concerned about your cat’s weight.

Another consideration for your cat’s health is to provide an appropriate source of water. Many cats are prone to kidney problems, and canned food is one way of adding extra moisture to your cat’s diet. You could also consider giving your cat a cat fountain as another way to keep them well-hydrated, which can help prevent kidney disease.


It’s important to get your British Shorthair to play every day to help prevent obesity. These sedentary cats will also need play to keep mentally stimulated, which can be partly accomplished with a variety of toys. A bored cat tends to be a destructive cat, so spend some time exercising your British Shorthair, and he’ll thank you for it.

The Hepper Hi-Lo Modern Cat Scratcher is a functional and stylish design that makes it the ultimate scratching spot for your cat – and a superhero in the battle against furniture destruction. Unlike most cat toys that end up being ignored, this one's a crowd-pleaser for both cats and their hoomans.

grey cat upside down on hepper hi-lo cat scratcher

With its 3 configurations, thick textured cardboard, and solid birch plywood frame, it encourages your cat's natural scratching instincts, so they stay away from your precious furniture, rugs, and curtains, among all other things they shouldn't scratch. The Hi-Lo is like your home's mini guardian, keeping it safe while looking super sleek and trendy.

At Excited Cats, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest, so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!


Training is simple with the British Shorthair thanks to their easygoing nature and intelligence. You might even be able to train them to play fetch, which will also help them get more exercise.

Grooming ✂️

The British Shorthair does not require very much grooming, thanks to its short coat. The fur is very thick and plush, but brushing once a week should prevent any mats from forming. During the regular shedding seasons of fall and spring, you might need to brush them a little more frequently to keep up with the excess fur.

Other than brushing your British Shorthair, you’ll also need to trim their claws, and you need to consider brushing their teeth. You can also provide dental treats if they don’t seem to appreciate the toothbrush. Be sure to provide a good cat scratcher that they can go to town on instead of your furniture.

Health and Conditions

The British Shorthair is a healthy cat with very few health issues.

Minor Conditions
Serious Conditions

Your vet will run a heart test to check for HCM and inspect the cat’s teeth for any dental problems.

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Male vs. Female

The male British Shorthair tends to weigh a little more than the female. Males generally weigh about 9 to 17 pounds, and females 7 to 12 pounds.

In terms of personality, it is thought that the male British Shorthair is a more easygoing and affectionate cat, whereas the female might be a little more serious and expect everyone to be on their best behavior. However, how your cat was raised and how long they spent time with their mother will be a large factor in their personality as an adult cat.

Spaying or neutering your cat is another major difference between males and females. If you leave your male unneutered, he’ll be prone to wandering off and spraying. Leaving a female unspayed will result in her going into heat, which can include attempting to run away and being generally uncomfortable. Spaying and neutering your British Shorthair will ensure a happier cat and will help prevent unwanted behavioral issues.

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Final Thoughts

The British Shorthair is a beautiful cat that will be a welcome companion to add to your family. They accept all creatures and humans, large and small, and have the kind of independence that will help those who need to work every day. They’re affectionate without being needy and playful without being bonkers. The British Shorthair might just be the family cat you’ve always been looking for.

See also:

Featured Image: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek, Shutterstock

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

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