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Domestic Shorthair Cat

Published on 1 Feb 2021

Domestic shorthair cat sitting on a chair in a calm and relaxed position

Moggies, housecats, alley cats, domestic shorthair. Despite these unceremonious names, the domestic shorthair is the most popular cat in Australia.

The domestic shorthair isn’t really an official breed, rather refers to short-haired cats of mixed ancestry. Cats lived alongside humans around 8000 years ago in southwest Asia and Egypt around 1500 B.C. They were likely attracted to the rodents who frequented human stores of food like grains.  It wasn’t until the 18th century that cats started to take on the colours of domestic cats we know today. By the 19th century people started selectively breeding cats. 

They have a wide range of colours, including black, black and white (tuxedo), tabby, tortoiseshell, ginger, blue, calico and mixtures of colours. Their eye colour also ranges from yellow, to green or blue. Their size ranges from around 4kg for a small female, up to around 7.5kg for a large male. The domestic shorthair is generally a long-lived cat, up to around 20 years in some cases. The oldest insured domestic shorthair cat is currently 18! (according to PetSure data)

Cat Breed Facts & Characteristics


Egypt, 18th century 


20 to 30cms, 4 to 7.5 kgs


Wide range of colouring

Life expectancy

15 to 20 Years


Soft and short, minimal grooming required 


Individual personalities 

Exercise requirements

Medium, enjoy playing. May become obese if don’t receive enough exercise

Best suited for 

Singles, Couples, families, elderly 

Apartment Friendly



Like us, they have varied personalities. This is part of their charm and means there is likely a domestic short haired cat to suit many different types of households. Some cats may be shy, and others may be rambunctious. In either case, it is important to encourage play with your domestic shorthair cat to help keep them fit and 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. 


As the name suggests the domestic shorthair (DSH) has a short soft coat. They don’t need a lot of grooming, but gentle, regular brushing helps to remove shedding fur as well as helps you to bond with your cat. A cat grooming glove is a great option for your Domestic 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 Domestic Shorthair, select a premium food appropriate to your cats age and life stage. Domestic Shorthair cats can sometimes have urinary tract and gastrointestinal issues. Consider a sensitive stomach food or a food that promotes urinary tract health. Ensure that you follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet's size. Domestic Shorthair cats are prone to overeating and obesity which can in turn lead to other serious illness such as diabetes. Always ensure your cat has a constant supply of fresh water available and consider providing them with a water fountain, as many cats prefer moving water.

domestic Shorthair cat lying in a basket

Common Health Concerns 

Most common pet insurance claims for this breed, (PetSure data, 2020*)

RankConditionAverage cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)
Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)
1Traumatic accidents, including cat bite abscess and broken bones$391$7,452
2Urinary tract problems, including kidney disease and Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)$427$5,116
3Gastrointestinal problems, including colitis and enteritis $292$4,078
4Skin conditions, including allergic skin disease, and ringworm$179$2,010

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.

As accidents and traumatic injuries rank in the first position for both the most common claims it may be possible to help avoid the risk of these types of injuries by keeping your feline friend indoors or in a suitable cat friendly enclosure. This can also help them to avoid meeting Australia’s venomous snakes.


Domestic Cat 5.jpg

Common names (PetSure data, 2020) 

Most common names

  1. Luna
  2. Milo
  3. Leo
  4. Charlie
  5. Nala
  6. Simba
  7. Coco
  8. Loki
  9. Oreo
  10. Pepper

Most common female names

  1. Luna
  2. Nala
  3. Daisy
  4. Molly
  5. Bella
  6. Mia
  7. Poppy
  8. Coco
  9. Misty
  10. Willow

Most common male names

  1. Leo
  2. Milo
  3. Charlie
  4. Loki
  5. Simba
  6. Ollie
  7. Felix
  8. Max
  9. Oreo
  10. Apollo

Did you know?

A ginger tabby domestic shorthair cat called Orangey is the only cat to have won two Patsy awards. A Patsy award is the animal equivalent of an Oscar award. He won his first Patsy for his role in the 1951 film “Rhubarb”. His second Patsy was for the famous role of “Cat” in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

Where can I get a Domestic Shorthair cat?

Your local animal shelter or rescue organisation is the best place to look for a cat. Take your time and get to know them at the shelter so you find a good match for your family.

Kittens are cute, but don’t forget all the lovely adult cats who are looking for homes as well! 


  1. Cats Domesticated Themselves, Ancient DNA Shows by Casey Smith, June 19, 2017, Accessed on 21 May 2020 
  2. The origins of cats 6 July 2017 Panikam Amer, Accessed on 21 May 2020 
  3. Orangey Biography, Accessed on 21 May 2020 is general insurance issued by the insurer The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd (ABN 78 090 584 473; AFSL 241436) (Hollard); is promoted and distributed by Pet Insurance Pty Ltd (ABN 38 607 160 930; AR 1234944) (PIPL) and PIPL’s authorised distribution partners (including Pet Culture Group Pty Limited ABN: 69 644 613 098; AR 001284860) (PetCulture) and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd (ABN 95 075 949 923; AFSL 420183) (PetSure). PIPL and PetCulture are authorised representatives of PetSure. Any advice provided is general only, has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and may not be right for you. Consequently, before acting on this information, you should consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should obtain and consider the product disclosure statement (PDS) in deciding whether to acquire or continue to hold, Pet Insurance.

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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