If you’re not sure you can look after the longer coat of a long haired cat then it’s a good idea to consider a shorthaired breed.
Generally, many shorthaired breeds don’t need groomed, but it can be a good idea to give them a brush every now and again to help keep loose hairs off the furniture and they will probably enjoy it too. Please be aware, however, that some shorthairs like the British Shorthair, the Russian Blue and the Exotic Shorthair do require some grooming, so please don’t assume all Shorthairs are maintenance free!
Here are some of the more popular shorthaired breeds in the UK.
The Bengal cat is a cross between the wild Asian Leopard Cat of south-east Asia and a domestic cat. The early attempts to breed between the two were somewhat controversial with the wild cat instincts and fertility problems making them unsuitable as pets. The modern breed which has a more stable temperament originated in America in the 1960’s and the breed is now popular in Britain. As to be expected they are a fairly robust and athletic cat with a short, thick coat in spotted or classic tabby pattern which is very striking. They are a very bright and lively breed and need access to the outdoors to be happy. Although they can sometimes have quite a demanding temperament, they do like human contact and make lovely, playful pets.
The classic British Shorthair cat is the Black Shorthair which is one of the earliest shorthair breeds in Britain and inextricably linked with superstition and witches! The breed appears in lots of different patterns and colours, but is generally known for its fairly large head, short, dense coat and big round paws. Their coats do require grooming which must be taken into account when deciding to give one a home. They make very easy going, affectionate family pets.
The Exotic Shorthair cat is essentially a more livelier version of the Persian and shares much the same characteristics and body shape as the longer haired Persian. It was bred to be an easier cat to keep than a Persian and its coat, although requiring daily brushing, isn’t as difficult to groom as a Persian. They have distinctive round faces with small noses and ears and thick soft fur. They are known for their brilliant round eyes and are available in lots of colours and patterns. They are very gentle and affectionate cats and make very easygoing, playful pets.
The Oriental Shorthair breed is related to the Siamese cat with it ancestry in Thailand. They are very like Siamese cats, but with all over colour instead of the colour points on the extremities. They have a very distinctive wedge shaped face and green slanted eyes and are available in most colours and patterns except pointed. Their coats are very easy to keep being very short, soft and silky. Like Siamese cats, however, they can have quite demanding characters and do like to make some noise! They do enjoy human company though and don’t like to be left alone for too long. They are very intelligent and make very lively, inquisitive and loyal pets.
The Burmilla cat breed dates back to 1981, when a Chinchilla and a Burmese were famously accidentally mated producing four female shorthaired offspring – hence the name. The breed has been developed ever since, but the original colour was lilac with green eyes. It has a short, dense coat with slight shading and tabby stripes on the forehead, legs and tail. They are sociable and playful and make good family pets.
The Russian blue cat eminates from Archangel in northern Russia and is thought to have Norwegian connections too. One of the most distinctive features of Russian Blues is their double overcoat which is quite dense underneath, but fine on top with some white/transparent tipped guard hairs which creates a nice silvery sheen to their coats. They have amazing green eyes and their coat does require some gentle grooming. They are known for their gentle, affectionate nature and do like to be outdoors.
One of the best known breeds in the UK, the Siamese cat is a very old breed. The first pair of breeding Siamese came to Britain from Siam in Thailand in the early 1880’s. They have a long straight nose, large ears and a wedge shaped face which make them very distinctive. The Blue Point Siamese have amazing piercing blue eyes. The breed comes in a variety of patterns and colours and has a fine, silky short coat which is easy to keep. Siamese cats are known for their large personalities and equally large voice and they can be a little more demanding of you than other breeds. They are, however intelligent and affectionate cats and love human company.
This is just a brief run down of shorthair cat breeds available in the UK today. There are, of course, many other breeds of shorthair cats available in the UK which you could consider. Whichever breed you choose, it’s very important to do some research into their needs, requirements and personalities before you commit.
Although shorthair cats are in general easier to keep, please do remember that there are some which do require regular grooming.