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.
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”.
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!
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.
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.