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12 Incredible British Shorthair Cat Facts You Didn’t Know!

Patricia Dickson

By Patricia Dickson

British shorthair grey cat sitting on a wooded table

The British Shorthair cat is an incredible breed and a joy to be around. They are fun-loving cats with silky, beautiful coats. The British Shorthair, also called the European Shorthair, is beloved by any pet owner lucky enough to have one. You can trace this breed’s lineage back 2,000 years, and they aren’t just popular in Britain but all over the world well. If you’ve ever wondered what makes the British Shorthair cat such an interesting breed, we’ve got you covered with our 12 favorite British Shorthair cat facts below.

The 12 British Shorthair Facts

1. British Shorthairs Are One of the Oldest Cat Breeds

British Shorthairs are one of the oldest cat breeds. The cats’ ancestors were working cats, urban mousers, street cats, and rural farm cats. While it’s uncertain when this breed came to Britain, it’s thought that it was during Roman times. Although the precise time is disputed, most believe that the British Shorthair’s history began over 2,000 years ago.

British shorthair cat Silver chocolate color yellow eyes
Image Credit: lowpower225, Shutterstock

2. British Shorthairs Come in a Variety of Colors

The British Shorthair comes in a variety of colors. When most people think of the British Shorthair, the classic gray cat comes to mind. However, you can adopt this cat breed in various colors, including the following.

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Red
  • White
  • Cream
  • Lilac
  • Chocolate

3. The Breed Nearly Became Extinct

Even as popular as the British Shorthair cat was, after its early start, it almost became extinct. This was during the early 20th century when more exotic cat breeds began to appear, and the British Shorthair seemed to be replaced by breeds such as the Persian.

World War II also dramatically affected cat breeding, so by the end of the 1950s, the cat breed known as the British Shorthair had almost completely died out. Concerned breeders stepped in, and by the 1970s, the British Shorthair cat was making a comeback and even becoming popular throughout the world, not just in Britain.

British Shorthair pedigreed kitten with blue gray fur
Image Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek, Shutterstock

4. The Cat Gains Weight Easily

The British Shorthair is muscular and chunky, which is admittedly part of its attraction. However, it also makes it vulnerable to weight gain, which can be dangerous to your furry friend’s health.

To prevent your British Shorthair cat from becoming obese, it’s best to watch what you feed it and only serve high-quality, high-protein kibble or wet food. It’s also best not to free-feed these cats since they’re food-motivated and can put on weight quickly without a routine feeding schedule.

5. British Shorthairs Are Expensive

The popularity of the British Shorthair breed doesn’t come without a price, and it can be a hefty one. If you purchase your British Shorthair kitten from a breeder, you can expect to pay anywhere from $800 to $1,500 apiece. The price can be affected by the breeder you choose and specific attributes, such as the color and pedigree.

Make sure that any breeder you choose is reputable and will give you a tour of their facility before you make a final decision.

british shorthair cat lying on blue background
Image Credit: Irina Riedel, Shutterstock

6. They Are Great With Children

If you’re searching for a cat that makes a great family cat and gets along well with children, you can’t go wrong with a British Shorthair. It is calm and loving and gets along with people of all ages, whether young or old. However, it is best to socialize and train your cat and your children from an early age so that they know how to act and treat each other when they are playing so that no one gets hurt.

7. The Breed Has an Alice in Wonderland Connection

It’s entirely possible that the British Shorthair cat was the inspiration for the Cheshire cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Not only that, but the breed is also thought to have inspired Puss in Boots. Historians claim that pictures in Alice in Wonderland of the Cheshire cat look exactly like a tabby British Shorthair cat.

british shorthair colorpoint
Image Credit: NickSu, Shutterstock

8. Record for the Loudest Purr

A British Shorthair cat named Smokey held the record for the loudest purr in 2011. Sadly, Smokey has passed on, but he was 12 years old when he was declared as having the loudest purr. He passed away in 2014.

9. The British Shorthair Is Not a Lap Cat

While an affectionate and loving cat, the British Shorthair is not a lap cat. Don’t expect your feline pal to curl up on your lap for snuggles and watch a movie. They might sit beside you on the couch while you watch your favorite shows, but they don’t like to be held and cuddled for long. However, the cat will let you pet it when it wants to be loved.

british shorthair cat lying
Image Credit: Blue-Heaven, Pixabay

10. They Have a Long Lifespan

British Shorthairs also have a long lifespan. The average lifespan for a British Shorthair is between 12 and 15 years, but they have been known to live as many as 20 years if they are taken care of properly, fed the way they should be, and not allowed to become obese.

11. British Shorthairs Don’t Meow Often

Unlike some breeds, this one doesn’t meow very often. However, the cat will still tell you when it needs to be fed, if they want to be petted, or if something is wrong. So, if you’re looking for a friendly, loving, yet quiet companion, the British Shorthair cat will make you a loyal, loving one.

british shorthair cat on grass
Image Credit: Maleo, Shutterstock

12. It Used to be a Hunting Cat

The British Shorthair used to be a hunting cat, which might not be as hard to believe as one might think if you consider their size. In fact, in the 1800s, the cat would help its owners find food as well as its own food. That’s a little hard to believe when considering how much this breed loves to laze around the house in today’s modern times, but it’s true.


These are just a few of the incredible facts you might not have known about the British Shorthair. If you’ve been considering adopting one of these fine feline creatures, these facts may entice you to adopt one. Before contacting a breeder, check the local shelters and rescues for British Shorthairs. Although they’re popular pets, you may get lucky and find a rescue kitty to give a forever home.

Featured Image Credit: FotoMirta, Shutterstock

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