Why are British Shorthairs so cute?

British Shorthairs are cute because they are bred to be cute; baby-like in fact. If you read the breed standard from the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA – the premier cat association in America) you will see right away why this cat breed is cute.

Young British Shorthair
Young British Shorthair. Photo: atquintessence

Although cuteness is a subjective concept, people normally regard soft, young, vulnerable, rounded, fluffy objects as being cute. The CFA breed standard for the British Shorthair uses the word “round” quite a lot. And, as mentioned, roundness equates to cuteness. Think about a baby’s face. It is very round with big, wide eyes. Babies are very vulnerable. Cat breeders want buyers to relate to their new cat as a baby. Babies are attractive. Babies provoke the maternal and paternal instincts. You warm to something which is cute. You want to hold an object that is cute and touch it and pet it. I won’t go on but the point is obvious.

So let’s look at the CFA breed standard. The biggest aspect of cuteness with respect to this breed is the head and face. And the British Shorthair’s face should be “round and massive. Round face with round underlying bone structure well set on a short thick neck. The forehead should be rounded with a slight flat plane on the top of the head. The forehead should not slope”.

Big British Shorthair cat and sleeping baby
Big British Shorthair cat and sleeping baby. Image: Pinterest (cleaned up).

You get the message? Lots of round surfaces which in male cats if you add in the jowls you get a lot of cuteness. In Russia they breed the male cats with very strong jowls. This adds to the roundness and almost gives the appearance of a hamster. Hamsters are cute as well!

Enormous British Shorthair made in Russia
Enormous blue British Shorthair made in Russia. Picture: the cattery.

The general appearance of the British Shorthair should be compact. The legs should be short to medium (short legs makes the cat more compact too). The coat should be dense and woolly. Once again we have the impression of a ball of dense fluffy fur which is great to touch. One of the big plus points of this cat breed is that their fur is dense and it feels great to gently push your fingers through it. That adds to the cuteness. The tactile aspect of this cat breed matches it’s physical appearance.

The eyes should be – you guessed it – round and large. What does that remind you of? A baby, is the answer. The British Shorthair is a feline version of a big, bouncing human baby with dense fur. That’s why it is cute.

British Longhair

A breed which is much less well known is the British Longhair. You could argue that this breed is even more acute. I think it is a prettier breed.

British Longhair Robyn
British Longhair Robyn. Photo by Helmi Flick.

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British Shorthair Cat

british shorthair cat

 
Earl Grey © Helmi Flick

These are thumbnails. If you click on the image you are taken to a larger image.
British Shorthair
British Shorthair
British Shorthair
british shorthair

  

Photos in the above group of Earl Grey copyright © Helmi Flick

For visitors who live abroad and who are unsure, Earl Grey is a popular English tea. The blue coat is the classic Brit. SH look. See also Grey cat breeds (new window).

Introduction

Unsterilised Blue British Shorthair made in the Philippines showing off his attributes
Unsterilised Blue British Shorthair made in the Philippines showing off his attributes unashamedly. Photo and breeder: Purramore Cattery.

It could be said that the British Shorthair Cat is as natural a breed as is possible today in that all registered breeds are now subject to human intervention. The breed originates from the British Domestic Shorthair or British Moggie, which has an extremely long history. Throughout its early history this was “the working cat of Great Britain”2. The American Shorthair is the USA equivalent and is founded upon the Brit. SH. The founder of the cat fancy, Harrison Weir, bred British Blues3.

Female British Shorthair kitten bred in Russia by the Diabrimaris Cattery
Female British Shorthair kitten bred in Russia by the Diabrimaris Cattery

A number of cat breeds are mutated “British Shorthair cats”; although before the cat fancy started, they were thought of as simply “cats”, on farms and streets. An example is the Selkirk Rex, the mutated gene making the fur curly and crinkly. Through selective breeding from the late 1800s the Moggie was transformed into a recognized breed; the British Shorthair. This is very definitely my kind of cat. Helmi Flick loves ’em too (see Sky and Nox below).

The outstanding features are a quiet voice and a plush dense coat to combat the typical English weather and a semi-cobby body type. This is probably the most pleasurable of all purebred cats to stroke because of the feel of the coat! This breed has been described as the “teddy bear of the cat fancy”2. See also the British Longhair Cat, a stupendous cat that trumps the Persian!

White British Shorthair kitten male from Russia
White British Shorthair kitten male from Russia. Photo: Альбина Шконда
питомник британских кошек Golden Leris
nursery Golden Leris. WCF.

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Is the British Shorthair prone to depression when left alone?

Is the British Shorthair prone to depression when left alone?

by R
(UAE)

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?

R


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.

Conclusion

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
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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
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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
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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!


Ascot, Here We Come!

Ascot, Here We Come!

by Barbara Kayser
(Philadelphia, Pa., USA)

My cats are Tuppence, an eight year old blue BS female, and Eric the Red, a six month old rescued street urchin.

I was sitting and reading when I suddenly heard the thunder of paws, turned, and saw Tup running, flat out like a racehorse, with Eric on her back like a jockey, needing only a whip to complete the performance.

It was one of the funniest sights I have ever seen, and before I could pick up my camera, it was over!

I adopted Eric to give Tup a companion and some exercise. He certainly does his job well!

Barbara


Hi Barbara… thanks for visiting. Your story conjures up a unique image in my mind.

I have never heard or seen this before. I would not expect you or anyone else to get the picture. It must have been a fleeting moment.

However, if by some chance you had been able to get a piece of video, you’d have had a hit on YouTube.

Michael

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Ascot, Here We Come!

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Feb 06, 2012
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I loved reading this
by: Ruth

I loved reading about Tup and Eric, I could just picture that jockey lol
Two cats can have so much fun together and get excercise too.
Our two are 10 years old now and still have their mad half hour, Jo’s favorite trick is hiding behind a door and springing out when Walt comes innocently by. That sets them off trundling all over the house playing chasey and never fails to make us laugh.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Russian British Shorthair Cat

by Ridolina
(Moscow, Russia)

Ch. Bars Ridolina BRIa

Ch. Bars Ridolina BRIa

Ch. Bars Ridolina BRIa Ch. Bars Ridolina BRIa Ch. Bars Ridolina BRIa Ch. Bars Ridolina BRIa

I love the British Shorthair! I love them for their beauty, charm, strength and grace. They have a wonderful temperament and are self-sufficient.

Their thick plush coat is simply mesmerizing. The are special cats. The Brit SH is muscular and compact with a massive round head, a bull's neck, fat cheeks, large round eyes... Sweet buns!

I love you!

Ridolina


Hi... thanks for visiting again. I changed the title because I am interested in the difference between your cats and the Brit SHs that I have met.

I have met and played with the British Shorthair over about 20 days when I visited Helmi Flick in the USA. She has two British Shorthair cats, Sky and Nox.

The coat is amazingly plush. They were very quiet and had a silent voice.

What I have noticed in your photographs, is that the American British Shorthair looks different to the Russian British Shorthair if the cat that you are showing me is typical of Russian British Shorthairs.


Improved image quality of photo above. Although the color balance is too blue it seems to me.

One noticeable difference is the cheeks. Your cat has very large cheeks. They look a little bit exaggerated. You mention them in your short article. Is this part of the breed standard in Russia?

The facial appearance of the American Brit SH appears to be slightly more square with a slightly flatter face that is less rounded. The US Brit SH has a face that is slightly flat. It is rather bony.

Please tell me why there is a difference. Are your cats typical of Russian British Shorthairs?

Here is a picture of A USA Brit SH by Helmi Flick:


Photo copyright Helmi Flick of a blue British Shorthair photographed in the United States. His name is "Earl Grey" after the tea.

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Russian British Shorthair Cat

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Nov 28, 2011
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Variety of rock types in the British breed of cats disturbing for many.
by: Ridolina

Thank you for your comment. You raised a very interesting topic. Variety of rock types in the British breed of cats disturbing for many. Earl Grey - a girl or a boy? The huge cheeks and head of a large size - it's sex characteristics inherent in this boys. In girls, different proportions. Flat face - a legacy of the Persian or exotic cats. Although mating with them long ago banned but continue to manifest themselves in the offspring. Typical of a British cat for my Russian? I think - no. Look at my pedigree producers http://ridolina.ru/kater.html http://ridolina.ru/kat.html Their ancestors - cats in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.


Nov 28, 2011
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My cat - purebred British Shorthair.
by: Ridolina

Grahame, if your half-breed Russian Blue was so similar to the British cat, so he went to his British ancestors. My cat - purebred British Shorthair. You can see his pedigree here http://ridolina.ru/katera.html As you can see, it has all the ancestors of the British Shorthair from nurseries in Germany and Holland. I think you know that in the early 19th century, it is the authors of breed (breeders UK) was performed crossing British cats to Persian and Russian Blue. This is evident in the pedigrees of those years in the same database of pedigrees.


Nov 28, 2011
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No, it's full-blooded British male.
by: Ridolina

No, it's full-blooded British male. His pedigree can be found here http://ridolina.ru/katera.html By the way, Russian Blue breed of British rock poured by the authors themselves - the British. You can verify this by looking at pedigrees ancestors of 1920th years. Then they began to carry out breeding of Persian cats. I do not see your photo mestizo (British Russian Blue). My guess is that he looked like a British cat, but this means only one thing that your cat has inherited features of British ancestors, and not Russian Blue. Hence, the similarity with my cat. But this does not mean that my cat is not purebred British Shorthair, the more so because he is a Russian blue cat.


Nov 28, 2011
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Variety of rock types in the British breed of cats disturbing for many.
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your comment. You raised a very interesting topic. Variety of rock types in the British breed of cats disturbing for many. Earl Grey - a girl or a boy? The huge cheeks and head of a large size - it's sex characteristics inherent in this boys. In girls, different proportions. Flat face - a legacy of the Persian or exotic cats. Although mating with them long ago banned but continue to manifest themselves in the offspring. Typical of a British cat for my Russian? I think - no. Look at my pedigree producers http://ridolina.ru/kater.html http://ridolina.ru/kat.html Their ancestors - cats in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.


Nov 28, 2011
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Is this same as Russian Blue pedigreed cat?
by: Grahame

Years ago I had he distinict pleasure of living with a Russian Blue pedigreed cat we had purchased. Regular readers of POC may recall that I prefer moggies, but this Russian Blue was something else!

The cattery would not send him to us unless one of their cat nannies flew with him in the aircraft cabin. He came in his own basket, swaddled in a blue baby's blanket. He had thick plush fur, a darling conformation of head, and, if I correctly recall, a tendency to cobbiness. He was a gorgeous and wonderful cat companion. Very playful, too.

Is the pure-bred Russian blue distinct to the Russian Brittish Shorthair being discussed here?


British Shorthair Dies Undergoing Routine Surgery

by Irina Shendrik
(Brooklyn, NY)

My almost 7 months old British Shorthair died yesterday while having a routine spaying surgery.

My family is devastated, its a horrible tragedy for all of us.

We loved our baby Basya beyond belief..and cannot comprehend what happened.

Doctors said that when they started the anaesthesia Basya immediately went into both cardiac and respiratory arrests.

They tried to resuscitate her for a good 40 min, but it was all in vain.

The kitten was simply gorgeous, healthy – no health problems were ever recognized.

Why did it happen? Did she suffer from congenital heart disease?

We don’t know, but very much want to find out since that is the only thing that will possibly give us some closure, some consolation.

Irina

Cat under general anesthetic
Cat under general anesthetic. This is to illustrate the cat only.

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British Shorthair Dies Undergoing Routine Surgery

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Nov 10, 2011
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Basya
by: Irina Shendrik

Yes, its a beyond sad thing…almost three weeks passed, and me and my daughter are still beyond upset, grieving, and cannot really find closure…i did a lot of research on the subject, but still don’t get the answers as to why and how it all took place. this is because the vet refused to release the record, or the details on the anesthetic used, etc…We are in the process of contacting the board to get the vet to release the info – that’s the law, and the clinic is violating it…I will be updating the site with the info once it becomes available.
Thank you all for the tremendous support that we are getting


Nov 10, 2011
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sorry for you loss
by: Melissa

I was reasearching what kind of cat mine is and I came across this sad article, I’m sorry for your loss, I have yet to face the loss of a pet. I was kind of excited to find out what our little girl is, the breed seems wonderful. We got her from our local animal shelter, she is a wonderful addition to our little family!! I was wondering the same thing, maybe the wrong dose of anestesia. What a horrible thing to happen, too sad.


Oct 24, 2011
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Baysa
by: Ruth

I am a retired vet nurse in the UK and sadly sometimes in my career saw a few unexplainable deaths when cats came in to be neutered.
Veterinary medicine has moved on since those days though and anaesthetics are supposed to be much safer and I would think good vets do a health check first or at least check over the animal’s heart before giving any anaesthetic.
You should have been offered a post mortem at the time, it may not be too late, but it may be and not show any result.
I find it unusual you weren’t asked to sign a consent form when you left Baysa for spaying as that absolves the vet of any blame if something goes wrong.
I don’t know about USA vets with regard to explaining about neutering but I do know some offer declawing without the explanation that it’s really amputation ! Does this vet declaw cats ? I certainly would not trust any vet who does because they obviously don’t care about breaking their oath to cause no animal to suffer !
I’m so sorry for you, it’s heartbreaking and no matter what you do you’ve still lost your lovely little kitten and I’d think your trust in vets too.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

 


Oct 24, 2011
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Basya
by: Irina Shendrik

My daughter and i want to thank Barbara and another respondent (sorry, i did not get your name) for the support you are giving me. Basya was an adorable little kitten, very smart, cute, playful, and most importantly, she was a very loving creature.
We did not do necropsy – nobody ever offered us the procedure, but now after we said good-bye to Basya at the vet’s clinic, she is being stored in the freezer, and i understand necropsy is hardly conclusive after that.
I want to note here that we will try to get to the bottom of the situation simply because we cannot live without knowing the truth. But all the short time that Basya was with us and followed by this vet we did not get any feeling that he is not knowledgeable of the vet medicine, etc….He was very attentive and caring – at least thats what we felt, and Basya was always comfortable with him.
Only god knows what really happend behind the closed OR doors, but right now all we are hoping and praying for is for our dear kitten to be resting in peace, pain free….


Oct 24, 2011
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To Irina
by: Barbara

Irina, I’m not qualified to get into the why’s and wherefore’s of what happened but I just wanted to say how sorry I am that you lost your kitten in this way, and sorry that Basya had such a short life to enjoy with you and your family.It’s the most awful thing losing a beloved cat, to lose her so unexpectedly is cruel, no wonder you want answers.

Barbara avatar

 


Oct 23, 2011
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Unexpected Death
by: Irina

Irina,

I am SO sorry for your loss. I have a friend who shows & breeds BSH, & about 10 years ago, we were going to adopt one of her retiring stud cats after his neuter. The same thing happened to him & he was 3 years old, had never had a health problem up to that time, & had never sired anything but healthy kittens. She called us in tears. It was the only time she has ever had that happen, & the necropsy showed nothing unusual.

I hope you chose to do a necropsy on your kitten, as that is the only thing that will give you any definitive answers.


Oct 23, 2011
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response
by: Irina Shendrik

Thank you for your response and trying to help with answering questions during this very hard time for us…
The vet denies the fact that he overdosed the med, as well as he claims that he did everything imaginable to resuscitate…
I am a Nurse Practitioner working in pain management, and anesthesia is what i deal with a lot…I am inclining to believe exactly what you said about the wrong dose, dilution or speed of administration…I think they are trying to cover their trails, and refusing to give me the true picture of what really happened.
My daughter and I are going to speak with the vet tomorrow, since we need to know the answers and the truth in the first place.
I would like to ask you some questions:
1. Were we supposed to be explained the step-by-step process and anesthesia to be used?
2. Were we supposed to sign any paperwork about the surgery?
3. When the animal died of unknown causes, is the vet supposed to report this event to the FDA?
4. Do they need to perform the post-mortem necropsy to confirm the cause of death in cases of unexplained death or are they allowed to assume that it was a drug reaction?
5. Can I report them in this case to the vet licensing board? i mean considering that i suspect the case of malpractice but have no full proof?
6.And finally, is there a way to obtain a full proof?

Thank you so very much for publishing my story – it’s sort of a consolation to my soul…


Oct 23, 2011
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Very Sad
by: Michael

I am very sorry to hear your story. It is awful. I’ll refer to the Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook.

First though what did the vet say? Is there the possibility that the vet made an error rather than your cat being particularly sensitive to the anesthetic?

The amount of anesthetic used depends on the cat’s weight.

The anesthetic is often administered in “repeated small doses…rather than all at once.” Was it given all at once? Was the correct amount given for the size of your cat?

For gas, the exact amount needs to administered for the individual cat. Certain breeds have an increased sensitivity to barbiturates and other anesthesia. This must be taken into account. Was this taken into account? Ask your vet. I cannot find any genetic diseases that affect this cat breed that might have caused this.

Normally it appears that thin, lightweight cats are more at risk or flat faced cats. The British SH can have a flattish face if breed to extreme.

A cat with heart disease, liver, kidney or lung disease is at increased risk.

I am not sure of the percentages by I believe that 1 in 100 to 1 in 1000 cats die under anesthetic. This may be incorrect but what is certain is that there is a risk of injury or death under anesthetic.

Vomiting under anesthetic is a risk too but this appears not to have happened.

Best
Michael


Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Our Brit Female is Named Velvet

Our Brit Female is Named Velvet

by Dan Warner
(Greenwood, Iniana)

I began volunteering November 08 at a local animal shelter and a major part of the duties includes socializing the cats. Velvet had been there since October. As the months went by I really fell in love with Velvet because of her sweet nature, and her tendency to rub my nose while I held her. My wife and I were reluctant to adopt again as we are getting to the sunset years and hate to leave a cat behind. I hoped someone would adopt Velvet, but as the months went by no one was interested, and a black cat in a cage does not show well.

Finally as the spring crop of kittens overloaded the facility I knew that Velvet would have to go soon to make room for the kittens. I talked with my wife and we decided that we could not let such a sweet gentle girl go.

So we have had Velvet for 3 weeks and she is as lovable a cat as we have ever had, and we’ve had some good ones. She is faithful to use her scratching post and litter pan, finicky about food (she gets Iams because it’s one of the best) loves to play with toys (Da Bird is her favorite).

Can’t say enough about these Brits. My first choice.

Dan Warner

From Our Brit Female is Name Velvet to British Shorthair Cat

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Our Brit Female is Named Velvet

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Jun 30, 2009
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Suki The Sweetest Cat Ever… I am biased!
by: Sue, Manchester UK

Suki is my pride and joy, I can’t wait to wake up to see her waiting for me to play with her favourite feather toy. She runs when I call her and she shakes a paw for a treat,she is incredibly beautiful and really makes me laugh and sometimes even cry because she is so cute!


Jun 22, 2009
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“Velvet”
by: Rudolph.A.furtado

Brit shorthaired cats have excellent coats and “Nox” the jet black cat is a real beauty.


Jun 21, 2009
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Hi Dan
by: Michael (PoC Admin)

I agree. They are great cats. You may have read that my first experience with a purebred British Shorthair cat was when I met the Flick’s cats in Fort Worth, Dallas (I am in London, UK). They live with two, Nox (black) and Sky (blue). Sky is so cute with her silent voice and Nox has the best coat of all the cats that I have ever touched. A pure pleasure to stroke, thick velvety and luxurious. Thanks for the submission. It is a nice story. The best kind of story.

Here is a picture of Nox:

British Shorthair Cat NOX


Our Dickie

Our Dickie

Dickie

Dickie

Not sure how old he is,was given him about 4 years ago, he loves dogs, but not other cats.

Hi: Thanks for showing us Dickie. I have lightened the picture a bit. Hope that was OK. Michael.

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