Why are British Shorthairs so fat?

British Shorthairs are not fat. They are cobby, which is a cat fancy word meaning stocky, muscular, heavyset with rounded features and stocky limbs (the “cat fancy” means cat breeders). There is a difference. If a British Shorthair cat is fat it is because that individual cat has been overfed and/or is under-exercised. Selective breeding results in this cat breed having the appearance that it does. The appearance varies depending upon where the cat’s breeder lives and therefore under which cat association guidelines they were bred. The cat associations dictate the appearance of purebred cats through their breed standards. You’ll see very heavy looking British Shorthair cats from Russia with enormous cheeks looking like giant hamsters!

Russian Blue Brit SH
Russian Blue Brit SH
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An expert on British Shorthairs, Sarah, says that they almost reach full adult weight by the age of 12 months but that it can take until five-years-of-age to reach their full size. She says that at three-years-of-age a British Shorthair cat living in the UK (which is I presume is where she lives) should weigh, for males, a maximum of 7.7 kg or 17 pounds and for females their weight should be no more than 5.4 kg or 12 pounds. At the bottom end of the weight range males should weigh at least 4.1 kg and females should be over 3.2 kg in weight.

British Shorthair
British Shorthair. This is a tabby cat and the photo is by Helmi Flick which is published here with her express permission.

Are British Shorthairs lazy?

Sarah says that this cat breed has a ferocious prey drive! Well pretty much all domestic cats have a prey drive but it is also suggested by some people that British shorthairs can have a tendency to become rather lazy and if they do they can put on weight unless their diet is monitored. This may account for the fact that the question in the title refers to fat British Shorthairs which I think is unfair.

Big British Shorthair cat and sleeping baby
Big British Shorthair cat and sleeping baby. This cat is indeed fat! Image: Pinterest (cleaned up).

Are British Shorthairs placid?

Some people will say that the Brit SH has a placid character, which may get misconstrued as being lazy! Gloria Stephens in her book Legacy of the Cat describes the temperament of the British Shorthair as “relaxed yet curious”. She says that they are unflappable and well suited to apartment life. There’s a hint there that this is a placid, laid-back cat breed. Incidentally, this may predispose the British Shorthair to becoming a little overweight unless it is watched and monitored by their owner.


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