Monday, December 24, 2012

The Characteristics of the British Shorthair Cat

The history of the British Shorthair goes back to the days when the Romans first invaded what we now call Great Britain. The Romans brought with them shorthaired cats that were originally imported from Egypt. These cats bred freely until concentrated efforts were made to breed for certain traits. This didn't occur until the end of the 19th century. There was a great interest in the blue color, so most breeders bred what they called British Blues. Some of these breeders introduced Persian blood into the mix.

Breeding of these cats continued until World War I (WWI) when the Governing Council of Cat Fancy declared that only 3rd generation offspring of the British Shorthair/Persian crosses were acceptable. This drastically reduced the cats acceptable in breeding programs and very nearly led to the destruction of the British Shorthair as a cat breed.

Luckily, a few dedicated breeders came together to save their beloved British Shorthairs. They crossed the British Shorthairs they had with domestic shorthairs, Persians, and even Russian Blues. It took a while, but by the 1970s the British Shorthair cat was a strong breed once again.

It was in June of 1979 that the British Shorthair was recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA). The longhaired version of the breed, however, was not recognized until May of 2009.

The Appearance of the British Shorthair

This particular breed is medium in size but has a compact and powerful build. The legs are short but strong and the chest is broad. The tail of the British Shorthair is shorter than most other breeds in addition to being quite thick. The eyes are large and round and can be either copper or gold. The nose of this cat is shortened sort of like a Persian.

The coat of the British Shorthair should be dense and soft, feeling very like a thick pile carpet. The beautiful blue coat is the most common and most desirable in this cat breed, but all other colors are acceptable. The coat doesn't tangle or mat, so this cat requires very little grooming. A quick brush one a week is usually sufficient.

These cats can weight up to eighteen pounds. They are also quite sedentary and prone to gaining weight. You can prevent this by feeding the cat a diet high in protein and talking to your vet about other ways to keep your cat at a healthy weight. Activity can also help, so play with you cat often.

Other than the weight issue, there aren't very many real health problems with this cat. There is a slight medical oddity, but it doesn't affect your cat in any real way. This oddity is the blood type of most British Shorthairs. 40% of all British Shorthairs are blood type B despite this blood type being rare among British moggies (think of a moggie as a mutt, but a cat instead of a dog). It's an oddity, but not an important one.

The Personality of the British Shorthair

British Shorthairs are loyal and affectionate, but they're also aloof. They don't generally like to be carried around and they aren't a natural lap cat. This cat breed can tolerate small children and animals, but they're just as happy to live alone. They don't need a companion cat as many other breeds do. The males tend to be more affectionate while the females are more aloof.

The British Shorthair as a breed makes a good pet for a quieter household. While they can adapt to almost any situation, they prefer a home with quite adults and plenty of space to nap.

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