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24 Fun Facts about British Shorthair Cats!

If you’re looking for a feline friend that is known for its calm disposition, its love of humans and other animals, an excellent constitution and long life-span - look no further than the British Shorthair cat!

Let’s look at 25 Fun Facts about British Shorthair cats!

Their History

1. Cats are believed to have been brought to Britain by the Romans and used to keep the rodent population in check, and by the 1800s street moggies had become strong, hardy and self-sufficient.

2. Harrison William Weir RI (5 May 1824 – 3 January 1906), who was known as "The Father of the Cat Fancy", took the 'humble' street cat and developed the British Shorthair breed by selecting the best examples he could find in a breeding program.

3. As a result, British Shorthairs are sometimes considered the first cat of the cat fancy! 

4. He once wrote “My first love will always be for the shorthaired domestic cat”.

5. He organized the first cat show in England, at Crystal Palace, London, in July 1871 and he and his brother, John Jenner Weir, both served as judges at the show. 

6. A 14-year-old female blue tabby Shorthair owned by Weir, won ‘Best in Show’ at the first show! 

British shorthair cat laying on ground

The Appearance of the British Shorthair

7. There are around 30 different colours and patterns of the British Shorthair cat.

8. The popular blue colour is often what comes to people’s minds but they can also be white, black, red – or they can have tabby or tortoiseshell patterns

9. Their coat is thick and dense, but easy to groom because it is also short. They need to be groomed regularly to keep them looking beautiful!

10. Their coat is often described as plush rather than fluffy because they don’t have an undercoat.

11. Some like to think of them as ‘teddy-bear’ cats as they have chubby cheeks and large round eyes!

12. They can be described as ‘stocky’, medium-large cats with a powerful build.

Their Demeanour

13. The British Shorthair are easy-going, mellow cats that like to build a bond with their owner.

14. They are well-mannered, calm, cool, and collected - and fiercely loyal.

15. Their tolerant nature makes them great companions for families with young children and other pets. If they feel unsettled in any way, they’ll simply remove themselves and go somewhere else.

16. They make great companions, as they enjoy ‘being around’ their family, although they don’t always like to be picked up and are not always keen to sit on your lap.

17. Although they are content just lazing around, they do enjoy play times. It’s therefore important to encourage them to be active by playing games with them. And to keep them mentally astute, it’s good to make sure some of their toys are interactive.

18. As their ancestors were hunters, the British Shorthair adores playing fetch or chasing down a catnip-filled mouse.

Woman holding grey/blue British Shorthair cat

Famous British Shorthair Cats

19. The British Shorthair is remarkably photogenic;  there are over 4.7 million posts tagged with #britishshorthair on Instagram!

20. Puss in Boots’ and the ‘Cheshire Cat’ in Alice in Wonderland are thought to have been based on British Shorthairs! 

21. Arlene, Garfield’s ‘girlfriend’, is a British Blue in the film ‘Garfield: The Movie’

22. Although Sam Smith, the British pop singer, describes themself as a dog person, they do also have a British Shorthair cat – although they say their feline friend (named Henry) acts “like a dog”.

23. Hong Kong’s most well known and adorable cat is Tsim Tung Brother Cream, a famous British Shorthair.  He was a feline employee at a convenience store in Hong Kong but soon became a national celebrity in 2012 after he went missing. He has a sister named Sister Cream.

24. Between 2011 and 2014, Smokey – a tortoiseshell British Shorthair – was the cat with the world’s loudest purr at 67.7 decibels. After he passed away in 2014, another white Shorthaired rescue cat, Merlin, has taken the record with a purr recorded at 67.8 decibels! Merlin lives in the UK.


Like all cats, the British Shorthairs may need extra support through everyday life. Using FELIWAY can help in many different ways:

  • FELIWAY Optimum is the best FELIWAY solution to help solve all common signs of stress for enhanced serenity in cats that can be caused by changes in their environment, such as moving house, visitors, noise or travel to the vet.
  • Both products are clinically proven and veterinary recommended.

Large grey British Shorthair cat laying on wicker stool

Health Facts to Keep in Mind

The British Shorthair can be prone to 2 hereditary health problems

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) where the heart muscle becomes thickened
  • Polycystic kidney disease (cysts present in the kidney from birth that gradually increase in size – mostly bred out of lines but worth checking with the breeders) 

Always check with the breeder for information about the screening carried out on the British Shorthair parents and have your cat checked out regularly by your vet.

British Shorthair vs Russian Blue?

Although these two breeds are very similar in appearance, there are some subtle differences to be aware of:

  • While Russian Blue cats are always blue, British Shorthair cats can be many different colours.
  • Eye colour is a key differentiator; the British Shorthair has copper orange eyes, whereas Russian Blue cats are born with gold in their eyes, which changes to green as they mature
  • British Shorthair cats can also be slightly taller and heavier than the Russian Blue

Whether you are a proud to call a British Shorthair your cat, or love spending time with a Russian Blue, we think you’ll agree that they are both beautiful cats!

Grey British Shorthair cat laying on side staring with big orange eyes

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