Most famously, Sir John Tenniel used the British Shorthair as a model for the Cheshire Cat in his illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. The Cheshire Cat may very well be the most famous British Shorthair in literature, but he is not the only one. The French fairytale, Puss In Boots, also uses a British Shorthair for its title character. British Shorthair cats have made their way into film as well. Church, the cat from Stephen King’s Pet Sematary is portrayed by a British Shorthair.
A Short(hair) History
The ancestors of the British Shorthair were bred by the Romans for their strength and ability to kill rodents. Roman soldiers brought the cats with them as they traveled to conquer the British isles. Initially considered common street cats, the British Shorthair was one of the first breeds to be developed when pedigreed cats became all the rage in the Victorian Era. Later in World War I the British long haired cats were developed.
A Big Teddy-Cat
Today the British Shorthair is nicknamed “the body builder” of cats. These cats are slow to mature, sometimes not reaching their full size until 3 years of age. The average British Shorthair is 7 – 18 pound and very solid. They are known for their very round features including a round face, round eyes and rounded ears. Their chubby little cheeks make it appear as if they were smiling. The most popular color of the British Shorthair is blue (really a medium gray), but there are actually many color variations. Their fur is short, thick, and dense giving it a velvety feel.
A Winning Purr-sonality
British Shorthair cats are generally very calm and quiet. They are very regal in their demeanor. While they are not lap cats and don’t like to be picked up they are very affectionate and will be glad to curl up beside you. Females are more serious and males are more laid back. Owners of British Shorthair cats fall in love with their clumsy clown-like antics. They get along well with other animals and with children. The British Shorthair is a great choice for first time cat owners.
Happy & Healthy
There are no breed-specific health problems associated with the British Shorthair. However, the diet of these cats should be watched carefully as they love food, but not exercise. The naturally stocky British Shorthair gains weight easily and is prone to obesity. In good health, a British Shorthair can live between 7 and 18 years.
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Image credits: Flickr photographer Nikolai Titkov who has graciously provided this picture of a British Shorthair cat. Thank you!