You’ve seen the iconic “I can has cheezburger” meme, right?
Although it is business oriented and designed to show the cat’s love for bread buns and cheese, it gained rapid popularity because of the humorous smiling cat. Cat lovers worldwide have steered quite the debate on which cat breed appears on the meme.
This instantly recognizable meme kitty is a British Shorthair cat!
British Shorthairs are one of the oldest recognized cat breeds. However, they are often confused with other feline breeds like the Chartreux or Scottish Fold because of similar features like a large, round face and dense fur. Still, this cat is distinct because it is the only breed in the feline kingdom that can “smile.”
Are you amazed by the perpetually smiley face of the British Shorthair? Read on to learn more about the feline’s breed profile, health, care needs, and more.
British Shorthair Cat Breed Profile
British Shorthairs are loved for the mysterious expression on their beautiful round faces. They are the oldest natural English breed and probably one of the oldest felines worldwide. Although they are best known for their natural smiling appearance, their smile is not the only thing that makes them special.
The British Shorthairs are like the bulldogs of the feline world, thanks to their powerful-looking and well-proportioned physiques. They are strong, heavily muscled, thickly boned, and most notably, have a broad chest, thick neck, and short, sturdy legs.
Additionally, Brits boast plenty of round features. They have big, round heads with a slight slope on the forehead. It’s also hard to miss their large, round eyes, rounded ear ends, round paws, and thick tails with rounded tips.
The large, round whisker pads give the cats that ever-smiling impression.
Other features that add to the unique looks of British Shorthairs are their eye and coat colors. Although most cats have orange-amber eyes, some have blue, amber, or copper eyes. The coats can be solid, bi-colored, tabby, or calico, with hues ranging from grayish-blue, white, ebony, orange, cream, brown, lilac, and fawn.
British Shorthairs are medium to large cats. Adults can weigh anywhere between seven and seventeen pounds with a height of 12 to 14 inches. Like most feline breeds, male Brits are larger than females.
Generally, Brits have solid and stocky bodies. This can cause challenges when you need to pick up your furry friend. To ensure it feels comfortable and secure, always support its back end when lifting it.
Brits have thick and dense coats that become even thicker during winter. Although the coat is single-layered, it has a relatively hard texture, making the cats feel firm to the touch.
Brits are sweet, calm, and even-tempered cats with notably refined manners.
They have a strong sense of dignity and don’t go overboard, even in extreme situations. For instance, they are moderately playful and will never get too wild. You can also trust your furry friend not to get too hyper or destructive.
British Shorthairs are low-key affectionate and unapologetically independent
They are not big fans of cuddles and will prefer not to sit on your lap. While they can sit beside you or cuddle on your feet, they demonstrate outright discomfort by stiffening their limbs when you try picking them up. That’s another reason why you must support their back end if you must lift them.
Your cat will not mind some petting sessions provided it sits “with” you, not “on” you. Its gentle demeanor also means it requires plenty of personal space and doesn’t need to be active at all times. Generally, Brits have a laid-back personality and are not ideal for busy homes.
A lot of people consider British Shorthairs to be a “cat-dog” breed. This is because they are extraordinarily intelligent compared to most feline breeds.
For instance, they don’t need any training to play fetch.
When you throw a small ball at your cat, it can catch it mid-air, bring it back and wait for you to throw it again. It is also impressive that Brits only respond to their names and will ignore you if you call them by other cute names like “kitty-kitty” or “puss-puss.”
Also, Brits are sensitive and can tap into their owner’s emotions.
Your furry friend will know when you are sad or happy. You will notice a change in its overall demeanor as it rejoices or grieves with you. The cat also has a sneaky way of showing different emotions and can even alert you when it wants a play or petting session.
Brits are low-maintenance cats that don’t require much grooming.
Brushing your cat’s coat once weekly will keep it in tip-top condition. However, more frequent brushing is necessary during shedding seasons in spring and fall. Even then, two to three coat grooming sessions a week are adequate to manage the amount of fur your cat sheds in your living spaces.
Other crucial grooming routines include teeth brushing and nail trimming. Ideally, you should brush your cat’s teeth every other day and trim its claws once monthly. Moreover, periodically check the eyes and ears and wipe them with wet cotton balls.
British Shorthair cats are fascinated by anything that moves, including water. While they would be okay with frequent showers, it is advisable to bathe them once monthly or every six weeks. More frequent showers can remove natural oils from their skin and make their coats appear brittle and dry.
British Shorthairs are not the most active cats. They are also not the most agile or acrobatic, and many consider them to have a lazy streak. Although the felines can jump and climb, they prefer to keep all fours on the ground, and you’ll hardly ever find them patching on your bookshelf.
Brits prefer to spend most of their daylight hours napping and self-grooming. Still, they need exercise and enrichment to keep them healthy and happy.
Five to ten minutes of play a day are more than adequate to prevent the risks allied with a sedentary lifestyle. Take advantage of your pet’s prey drive and engage it using laser toys or motorized teaser toys.
Health & Life Expectancy
British Shorthair cats are generally healthy, especially when they maintain the recommended weight. They are prone to obesity, and the extra pounds can negatively affect their overall health and shorten their life expectancy.
Some of the health concerns prone to the breed include:
The majority of Brits live well past adulthood. They have an average life expectancy of 14 to 18 years, with most cats hitting at least 15.
Do British Shorthair Cats Make Good Family Pets?
Brits make excellent pets for individuals and families within settings that are not overly busy. Although they are always “smiling,” they are only moderately sociable and often maintain a serious demeanor.
Still, British Shorthair cats love getting attention from their family members. They don’t pick favorites and will likely be comfortable with everyone in your household. Once your pet marks you as its own, it will happily follow you from room to room without making a sound.
A British Shorthair cat may not be ideal if you are looking for an upbeat furry friend.
The breed has a gentle personality, and it’s no surprise that it doesn’t warm up to strangers. Still, it is affectionate and needs you for more than feeding and litter cleaning. The lack of attention or hours of solitude can make it sad and depressed.
Generally, Brits are great pets for people that don’t like clingy felines.
Are British Shorthair Cats Good With Kids?
Brits are good with kids because they hardly ever get aggressive. Instead of biting or retrieving their claws when mishandled, they would rather make a dignified exit by fleeing the scene.
Still, they are best for older kids that don’t mind keeping their hands off. If kids get overly touchy, the cat will hide to make itself virtually invisible within the household.
Do British Shorthair Cats Get Along With Other Pets?
Brits get along well with other pets, including dogs. However, they have a strong prey response and can hunt smaller pets. You cannot trust the cat not to topple your fish bowl or munch on your set of pet guinea pigs.
Now you know what to expect once you adopt the “I can has cheezburger” cat breed. Although Brits are fiercely independent, they have a great deal of personality. They make excellent pets for being easy going and sweet.
Brits have a contagious smile, and pet parents of the breed claim it’s hard to be unhappy when their cat is always smiling. It’s no wonder a British Shorthair cat inspired John Tenniel to make the famous rendition of the ever-smiling Cheshire Cat as part of his Alice in Wonderland stories!
Featured Image Credit: outdoor_Rutina, Shutterstock