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European Shorthair Cat: Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

Oliver Jones

By Oliver Jones

European shorthair cat sitting on sofa

Height 9-11 inches
Weight Females can be up to 12 pounds; males can be up to 15 pounds
Lifespan 15-20 years
Colors Blue, black, cream, beige, gray, brown, sable, fawn, tortoiseshell, tabby
Suitable for Families, singles, seniors, apartment living
Temperament Friendly, independent, calm

European Shorthairs are one of the most popular house cat breeds. They are friendly and highly intelligent animals that can live up to 20 years, making them excellent long-term companions. While individual European Shorthairs tend to prefer a single-pet household, these cats generally adapt quite well to different types of homes. Whether you are a senior looking for companionship, single, a young couple, or a family with children, one of these cats could make a great addition to your home. Keep reading to learn more about the European Shorthair so that you can determine whether or not one of these cats could be right for you and your family.

European Shorthair Kittens

European shorthair kitten
Image Credit: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock


Since European Shorthairs tend to be relatively common, they tend to be quite popular and affordable. However, European Shorthairs with pedigree ancestry can be more expensive. As a result, the price tag for these cats ranges quite a bit.

Unless you’re searching for a cat with a very specific pedigree, look in your local pet shelter before you decide to buy one of these animals from a pet store. Pet stores and kitten mills do not always have the animal’s best interest in mind, so it’s best to avoid supporting them.

European Shorthairs tend to be calm and friendly kitties and will create strong bonds with their owners. They’re an excellent choice for apartment dwellers, families, singles, and seniors.

3 Little-Known Facts About the European Shorthair

European shorthair cat lying on the floor
Image Credit: Gundula Vogel, Shutterstock

1. The European Shorthair’s Origins Can Be Traced Back To Ancient Rome

The Romans are actually thought to be responsible for bringing these cats to the rest of Europe as they traveled and expanded their empire. In the Roman Empire, they were used to keep rats and other pests at bay, and as they spread across the continent, they became popular with farmers for the same purpose.

2. This Breed Is Especially Popular in Scandinavia

The European Shorthair is the national cat of Finland, which shows just how much Scandinavians love and appreciate this breed.

3. The European Shorthair Was Not Recognized as Its Own Breed Until 1982

This breed has often been confused with similar shorthair breeds like the British Shorthair. In 1982, the European Shorthair was officially recognized as its own separate breed by FIFe, the Federation Internationale Feline.

Related Read: American Shorthair Cat

Temperament & Intelligence of the European Shorthair

european shorthair cat lying on the floor
Image Credit: Piqsels

European Shorthairs are loyal, intelligent, and friendly cats, making them wonderful pets and companions. Though they can be shy around new people, they will often warm up once they get to know a new human. These cats require both physical and mental stimulation to be happy, so make sure to provide your pet with plenty of opportunities for interactive play.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

European Shorthairs are great family cats that tend to develop strong bonds with their family members. They also tend to do well with children, but your children need to know how to properly pet and play with a cat. If your kids play too rough with your cat, your pet is likely to stay away from them.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

European Shorthairs can do well with other pets as long as those pets aren’t aggressive. These cats have been known to get along with both cats and dogs, but there is no guarantee that your cat will warm up to your other animals. If you get your European Shorthair as a kitten, begin socializing it with your other pets right away to improve the chances that they will get along. However, if you have small mammals such as hamsters, make sure to keep them separate from your cat at all times; the European Shorthair is a hunter at heart and will certainly chase after your smaller pets if given the chance.

Things to Know When Owning a European Shorthair

European shorthair cat
Image Credit: Jumpstory

Food & Diet Requirements 🐟

Unlike dogs, cats are considered to be strict carnivores. They need high-quality, high-protein meals in order to meet their dietary needs. Choose high-quality dry food for your pet and pay attention to how much you feed it; overfeeding can lead to obesity in cats, which can have other medical consequences such as arthritis and diabetes. Generally speaking, you should feed your cat between 24 and 35 calories per pound each day. Ideally, you should split your cat’s daily feedings into multiple meals per day. Your vet may recommend supplementing your cat’s dry food with wet food depending on your budget and your cat’s specific nutritional needs.

Exercise 🐈

One of the biggest benefits of adopting a cat instead of a dog is that you do not need to take your cat out for a walk or otherwise facilitate structured exercise time. While European Shorthairs are moderately active cats, they tend to play and run around on their own. Invest in a few cat toys that your cat can chase around, such as mouse toys or cat balls.

You can also contribute to your cat’s daily exercise by participating in your cat’s playtime. Many cats love playing with a “fishing pole,” which is a short rod that usually has a feather or ribbon on the end. When you wave the pole around, your cat will have a blast chasing after the feather. Not only will you help your cat get some exercise, but by playing with your cat, you will help facilitate bonding between the two of you.

European shorthair cat playing
Image Credit: Gundula Vogel, Pixabay

Training 🧶

European Shorthairs are very intelligent and tend to learn quickly. These traits make them easier to train than other breeds. While you probably shouldn’t expect your cat to take to some of the common commands a dog might learn such as “fetch,” “stay,” or “sit,” you can teach your cat other behaviors such as using the litter box, sitting still during grooming, coming when called, and traveling in a carrier.

Grooming ✂️

Grooming your European Shorthair is simple, as your cat will do most of the work. However, you should plan to brush your cat about once or twice a week, which will help cut down on shedding and prevent hairballs. You should also trim your cat’s nails and clean its ears every so often.

Health and Conditions 🏥

European Shorthairs are healthy cats overall. However, as with all breeds, there are certain health conditions that these cats are susceptible to. Below, we have listed some serious and minor health conditions you should look out for.

Minor Conditions
  • Brachycephalic airway syndrome
  • Obesity
Serious Conditions
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
  • Heart disease

Male vs Female

Just like humans, every cat is an individual with its own individual personality. As such, generalizations about differences between male and female cats are just that: generalizations. That being said, there are a few differences between the sexes that have been noted by European Shorthair owners. The first, primary difference is physical: while all European Shorthairs are considered to be medium-sized cats, male cats tend to be larger than female cats. Any significant behavioral differences between males and females are usually due to sexual behavior, which is virtually eliminated when a cat is neutered or spayed. Anecdotally, male cats—intact or neutered—are said to be friendlier than female cats, but in truth, this is probably due to personality rather than biological sex.

Related Read: Oriental Shorthair Cat

Final Thoughts

Overall, European Shorthairs can make wonderful pets that are well-suited to many different types of homes. While these cats are usually affectionate with their owners, they tend to shy away from strangers and rambunctious kids. They also tend to prefer to be the only pet in your home unless they are bonded to another cat in their litter or socialized with your pets from a young age. If you find that you always have a lot of activity going on in your home or if you have other pets, you might want to consider a different pet. However, if you are looking for a friendly, loyal, and low-maintenance pet that will be part of your family for years to come, the European Shorthair could be for you.

Featured Image Credit: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock

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