British Shorthair: The Easy-Going Companion

British Shorthair: The Easy-Going Companion

The British Shorthair is one of the oldest and most popular cat breeds in the world, known for its distinctive round face, chubby cheeks, and dense, plush coat. Originating from the United Kingdom, this breed has a rich history dating back to Roman times when they were brought to Britain to help control the rodent population. Over the centuries, they have evolved into the lovable, easy-going companions we know today. British Shorthairs are highly adaptable, making them suitable for a variety of living environments, from bustling family homes to quieter single-person households. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about owning a British Shorthair, from the pros and cons to their dietary needs and potential health issues.

Pros and Cons of Ownership


  • Adaptable and Easy-Going: British Shorthairs are known for their calm and adaptable nature. They can fit well into any household, whether it's a busy family environment or a quieter single-person home. They are also relatively independent, making them suitable for people who work long hours.
  • Low Maintenance: Their short, dense coat requires minimal grooming compared to long-haired breeds, making them a low-maintenance option for busy owners. A weekly brush is usually sufficient to keep their coat in good condition.
  • Good with Children and Other Pets: British Shorthairs are friendly and tolerant, making them great companions for families with children and other pets. They are not overly demanding of attention but enjoy socializing on their terms.


  • Health Issues: British Shorthairs are prone to certain health problems, such as obesity and heart disease, which can lead to higher veterinary costs. Regular vet check-ups and a controlled diet are essential.
  • Less Affectionate: While they are friendly and sociable, British Shorthairs are not as affectionate as some other breeds. They enjoy being around their owners but are not typically lap cats.
  • Activity Level: They have a lower activity level, which can lead to weight gain if their diet and exercise are not carefully managed. It’s important to provide them with regular opportunities for play.

Cost to Purchase

British Shorthairs are a popular breed and can be quite expensive. The price for a British Shorthair kitten from a reputable breeder typically ranges from $1,200 to $2,500, depending on factors such as the breeder’s reputation and the kitten’s lineage. Adoption is a more affordable option, and it's worth checking local shelters or British Shorthair rescue groups for available cats.

Recommended Type of Food

British Shorthairs require a balanced diet to maintain their health and prevent obesity. High-quality cat food that is rich in protein is essential. Look for brands that list meat as the first ingredient and avoid fillers like corn and soy. A mix of dry and wet food can help provide the necessary nutrients while keeping them hydrated. It's important to monitor their food intake and avoid overfeeding, as British Shorthairs can easily gain weight.

Recommended Type of Exercise

While British Shorthairs are not as active as some other breeds, they still need regular exercise to stay healthy. Interactive toys, such as feather wands and laser pointers, can encourage them to play and move around. Providing scratching posts and climbing structures can also help keep them engaged. Regular play sessions are important to prevent boredom and maintain a healthy weight.

Known Health Issues

British Shorthairs are generally healthy but are predisposed to certain conditions:

  • Obesity: Due to their laid-back nature, British Shorthairs are prone to weight gain. Regular exercise and a controlled diet are essential to prevent obesity-related health issues. 
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): This common heart disease in cats can lead to heart failure if not monitored and managed properly. Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for early detection and management. 
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD): PKD is a genetic disorder that can affect the kidneys. Genetic testing and regular vet visits can help manage this condition. 


British Shorthairs are known for their calm and gentle temperament. They are very laid-back and enjoy a quiet, peaceful environment. They are not as demanding of attention as some other breeds, making them a good choice for people who prefer a more independent pet. British Shorthairs are also known for their loyalty and can form strong bonds with their owners. Despite their independence, they enjoy socializing and will often follow their owners around the house.

Defining Characteristics

  • Appearance: British Shorthairs have a distinctive appearance with their round faces, chubby cheeks, and large, round eyes. Their dense, plush coat adds to their overall charm.
  • Size: They are medium to large cats, with males typically weighing between 12-18 pounds and females between 8-14 pounds.
  • Coat: Their short, dense coat comes in a variety of colors and patterns. The most famous is the "British Blue," a solid blue-grey color.
  • Personality: British Shorthairs are known for their calm and easy-going nature. They are friendly, tolerant, and good with children and other pets.


If a British Shorthair seems like too much of a commitment, consider these breeds:

  • Scottish Fold: Known for their distinctive folded ears and sweet disposition, Scottish Folds are another good option for those seeking a calm and gentle companion.
  • American Shorthair: Similar in appearance and temperament, American Shorthairs are also low-maintenance and adaptable to various living environments.
  • Russian Blue: With their striking blue coat and gentle nature, Russian Blues are a good alternative for those seeking a calm and affectionate cat.


British Shorthairs are wonderful pets for those who seek a calm, gentle, and easy-going companion. Their adaptable nature and low-maintenance coat make them ideal for a variety of households. With proper care, attention, and regular veterinary visits, a British Shorthair can bring years of joy and companionship to your home. If you're looking for a cat that is friendly, tolerant, and relatively low-maintenance, the British Shorthair might just be the perfect choice for you.


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