The British Shorthair is a sturdy and imposing cat with a sociable and steadfast individuality. This calm and tender breed earned worldwide repute for its plush-like coat, big curious eyes and joyful smile, which make it look like a cute teddy bear. It’s also noted for a solid health and excellent adaptability.
Photo: © Olga Timohina (Eloso Risado Cattery)
The first British Shorthairs were brought along to England during Roman invasion. The Roman army utilised these cats to exterminate rats and mice, which made great damage to their food supplies. When Romans were finally driven away, cats were left behind to win a country with their irresistible charm.
Conformation shows became exceedingly popular during the Victorian era and the British Shorthair was one of the first and the most active participants of this kind of events. Between 1914 and 1918 its specimens were crossed with the Persian and longhaired variety was born. At the beginning the breed existed in two separate types: the stocky, relatively small British with its roundish head and the graceful Russian with its elongated body and triangular head. Initially they were classified as one breed before the Russian was eventually separated into unique feline variety.
Two World Wars led to serious reduction in population of the British Shorthair, as lots of breeders were unable to provide their cats with adequate care and nourishment. Actually the breed became so rare in the post-war years that it wouldn’t have survived without outcrossing with Domestic Shorthairs, the Russian Blue, and the Persian. Since then the British Shorthair has earned admiration of numerous cat fanciers all around the world.
The American Cat Association formally acknowledged the British Shorthair in 1967, but the Cat Fanciers Association did not recognise it until 1980. Presently all cat associations granted their full recognition to the breed.
The British Shorthair possesses a friendly, complaisant and quite character and usually makes an unobtrusive but affectionate household pet. Naturally this cat likes to be in the centre of your attention but it always understands when its company is unwelcome. Thanks to its British restraint it will rarely bother the master with requests and will be fully happy to just stay beside him. All kinds of domestic animals can be kept alongside with this cat including peaceful dogs, rabbits, and even birds. Children absolutely adore this cat for its sweet appearance and it graciously accepts their care and attention. This breed can’t stand though when it’s being carried around or squeezed too hard. That’s why the child should be shown how to interact with the cat properly.
A grown-up member of the British Shorthair can be quite a couch potato. Nevertheless until it is a year old it will be a typical mischievous kitten with permanent readiness to play. In its adulthood this cat demonstrates occasional willingness to catch and kill a toy mouse although most of the day it’ll behave itself relaxed and mannerly.
Despite its seemingly laid-back attitude, the British Shorthair is an intelligent cat. Its inquisitive nature requires regular stimulation, so it would be a good idea to teach it several tricks or provide it with interactive toys. Make sure that you reward your pets’ efforts with tasty treats and gentle words.
The British Shorthair has all necessary individual traits to become an ideal family pet: it is a loving, docile, calm and irresistibly beautiful cat with a solid health.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· hypertrophic cardiomyopathy;
· haemophilia B.
The British Shorthair needs fairly standard grooming. Its plush soft coat will look neat and healthy if it’s thoroughly combed at least once a week. This cat will get rid of most of its hair in the spring and fall but a daily brushing will make shedding process barely noticeable.
It’s essential to clip the cat’s nails every other week and regularly inspect its ears for symptoms of infection and irritation. If you find them dirty wipe them out with a soft damp tissue. The teeth of the British Shorthair require periodic brushing in order to stay in decent condition.Above-mentioned grooming procedures should beintroduced as early as possible so the cat will be able to tolerate such kindof activities in its maturity.