Choosing a British Shorthair

Selecting a Cat Breed >

Brits enjoy following their chosen humans from room to room to keep an eye on all activities. They also enjoy interactive games with their human friends, but they relish their quiet time, too. Unlike some breeds that crave constant attention, Brits enjoy being by themselves on occasion. This makes them good choices for folks who must spend part of the day away from home.

One thing Brits are not, however, is lap cats, or cats that enjoy being picked up. They’d much rather sit beside you, or curl up at your feet, than cuddle on your lap. When picked up they stiffen like fur-covered boards, legs stretched stiffly out and heads turned resolutely away until you give in and put them down.


Grooming a British shorthair is easy. Because of the Brit’s dense undercoat, a good once a week combing for five to ten minutes with a good quality steel comb is recommended. However, breeders recommend daily grooming during the spring and fall shedding seasons to keep your Brit looking beautiful and avoid a blanket of hair on everything you own. Bathing your Brit is not needed unless you plan to show.


Pet quality typically runs $400 to $600, while breeder/show quality costs between $800 and $1,500, sometimes more or less depending upon the breeder, bloodline, location, gender, and color and pattern. Since numbers are limited, most Brits are sold through waiting lists.

Association Acceptance

The British shorthair is accepted for championship by the following North American cat associations:


  • American Association of Cat Enthusiasts (AACE)
  • American Cat Association (ACA)
  • American Cat Fancier’s Association (ACFA)
  • Canadian Cat Association (CCA)
  • Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA)
  • Cat Fanciers’ Federation (CFF)
  • National Cat Fanciers’ Association (NCFA)
  • The International Cat Association (TICA)
  • United Feline Organization (UFO)

Special Notes

Today’s Brit, like its alley cat ancestors, is a healthy, hardy breed. The only significant problem is fading kitten syndrome caused by blood type incompatibility. In the random-bred domestic cat population this is not often a problem, since type B is so rare (less than 10 percent of American domestic cats have type B blood). However, some pedigreed breeds like the British shorthair have higher percentages of B blood type. Nearly 50 percent of American Brits have type B. Type B blood queens bred to type A blood toms can produce both type B and type A kittens. The kittens with type A blood are born apparently healthy but then fade rapidly and die 24 to 72 hours after birth. Breeders have their cats typed to prevent mating cats of differing blood types. Don’t worry, by the time you pick up your kitten all danger of this syndrome has passed.



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