British Shorthair kittens – Photo copyright Helmi Flick

This is another page in the cat facts for kids series. The British Shorthair is a popular breed of cat. Today (2012), for a British Shorthair cat to be a cat breed his parents and grandparents and so on have to be British Shorthairs as well. Also all the names of the cats in the family need to be written up in a book or computer. The people who do this are called “cat fanciers” and they belong to a club. There are quite a few cat clubs. A famous cat club is the Cat Fanciers’ Association which is in America. They make sure that British Shorthair cats really are what people say they are.

Cats were brought to Britain by the Romans in about AD 200 (200 years after the birth of Christ). Romans were citizens of the Roman Empire. The center of the Roman Empire was Rome in Italy, which is marked on the map on this page. Great Britain is also marked on the map.

AD 200 is about 1,800 years ago. From that time, long ago, the cats that the Romans brought with them evolved (changed) naturally into British Shorthair cats. This means that people were not involved. During this time British cats made kittens and these kittens made more kittens. These cats were often used as working cats to catch mice and rats to protect the grain that was grown by the Romans and later on by British people. Because of what happened the British Shorthair is called a “natural” cat breed.

British Shorthair Facts For Kids. Credits: Globe: Wikimedia Commons. Jimmy is in the public domain. Ralph (2 pictures – the tabby cat), Nox and Sky (the other modern British Shorthairs, black and grey) are all copyright Helmi Flick. Collage by Michael at PoC.

Things changed in about 1870, which for people living in 2012 is 142 years ago. In about 1870, some people in England, Great Britain, thought that as they liked the British Shorthair, they would get involved. They started to make sure that British Shorthair cats that they really liked mated with other cats they liked and in doing that, and writing down everything that they did, they turned the moggie British Shorthair into a more glamorous show cat and a cat breed. This was the beginning of the cat breed called the British Shorthair. The first time this cat breed was shown to people in a cat show was in 1871 in London. In 1887 British people who loved cats formed a group called the National Cat Club and they listed all the names of the cats of the all the cat breeds that they thought deserved to be listed, including the British Shorthair.

One of the first show cats of this cat breed was Jimmy who you can see in the picture. He was a silver tabby cat. He was a champion show cat and people say that all the silver tabby American Shorthair cats come from Jimmy’s kittens. You can see that there is a connection between the British Shorthair and the American Shorthair. At one time they were probably the same cat. That is another story.

Since those early days in England, Great Britain, many people in countries other than England have been involved in making sure the British Shorthair is a very nice looking cat. The most important of these is America.

Nowadays this cat breed has become very popular. This is because this cat has a nice easy going character and a gorgeous coat. The coat is very thick. It is probably the best coat of all the cat breeds to stroke as it is silky soft.

This cat breed has lots of different types of coat. There is one type of British Shorthair coat that is very well known and popular. These are cats with gray fur. They are called “British Blues” because the fur looks a bit blue although it is grey. The cat in the picture on this page at the bottom of the picture is “Sky” (named after a blue sky) because her fur is gray. Also the kittens at the top of the page – the first and last kittens in the line up – are British Blues.

The British Shorthair has a sturdy looking body and a very quiet voice. Sometimes no sound comes out of the mouth. The voice is so quiet that it is silent.

For adults: British Shorthair Cat.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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