Is the British Shorthair prone to depression when left alone?

Is the British Shorthair prone to depression when left alone?

by R

I ‘rescued’ Sasha from a pet store. He was 7 1/2 months old and when he first came home he would hop like a rabbit. I thought something was wrong but after a few days, a chat with the vet and exercise he was fine. Amazing what being in a small cage and lack of movement can do!!! He is fabulous.

A friend told me that the British Shorthair is prone to depression if they are left alone and that I should get another cat to keep him company.

A friend of hers has had two die before they figured this out. I have done some searching and have not found any evidence as well as asked my vet. Has anyone had a similar experience?


Hi… nice to hear from UAE. Of course, I’ll let other people pass on their experiences as well in comments. I can guess what they will say if they want to say it!

You wrote your post from the British Shorthair page of this site so I have presumed that you have adopted a British Shorthair. If that is not the case, what I say still applies equally.

First, though, I am little shocked at what appears to be mistreatment of Sasha by the pet store. You imply that he was kept in a cage for at least several months, maybe more. Not a good start in life. It seems that he had not learned how to use his limbs. Hopping is something a cat does if his forelimbs are defective. Clearly Sasha is healthy but the caging must have been bad for him.

The British Shorthair is a quiet, no no-nonsense cat breed. They are independent and affectionate. I decided that they were the best breed for apartment living.

But they are no different, in my opinion, to any other domestic cat in terms of how they react emotionally to being left alone while their human companion is out working.

Cats in general don’t like being left alone. They like routine and their human companion around. That is why the retired senior citizen is in general the best partner for the domestic cat.

Although Sasha won’t like being left alone it won’t kill her all things being equal. Your friend of a friend who lost two British Shorthairs could not have lost them through being left alone during the day provided they were well cared for in every other way. There must have been some other reason. But see below.

Depression is a symptom of underlying illness. If the illness is undiagnosed a person might come to incorrect conclusions.


British Shorthairs are like all domestic cats. They are essentially solitary animals that have adapted to communal living with people and other cats. The domestic cat has become social and forms bonds with other cats and their human caretaker.

Being alone for long periods is not good but it won’t kill them directly. I would though consider ways of reducing the stresses that might build up if Sasha is left alone. Separation anxiety can occur as well.

Being left alone can lead to stress related illnesses such as cystitis or immune suppression illnesses. If these are neglected that health situation could lead to health problems that might ultimately lead to death. A considerably amount of neglect by the cat’s human caretaker would have to take place, I would have thought.

Try and use your imagination to change your routine to fit into his needs. And I would consider getting another cat. You’ll have to make sure that he or she gets on with Sasha as sometimes there can be difficulties between cats. If that were the case it might only exacerbate the problem.

Hope this helps. These are my personal views based on my knowledge and experience. I respect the views of others.

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Is the British Shorthair prone to depression when left alone?

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Mar 11, 2012
Thank You for your responses NEW
by: R

Thank you Michael, Ruth and Maggie for the replies, they are very helpful as well as reassuring. I want to do the right thing for my cat. I have never had a solo pet before, always a mix of dogs & cats.

Michael thank you for asking if he is a British Short Hair, yes he is. Sorry I was not clear. I absolutely agree with you about the pet store and why I wrote ‘rescued’. I was looking for a kitty, a male orange tabby to be exact, to adopt from a shelter but while shopping for supplies for my new arrival to be I saw him and then and there I knew he was the one for me. One look into those orange eyes contrasted with that rich gray fur and I was a goner! I had never heard of the breed before nor have I purchased a purebred cat. All mine have been rescues and last chance ones at that. Although he did have food, shelter, water and some attention being in the cage for that long was not good. I was mortified when I brought him home and he was hopping. I went straight online and my level of mortification increased as I read about what could be the cause. I was not happy especially since the pet store required a vet check & a healthy stamp of approval prior to me taking him home.

Mar 10, 2012
My thoughts NEW
by: Ruth

I don’t think British shorthairs are any more prone to depression than any other domestic cat.
Any cat left alone for long hours doesn’t have great quality of life unless their caretaker makes it up to them by lots of love and attention when they are at home.
People say but cats are OK alone, they sleep a lot. That’s true but some sleep too long, out of boredom.
A cat doesn’t actually need a feline companion if he has lots of human attention but it’s always nice to see two cats companionably washing each other and playing together.
Your cat is young enough to accept another young cat if you go about it the right way, introducing them slowly, but it’s really up to if you want another cat or not, yourself.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Mar 10, 2012
British Shorthair NEW
by: Maggie

Hi, there’s currently a British Shorthair in the boarding cattery at the shelter I’m volunteering at. A big beautiful Blue boy! He’s not in a pen with any other cats, and he doesn’t seem to show any stressful behaviours. He’s calm and relaxed, but will meow for pats when you walk past his pen. I don’t think that British Shorthairs, as a breed, suffer from depression. Like any cat, I think it comes down to the individual, not the breed. You should be fine having a single British Shorthair, I highly doubt he will become depressed! If the British Shorthair at the boarding cattery can handle being in a completely unfamiliar environment, will different sights, smells, sounds, people, and being able to smell, see and hear other cats, without become the slightest bit stressed, I think your British Shorthair will be fine!

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