Do you know the story of “Alice in Wonderland”?
There is a character called the Cheshire Cat in it, and the British Shorthair is said to be the cat that became the model for it!
It has become popular in Japan recently, so some of you may have heard the name!
Let’s explore the cute secrets of the British Shorthair!
～ Basic information. ～
Country of origin United Kingdom.
Weight male : 4-8kg female : 3-5kg.
The history of the British Shorthair is very old, and it is said that the cats that the Roman army took with them when they attacked Britain in war were the origin. After that, they started farming in Britain, but they suffered damage from mice, so they had the cats catch mice to protect the crops. The rumor of their mouse-catching skills spread, and they became very useful in human life, and breeding with improvement was actively carried out from around 1820.
And in 1871, the first cat show in Britain was held in London, and the British Shorthair won many awards. The popularity increased rapidly, and it was officially registered as a breed in the 1900s.
However, the British Shorthair has been hit by two extinction crises.
The first one was caused by “World War I”. At that time, Britain was suffering from a shortage of supplies and food due to the war, and people living in the city lost the ability to protect or raise cats. The impact was not only on stray cats living in the city, but also on the British Shorthair. After the war, Britain started a new crossbreeding to increase the number of British Shorthairs that had decreased.
At this time, they crossed with Persian, which had a similar body shape and face, and increased the number, but along the way long-haired cats were born, and they distinguished them by positioning short-haired cats as “British Shorthair” and long-haired cats as “Persian”.
Until then, the British Shorthair had increased its number smoothly, but it was hit by another extinction crisis. It was the beginning of “World War II”.
After the war, they restarted breeding activities to increase the number of British Shorthairs that had decreased again. This time, not only Persian but also Russian Blue became the target of crossbreeding. As a result, they were able to escape from the extinction crisis.
Eventually, when the British Shorthair crossed over to America, its popularity soared. For a while, it was called “British Blue” because blue color was the main one, but as a result of repeated crossbreeding with oriental cats, it is said that cats of various colors were born.
British Shorthair’s Q&A.
Where does the British Shorthair get its name?
They are called British because of their country of origin, Britain, and shorthair means short hair, so they are called British Shorthair by combining the two words.
What are the color variations of the British Shorthair?
■Types of body colors.
They have blue, black, cream, white, chocolate, and red colors.
■Types of patterns and color schemes.
The whole body is monochrome, such as the face, body, legs, and tail.
They have striped or spotted patterns all over.
・Silver & golden.
Only the tips of the hair have color, and the base is white or light color.
・Smoke & shaded.
The tips of the overcoat have color for 1/2, and the remaining 1/2 is white.
Two colors of hair are randomly mixed.
・Calico & bi-color.
Half or one-third of the body is white, and the rest is composed of two or more colors of hair.
・Tabby & white.
Half or one-third of the body is white, and the rest is composed of striped or spotted patterns.
■Types of eye color.
They have blue, gold, green, copper, hazel, and odd eyes.
British Shorthair is only short-haired. There are also long-haired ones, but they are registered as British Longhair.
What does a British Shorthair look like?
They have a wide and round head, large and round eyes. They have medium-sized ears with rounded tips, and their body type is semi-cobby. Their legs are slightly short, but they have a sturdy and thick body with strong bones. Their coat is slightly hard to the touch, and they are covered with dense and thick fur.
The cheeks of the British Shorthair are plump compared to other breeds, so much so that you can’t tell where the neck begins. This part is also called “jowls”, and it is especially emphasized in males who are not neutered. Jowls are thought to have developed to protect the part that gets bitten in fights, and they grow larger due to the action of male hormones. They seem to shrink gradually after neutering, but if the timing of neutering is late, some jowls may remain.
Why are there so many colour schemes and patterns for British Shorthair?
It is thought that the British Shorthair became popular and then was crossed with various cats, resulting in a wide variety of variations.
By the way, it is said that the foundation of the American Shorthair is the British Shorthair. Indeed, the noses of the American Shorthair and the British Shorthair are very similar, aren’t they?
How long does it take to buy a British Shorthair?
When keeping animals, you may need to follow the laws set by the country. This time, I will talk about keeping a British Shorthair at home in Japan.
If you buy from a breeder or a cattery, it will cost you 250,000 to 350,000 yen. When considering buying, it is good to visit once if you find a child you like.
In the case of pet shops, it costs 200,000 to 250,000 yen, and depending on the case, you may be able to keep the price slightly lower than buying from a breeder. However, some of them may breed indiscriminately, so it may be better to avoid buying from shops where the origin of breeding is not clear.
Furthermore, if you buy from a cattery, which is the upper qualification of a breeder, it may be more expensive than a general breeder. A cattery requires certification from the pedigree issuing organization “CAF” or “TICA”, so breeders who have this qualification have high credibility and added value. The reason for the high price is that it is a proof of trust.
In addition, I will introduce some points that cause the price to vary.
・Being a kitten.
・Having excellent pedigree.
・Having rare colors or patterns.
There are other conditions, but especially if they meet the above conditions, they seem to be expensive.
Find out more about the character and characteristics of the British Shorthair!
①Smart and gentle character.
They are calm, smart, and gentle, so they are easy to train. They are the kind of cats that will cuddle up to their owners quietly at times. They have a high sense of independence and rarely meow unnecessarily, so their majestic appearance is sometimes called “the Winston Churchill of the cat world”, after the name of the famous British politician.
②Calm but loves exercise!
On the one hand, the British Shorthair has a calm side, but on the other hand, it is a cat that loves to play with toys. They have a sturdy body type and high athletic ability, and they will play with various toys. They love to play because they still inherit the remnants of the era when they were active as mouse catchers. Also, although there are individual differences, some cats seem to prefer to play alone rather than with someone else!
③When I was little, I was spoiled! But when I grow up, I go at my own pace.
When they are kittens, they tend to have a clingy personality, but as they grow up, they develop a sense of self, so they may dislike being hugged or petted more than necessary. They are also not good at sitting still on your lap, so they seem to prefer relaxing on the sofa by themselves.
④I may not be good at seeing my world change.
The British Shorthair is also not good at living in a noisy environment, and it is not very suitable for a large family or a house with small children. It is not impossible to keep them, but such an environment may be stressful for the cat, and there is a possibility that they may get sick, so it may be better to avoid it if possible.
Actually, they are very patient and steady, so they seem to be okay with staying alone. Females tend to have a stronger sense of independence and a cool beauty personality. Males also have a sense of independence, but slightly weaker than females. Of course, there are also cats with the opposite personality, so it is better to remember this as a reference only.
※When keeping animals, you may need to follow the laws set by the country.
What are the diseases that British Shorthair is susceptible to?
The British Shorthair has almost no diseases caused by genetic disorders. However, you should be careful of “lower urinary tract disease”, “chronic kidney disease”, and “diabetes”.
①Lower urinary tract disease.
Originally, cats do not have a habit of drinking a lot of water, as a remnant of the past. As a result, they put a strain on their kidneys and often develop urinary tract diseases.
Specifically, there are “urinary stones” and “cystitis”, where stones formed in the kidneys get stuck in the urethra and other places, damaging the body’s tissues. If you notice symptoms such as a decrease in the number of times you go to the toilet, blood in your urine, or a different color of urine than usual, please see a doctor as soon as possible.
It is possible to prevent them by paying attention to your daily diet and the frequency of giving water, but there are cases where you may get sick even if you are careful, so we recommend that you have regular health check-ups if possible.
The fact that the kidneys are prone to strain also means that there is a possibility of developing “chronic kidney disease”. This is a disease where the kidneys become inflamed due to aging or some other cause, and eventually stop functioning.
②Chronic kidney disease.
Being prone to kidney stress means that you may develop chronic kidney disease. This is a disease where the kidneys become inflamed due to aging or some other cause, and eventually stop functioning.
To prevent chronic kidney disease, it is important to have regular health checkups. There is no cure for it at the moment, but if you find it early, you can slow down its progression with symptomatic treatment.
Some daily habits that you can do to prevent it are using a circulating type of water dispenser, giving wet type food that contains a lot of water, and not giving too many snacks. These may help in some cases. Please try to keep them in mind.
Obesity and lack of exercise can increase the risk of developing diabetes. Some specific symptoms are drinking a lot of water suddenly and urinating more often. As the disease progresses, you may also see signs of loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.
In the case of British Shorthairs, they are originally sturdy in build, so it may be hard to notice if they become overweight. Also, they may develop diabetes due to genetics or aging. It is difficult to prevent the disease if it is caused by congenital reasons, but obesity can be prevented by moderate exercise and diet control.
You can check if your cat is fat or not by using a ‘body condition score’. I recommend that you weigh them occasionally.
What is the lifespan of a British Shorthair?
The lifespan of British Shorthairs is said to be 14 to 17 years. The average lifespan of cats is 12 to 16 years, so they are cats that can live long if you pay attention to their health.
まるごとわかる猫種大図鑑 監修：CFA公認審査員 早田由貴子
世界中で愛される美しすぎる猫図鑑 監修 今泉忠明
The Cat Fancier’s Association, Inc.
Pet Smile news for ネコちゃん