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British Shorthair

Published on 1 Feb 2021

British shorthair cat stalking

A solid and easy-going cat, the British Shorthair is a popular companion who enjoys time with their human family. 

The British Shorthair is a pedigree version of the domestic shorthair of Britain.   

They were featured at the first ever cat show in London in 1871 and were a popular cat until World War I when they became scarce. After the war, fanciers made efforts to restore the breed and they were formally recognised in the 1970’s. 

British Shorthairs are a sturdy cat ranging in size from 4 to 7kgs with males being larger. Blue-grey is the most common colour, but they come in a wide range of colours including black, white, cream, red silver, brown, cameo, tortoiseshell, and combinations of these colours.

Cat Breed Facts & Characteristics


Great Britain


4 to 7 kgs, with females being smaller than males


Blue, black, white, cream, brown, cameo, tortoiseshell, and patterns

Life expectancy

14 to 20 years 


Short and dense with no undercoat, sheds, frequent brushing is recommended


Easy going, friendly, doesn’t like being picked up

Exercise requirements


Best suited for 

Many types of households - may be better suited to those without young children

Apartment friendly



The British Shorthair are known for being friendly cats who like to spend time with their human families but aren’t always tolerant of being picked up. This is something to keep in mind when teaching small children how to interact with the British Shorthair. 

A calm disposition means the British Shorthair well suited to apartment living but encouraging play and having plenty of activities for them to do is essential to keep their mind and body healthy. Playing with your cat also strengthens your bond. Be sure to provide your cat with plenty of cat trees and toys to play with and climb on.


They have short, dense fur with no undercoat which sheds. They don’t need a lot of grooming, but gentle, regular brushing helps to remove shedding fur as well as strengthens your bond with your cat. A cat grooming glove is a great option for your British Shorthair cat. You may not notice your cat scratching like you would with a dog, but the cat flea "Ctenocephalides felis" is the most common flea found on both dogs and cats. So, make sure your kitty is on flea and tick control all year round to prevent these nasty parasites.


When choosing a food for your British shorthair, select a premium food appropriate to your cats age and life stage. As British shorthair cats can have digestive problems, consider foods for sensitive stomachs. 

Ensure that you follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet's size to help avoid obesity and ensure your fur baby gets appropriate nutrition. 

Always ensure your British shorthair has a constant supply of fresh water available, and consider providing them with a water fountain, as many cats prefer drinking moving water.

British Shorthair Cat sitting on mud.

Common health concerns

The five most common reasons for a British Shorthair to visit the vet (excluding routine care visits) according to PetSure data (from 2019) include digestive upsets, skin and ear infections, traumatic accidents and arthritis. It may be possible to lower the risk of your British Shorthair having a traumatic accident by keeping them indoors or in a cat safe enclosure. 

RankConditionAverage cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)
Highest cost for single treatment
(highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)
1Gastrointestinal Conditions (including tummy upsets) $262$1,539
2Eye Condition $190$3,007
3Ear Condition$215$3,471
4Traumatic accident$480$5,560

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

Most popular British Shorthair names

  1. Luna
  2. Oreo
  3. Max
  4. Bella
  5. Blue
  6. Bruce
  7. Little
  8. Louis 
  9. Momo
  10. Mr

Most popular female names  

  1. Luna
  2. Bella
  3. Blu
  4. Cleo
  5. Coco
  6. Lucy
  7. Molly
  8. Nero
  9. Phoebe
  10. Sophie

Most popular male names

  1. Max
  2. Oreo
  3. Bruce
  4. Little
  5. Louis
  6. Momo
  7. Mr
  8. Oliver
  9. Shadow
  10. Alfie

Did you know?

The original illustrations of the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s famous Alice in in Wonderland book is thought to have been inspired by a British Shorthair cat when drawn by illustrator John Tenniel. 

British Shorthair sleeping.jpg

British Shorthair FAQs

How long does a British Shorthair cat live?

The British Shorthair breed lives around 14 to 20 years and have been known to live comfortably with lots of exercise, healthy diet and annual medical checkups.

Do British Shorthair cats shed a lot?

Compared to other indoor breeds, British Shorthair cats do not shed excessively even during shedding season. They also do not have an undercoat which reduces shed and makes cleaning up easy.

How much are British Shorthair cats?

In Australia, registered breeders usually price British Shorthair cats around $1200 to $2000 and unregistered breeders ask around $300 to $700 for the hardy breed.

Are British Shorthair cats friendly?

British Shorthair cats are independent and enjoy having space. Though they are known to adore their human partners, the hardy breed will not stay around long in laps rather they will show their love by following you room to room, being playful with guests and staying loyal to your company.

What to feed British Shorthair kittens?

A general guideline to keep most cat breeds purring happily is to have them on a high-quality dry feed mixed with the occasional wet feed. British Shorthair cats are easy to take care of and do not require specialty foods to keep their health in check.

Where can I get a British Shorthair cat? 

Your local animal shelter or rescue organisation is the best place to look for a cat as shelters generally have many cats looking for loving homes. It may also be possible to find a British Shorthair through a breed specific rescue organisation. 


  1. Wikipedia, British Shorthair, accessed on 21/10/2020
  2., British Shorthair, accessed on 21/10/2020
  3. Playful Kitty, Who was the Cheshire Cat? 2017, accessed on 21/10/2020
  4. VetStreet, British Shorthair, accessed on 21/10/20

Terms, conditions, waiting periods, limits and exclusions apply. is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473, AFSL 241436, is arranged and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 95 075 949 923, AFSL 420183 (PetSure) and is promoted and distributed by PetSure’s Authorised Representatives (AR) Pet Insurance Pty Ltd ABN 38 607 160 930, AR 1234944 and Pet Culture Pty Ltd ABN 69 644 613 098, AR 001284860. Any advice provided is general only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to ensure this product meets your needs before purchasing. PDS and Target Market Determination available at .

Kylie Mitchell

Kylie Mitchell


Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie Mitchell's Pets

  • MeekaMeeka
  • Bei BeiBei Bei
  • NoahNoah

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