The British Shorthair: a recognisable best friend

The British Shorthair: a recognisable best friend

Blauwe Britse korthaar kat in het gras

This gentle cat breed is known for its soft appearance, blue-grey coat and bright orange eyes. Today however, this teddy bear can be found in a wide variety of patterns and colours. British Shorthairs generally have unique personal characteristics that make this beautiful cat breed stand out from other breeds, but of course, each cat has its own behavioural pattern. Read on if you want to know more about this lovely cat breed or look at cat trees for British Shorthairs!


You can’t make it up, but the British Shorthair obviously comes from Great Britain. However, the ancestors of this breed were probably brought to England by the Romans. There, these natural hunters helped the Romans to keep vermin away from their camps.

In the 19th century, as cat breeding became increasingly popular in the UK, the British Shorthair (then the British Blue), entered the very first organised cat show in Britain. The Bsh, owned by the enthusiastic Harrison Weir, won the award for best show cat.

Due to food shortages during the Second World War, many breeders had difficulty feeding their litters and the breed almost came to an end. After the war, the British Blue was crossed with Russian Blues, Persians and domestic cats to keep the breed alive. In 1967 the breed was officially recognised by the American Cat Association and in 1979 by the International Cat Association.


The British Shorthair is generally a robust, muscular medium to large cat. Not as big as a Maine Coon, but almost as heavy. Thanks to their muscular build, males can weigh up to 7 kilograms. Females are slightly smaller, weighing up to about 5 kilograms.

The coat of the Briton is, as the name suggests, short. Because of the short, thick coat this cat feels super soft. They do not say for nothing that this cat is “the Teddy bear among the cat breeds”. Thanks to the relatively short ears, round snout and large characteristic eyes, it is hard not to cuddle this bear.

Colours and patterns

Although the ‘British Blue’ originally had a blue-grey coat, the breed can now be found in a lot of different colours and patterns. However, the combination of grey coat and orange eyes is the most common variant.

– Full Colour: British Shorthairs come in a wide variety of solid colours. Grey or blue is the most common colour because this was the original colour of the breed. Nowadays they can also be found in the colours lilac, chocolate, cinnamon cream, black, red and white.

– Eyes: This cat breed has a deep yellow/orange to copper eye colour. White variants often have blue eyes. Some Britons even have two different eye colours!

– Tortie: Also called tortoiseshell cats, these cats have two different colours spread all over the coat. The most common combinations are black and red, blue and cream, chocolate and red, cinnamon and red, and lilac and cream.

– Tabby: Tabby British Shorthairs also come in a rainbow of colours. Often these cats can be recognised by some patterns in their coat. Especially an M-like shape and rings at the end of the tail are common in tabby cats.

– Color Points: These cats are easily recognized because of a concentrated amount of colour in certain areas, such as the muzzle and the tips of the paws.

Katten op krabpalen
Left: @Lily_thecupcake making optimal use of her Maine 90 scratching post– Right: The Rebels of @Tatzenontour chilling on our Scenic View 175


Britons are generally a less active cat breed. Although this breed is more likely to nap on the floor rather than on top of the fridge, they can also go on a rampage. Thanks to their muscular bodies, this athlete is capable of bursts of energy. Only to end up on your lap again. These cats are often calm and quiet, but they do love to play with their owners. The British Shorthair can entertain itself well when no one is at home, but demands a big cuddle and active playtime every day.

These Rebels are not the most difficult, and often get along well with other cats, dogs and family members. Especially if they are well socialised from an early age. If you socialise them well with other people as a kitten, this sweet cat will quickly get used to company.

It is a lot of fun to drag this cat everywhere you go, but in general these cats don’t like to be picked up and held all day long, like Ragdolls for example. A British Shorthair is sweet and social, without being overly affectionate.


Thanks to its short, dense coat, these cats do not need to be brushed as often as long-haired breeds such as Norwegian Forest Cats and British Longhairs. Brushing once a week with a soft ‘slicker brush’ is enough to remove dead hairs and to spread the natural oil of the coat. This cat is shedding in the spring and autumn, so it needs to be brushed more often at that time. Furthermore, this breed needs the same kind of care as most cats. Check your cat’s ears, eyes and paws regularly for infections or inflammations. Make sure your cat has a clean litter box (or several) with good cat litter, and make sure your cat gets clean water every day.

Because this cat has a very ’round’ appearance, it easily appears overweight. Pay attention to what you feed the Bsh and dispense the food accurately. This will help prevent an underweight or overweight cat. It won’t hurt to have this teddy bear weighed from time to time, as with any other cat.

Twee schattige kittens

Diseases and disorders

Cats, like people, can have hereditary diseases. Always get your British Shorthair from a licensed breeder (or shelter). A health guarantee from the shelter or breeder is a must, as well as that the parents of the kittens are healthy.

But don’t worry, the British Shorthair is a relatively healthy breed. They live to be 13 years old on average, but some lucky ones even live to be 20. But like any cat breed, there are things to watch out for. These cats often suffer from heart diseases when they get older. HCM is the most common. This causes the muscles of the heart to thicken, which can have various serious consequences. Do not adopt kittens whose parents have not been tested for this disease. 

It is very nice to pamper your cat, but do not make it overweight. A healthy diet, enough interaction and a yearly check up at the vet is the absolute minimum to keep an average cat healthy. It is very important to educate yourself before adopting a new family member.

British Shorthair – Trivia

1. Shrek’s Puss in Boots is considered by many to be a British Shorthair, despite his Spanish accent.

2. Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland, illustrated the famous purple cat ‘The Cheshire Katze’ after seeing a British Shorthair.

3. The famous Cheezburger Cat is a British Shorthair (disclaimer: don’t feed your cat cheeseburgers 😉 ).

4. The loudest purr in the world came from a British Shorthair named Smokey in 2011. At 67.7 decibels, this loud cat spun as loud as a lawnmower. This record was closely broken in 2015 by another cat with 0.1 decibels.

Katten memes
Famous British Shorthairs: 1. Puss in Boots – 2. The Cheshire Cat – 3. Cheezburger Cat – 4. Smokey

Disclaimer: Petrebels is not a veterinarian or behavioural expert: all content, information and tips on this blog are intended to inspire you and are informative in nature. Does your cat have complaints or problems and do you have doubts about its health? If so, always go to the vet or a behaviorist.

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Katten slapen gemiddeld 16 uur per dag en doen dat vol overgave: er wordt gerekt, gestrekt en schaamteloos gegaapt. Heerlijk. De Luie Rebel is er wel héél goed in. Die laat rennen en spelen liever aan een ander over en ploft met gemak overal neer voor een overheerlijk dutje. Maar het liefst ligt deze Rebel in een lekker zacht mandje of hangmatje.

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Katten hebben van nature de behoefte om hun nagels te scherpen. Ze markeren daarmee hun territorium en worden er ontspannen en blij van. De Krabbel Rebel weet van geen ophouden als het om krabbelen gaat. Maak van je huis daarom een feestje voor deze Rebel en zet één (of meer) goede krabpalen neer.

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Buitenkatten houden van hun vrijheid en van avontuur. Ze verstoppen zich vaak in struiken en houden de hele buurt in de gaten. Ze kunnen zich uren vermaken met rondvliegende insecten en nemen – als het even meezit – een echte muis voor je mee naar huis. De Outdoor Rebel komt thuis om gezellig met de baasjes te kroelen en rustig te eten. En stelt het op prijs als er een fijn plekje is om uit te rusten voor het volgende avontuur.

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Sommige katten blijven liever binnen. Of het baasje wil dit graag. Indoor Rebels vinden het heerlijk om naar buiten te kijken – naar al het spannends wat zich daar afspeelt. Je maakt deze katten blij door het binnen net zo spannend te maken als buiten. Prikkel hun instincten met speeltjes en krabmeubels waar ze lekker in kunnen klimmen, want dan blijven ze gelukkig en gezond.

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Cats sleep up to 16 hours a day with full commitment: lots of stretching and shameless yawning… Mhmm, delicious. The lazy Rebel masters this trait like no other and prefers to leave the running and playing to someone else. This lazy napper is able to lie down anywhere to take a well-deserved rest, but they prefer a nice and soft hammock or basket.

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Cats naturally have the need to sharpen their nails. This way they mark their territory. It also makes them relaxed and happy. The scratching Rebel will never stop when it comes to this. Transform your house into a “scratching paradise” for this Rebel and supply it with one or several good cat trees.

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Outdoor cats love adventure and freedom. They often hide in bushes to keep an eye on their surroundings. They can entertain themselves for hours with bugs flying around and they might even take home a real mouse for you! The outdoor Rebel will come home to cuddle with its owner and to eat peacefully. This adventurer would appreciate it if there is a nice spot in your house to rest before the next adventure.

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Some cats prefer to stay inside, this can also be a decision made by the owner. Indoor Rebels enjoy watching the outside world – and everything exciting that happens there. You can make these cats happy by making the indoor world just as exciting as the outdoor world. Stimulate their senses with toys and cat furniture in which they can climb. This way they remain healthy and happy.

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Katzen schlafen durchschnittlich 16 Stunden pro Tag und tun dies voller Hingabe. Sie strecken sich, dehnen sich und gähnen unverhohlen. Herrlich! Der faule Rebell ist sehr gut darin. Er überlässt das Toben und Spielen am liebsten jemand anderem und macht stattdessen lieber ein kleines Nickerchen. Am liebsten bevorzugt dieser Schläfer ein weiches Sofa oder ein gepolsterte Liegefläche.

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Katzen haben von Natur aus das Bedürfnis, ihre Nägel zu schärfen. Damit markieren sie zum einen ihr Territorium und verhindern zum anderen, dass die Nägel zu lang werden und einwachsen. Kratzen, wetzen und schärfen macht sie entspannt und glücklich. Der Kratz-Rebell kennt dann auch kein Halten mehr, wenn es ums Wetzen und Kratzen geht. Mach dein Zuhause also zu einer Partyzone für diesen Rebellen und stelle einen (oder mehrere) gute Kratzbäume mit viel Wetzmöglichkeiten auf.

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Freigängerkatzen lieben die Freiheit und das Abenteuer. Oft verstecken sie sich im Gebüsch und behalten die ganze Nachbarschaft im Auge. Sie können sich stundenlang mit fliegenden Insekten vergnügen, streunen herum und bringen im schlimmsten Fall eine Maus als Geschenk mit nach Hause. Der Outdoor-Rebell kommt nur nach Hause, um mit den Besitzern eventuell zu kuscheln und sich sein Fressen servieren zu lassen. Und er schätzt es über alle Maßen, wenn er einen schönen, gemütlichen Platz am liebsten auf einem Kratzbaum zum Ausruhen für das nächste Abenteuer angeboten bekommt.

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Einige Katzen sind reine Indoor-Rebellen. Entweder, weil sie es vorziehen in einem warmen und gefahrlosen Zuhause zu leben oder weil der Besitzer dies so möchte. Indoor-Rebellen lieben es nach draußen zu schauen – und das aufregende Leben draußen aus sicherer Entfernung zu beobachten. Diese Katzen sind glücklich, wenn man drinnen die gleichen Abenteuer simuliert, die sie draußen beobachten können. Stimuliere deren Instinkte mit Spielzeug und Kratzmöbeln, in denen sie herumklettern und toben können, damit sie gesund, agil und glücklich bleiben.

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