British Shorthair adult in black and white

British Shorthair

The British Shorthair is known to be the inspiration for the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”.

About the British shorthair

British Shorthairs are intelligent, affectionate and without a temperamental side. They are tolerant of children and dogs, making them excellent family cats.

While they like to be around their owners, they prefer to keep their feet on the ground and will not be comfortable when carried around. They are quite content with their own company, and able to amuse themselves if they are left alone in the home.

Source: key facts and characteristics sourced from World Cat Congress (WCC)

Breed specifics

United Kingdom
Short coat
Size category
Avg life expectancy
14–20 years

Loyal / Affectionate / Quiet / Intelligent

Key facts

  • Needs moderate grooming
  • Suited to indoor and outdoor life
  • Low maintenance
British Shorthair adult in black and white

Origins of the breed

It is believed that the British Shorthair is descended from Roman cats which were brought to the British Isles by the Romans. These cats would probably have interbred with the indigenous cats on the island and continued to be house pets, which were valued for their ability to catch rodents.

During the 19th century in England, interest in pedigree cats flourished and breeders sought to have their domestic cat recognised in its own right. These cats were first shown at the Crystal Palace, in London, in 1871. At this time, they were also bred with Persians.

A British Shorthair's life story

Find out how to care for the British Shorthair in each stage of its life.

Up to 2 years

British Shorthair kitten

British Shorthair kittens are playful and full of energy, enjoying lots of games with their owners. This breed develops relatively slowly, not reaching full maturity until at least two years old.

Their quiet and calm nature means they will quickly adapt to their new home and form strong bonds with their human family.

Once formed, this strong bond will mean that British Shorthairs will want to be where their owners are. They will often sit beside them or follow closely behind as they move around the home.

British Shorthair kitten standing and stretching

From 2 years

British Shorthair adult

When fully grown, the British Shorthair is a powerfully built cat, with strong legs and a broad chest. Despite their firm expressions, British Shorthairs are loyal and friendly companions to all in the home.

6 kg - 9 kg Weight
4 kg - 6 kg Weight
British Shorthair adult sitting down


The British Shorthair’s short coat is dense and plush and doesn’t lie flat on their body. A weekly brush with a wire-toothed comb is recommended to keep your adult British Shorthair’s coat healthy and remove any loose hairs.

British Shorthair health and ageing

British Shorthairs are known for their loyal and affectionate nature which lasts into old age. That being said, their health and nutritional needs will change as they grow older. It is a good idea to arrange regular check-ups with a vet at this stage, as they will be able to advise on any nutritional changes or health problems that ageing may bring.

The British Shorthair’s powerful, sturdy body means that they demand a great deal more from their joints than a more lightweight cat. It can be easy for this weight to cause stress on the British Shorthair’s joints or for them to develop joint disorders. 

One of the best ways to prevent or combat this problem is through weight management. This can be achieved through balanced diet, adapted food portions and plenty of exercise.

British Shorthair senior lying down

A healthy start to life

Kittenhood is a time of huge physical and behavioural change, but is also a steep learning curve for new owners. Find out how you can provide your kitten with the best start in life so they develop into strong, healthy cats.

Learn more
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Health advice for your cat

Get advice and information on how to provide the best care for your cat at every stage of life.

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