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18.07.2022

Caring for a British Shorthair—tips and tricks

Independent, sturdy, even-tempered, and good-natured British Shorthairs are easy to look after. There are a few tweaks to ensure they are as healthy and happy as they are gorgeous.

Untamed presents the handiest British Shorthair tips and tricks to help you get on the right track from the get-go! You will also get some pro advice on picking the right kitty.

Tips on picking a British Shorthair cat

You won't make a mistake by bringing a British Shorthair into your home. These felines are perfect for first-time cat parents—they are easy-going, adaptable, and friendly, so you will have no problem connecting with them. To make sure you are a 100% match, consider whether you want to adopt:

  1. A kitten or an adult
  2. A male or a female

British Shorthair kitten vs adult

Kittens are active and playful, but they calm down as they grow up. 

Source: hang niu

British Shorthair kittens can be demanding. They are super active, so you will have to dedicate some time and patience to teach them proper manners and good behaviour. Your kitty will calm down once they go through their kittenhood and adolescence, but you can expect a bumpy ride in the beginning.

It's a common opinion that humans establish stronger bonds with baby cats, which is not untrue, but it’s hardly a rule. If you decide that a kitten is too much for you, you can easily go for a mature cat. A grown British Shorthair can be a fantastic companion minus all the challenges that raising a kitten brings.

Male vs female British Shorthair

Once you have decided whether you want a kitten or an adult, you should determine if you prefer a boy or a girl. Some people may advise getting a female British Shorthair to avoid potential aggression and destructiveness, but there is no need to worry about it with this breed.

Male or female, British Shorthairs exhibit no aggressive or destructive tendencies, and they do OK when left alone. The only aspect where females get an extra point is health. Although a generally healthy breed, British Shorthair toms are prone to more hereditary diseases than queens (heart problems mainly).

The only actual difference is in size because boys tend to grow bigger than girls. Still, gender shouldn't play a crucial role in this decision because all British Shorthairs are affectionate and loyal.

How to take care of a British Shorthair cat

Three aspects of proper care for any feline are:

  1. Basic care
  2. Exercise and cognitive stimulation
  3. Good nutrition

Essential British Shorthair care tips

To be honest, all I need is your entire bed. 

Source: Katarzyna Modrzejewska

As a British Shorthair parent, you will have to:

  1. Equip your home with basic cat necessities
  2. Schedule regular vet visits 
  3. Groom your feline meticulously

Equipping your home with basic cat necessities

When you welcome a cat into your home, you must make them feel comfortable and accepted. 

Your British Shorthair needs:

  • Litter box—Nothing about a British Shorthair is small, so you need to get a large litter box. Ideally, the tray should be as wide as your grown British Shorthair is long and 50% longer than your cat. You should also preferably have two litter boxes for one cat in your home
  • Food and water dishes—It would be best to opt for ceramic or stainless steel instead of plastic dishes. Cats can easily scratch or nick plastic, creating a convenient breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and mould. As for water, a fountain may be a better option as most felines prefer running water. Hydration is crucial to avoid UTIs, kidney disease, bladder stones, and similar issues
  • Bed—Although your kitty will probably nap wherever they want, you should still get a cosy bed for them. Go for something with washable covers—it should be big enough to accommodate a fully grown British Shorthair
  • Cat carrier—When picking a suitable carrier, consider the weight and size it can support. A British Shorthair can weigh up to 8 kg and be up to 46 cm high and 64 cm long
  • Scratching post—Cats must scratch to trim and file their nails and stretch their bodies. Scratching is also crucial for claw, joint, and muscle health. If they don't have a dedicated place to do it, they will find the next best thing, i.e. your furniture. You should get at least one scratching post, and a horizontal scratching mat is also a good idea

Vet visits and home checks

When you bring your kitty home, you should take them to the vet for a check-up after a day or two. They should determine if your British Shorthair has been spayed or neutered (ideally, that should be done around three months). The vet should test your cat for:

  • Haemophilia B (if you have a male—females are carriers but can't develop symptoms)
  • Leukaemia
  • Contagious diseases

After the initial check-up, your feline should get regular examinations once or twice a year, even if they seem healthy. Make sure that:

  • Their vaccination is up to date
  • They are dewormed and protected from ectoparasites

You should also check your cat yourself occasionally. If you notice them licking, biting, or scratching excessively, look for skin problems, such as:

  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Bald patches
  • Wounds

These symptoms can be the consequence of various conditions, including:

Grooming

Look at me! I’m gorgeous!

Source: Eduard Delputte

Grooming your British Shorthair is not a demanding ritual, so keeping them beautiful won't be a problem.

Check out the table below for essential grooming requirements:

Step

What to do

Brushing

  • Repeat once or twice a week to reduce shedding (especially if you suffer from cat allergies)
  • Brush in the direction of hair growth
  • Wipe your feline’s fur with a damp cloth afterwards

Bathing

  • Use a high-quality cat shampoo 
  • Bathe your cat every 6–8 weeks (or more often if you have allergies)

Teeth cleaning

  • Use a special brush and vet-approved toothpaste
  • Brush as often as your kitty allows you to

Eye cleaning

  • Clean your kitty’s eyes after every bath 
  • Use a clean cloth dipped in clean water or an eye cleaning solution and gently wipe the area around your kitty’s eyes

Ear cleaning

  • Gently clean the inside of your cat’s ears with a cotton pad dipped in a cleaning solution
  • Never put anything in your feline’s ear canal

Nail trimming

  • Use special nail clippers
  • Only cut the tip of the claw

Exercise and cognitive stimulation

As your British Shorthair gets older, they become less active, which makes them prone to weight gain and related health problems, such as:

  • Joint degeneration
  • Heart problems
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis

It's crucial to keep your cat active and entertained. You can easily do it by:

  1. Providing plenty of toys
  2. Having regular play and training time
  3. Letting your British Shorthair play outside

Interactive toys and cat trees

I want a medal for refraining from destroying this monstrosity.

Source: Erda Estremera

Fun toys can keep your kitty active, for example:

  • Floppy fish
  • Electric mice
  • Food puzzles

Getting a cat tree is also a good idea because your cat can climb, jump, and play on it. Cat trees often come with dangling toys that kitties find particularly appealing. Your feline will have an additional scratching post and a place to chill.

To encourage your cat to play on a new cat tree, you can spray it with some catnip.

Playtime and training

British Shorthairs are independent and don't like to be held or spend hours sleeping on your lap, but they still need your attention.

When you come back from work, reward your feline for their patience with at least half an hour of playtime and cuddling.

British Shorthairs are also highly intelligent and need stimulation, so you can use playtime for training. Teach them fun tricks and games, such as hide and seek or fetch.

Going outside

Trust me, I’m not going anywhere. You don’t have to watch me all the time. 

Source: Max Böttinger

Although going outside comes with many risks, British Shorthairs can benefit massively from additional exercise due to their sedentary indoor lifestyle. 

It would be best to create a safe environment in your garden for your cat to play. You can:

  • Set up a fence, so other animals can’t come near your cat
  • Remove sharp objects
  • Spray the location for parasites
  • Never let them go outside unsupervised

The safest bet is to create an enclosed space and equip it with toys, a scratching post (if there are no trees in it), food and water bowls, and a shade.

British Shorthair nutrition

When it comes to proper nutrition for your British Shorthair, you should consider:

  1. Their age
  2. Size
  3. Food quality

Feeding your British Shorthair from kittenhood to adulthood

If you have chosen a kitten, you must serve highly nutritious food. Pick high-quality, wet cat food that is:

You should feed your growing kitten five small portions a day and dispose of the leftovers that have been unattended for more than an hour.

Once your cat has reached five or six months, reduce the number of meals to three a day. After 12 months, your British Shorthair doesn't need more than two meals a day.

Controlled portions

I know I already ate today, but can I get some more, please?

Source: Marjan Grabowski

You don't have to worry much about kittens when it comes to calories and suitable portions. They quickly burn their energy, so your primary concern should be that they get quality protein.

As British Shorthairs grow older, you must be more careful with their caloric intake. Older cats (seven years old and more) are particularly tricky because their metabolism slows down significantly, so they need a high-protein diet with no empty calories.

It would be best to forget about free-feeding and introduce controlled portions, which you can tweak as your British Shorthair ages and their activity levels change. 

Quality is crucial

Cats are obligate carnivores, so meat and fish are the essential ingredients in their diet. If you want your British Shorthair to thrive, make sure to include the following nutrients in their meal plan:

Nutrient

Why is it necessary?

Animal protein

  • Energy
  • Strong muscles
  • Healthy tissue formation
  • Amino acid synthesis (source of taurine, arginine, lysine, etc.)
  • All vital body functions

Animal fat

  • Healthy skin and coat
  • Shedding control
  • Wound healing

Water

  • Normal digestion
  • Urinary and kidney health
  • Reproductive health
  • Blood circulation
  • Nutrient absorption

Vitamins and minerals

  • Efficient immune response
  • Enzyme function

Your British Shorthair should eat at least two servings of meat-based wet food per day to get all these nutrients. Prioritize wet or semi-moist products because they typically contain more protein and moisture than dry food.

Kibble usually contains carbs and other iffy ingredients to prolong the shelf life. Peas, beans, rice, corn, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc., increase the caloric value of food, which obesity-prone British Shorthairs don't need, so refrain from giving fruits and veggies to your furry friend. 

Is Untamed a good option for your British Shorthair?

Let me be the judge of what a good option for me is.

Image (c) Untamed

Untamed is all your British Shorthair needs to be healthy, fit, and happy. 

All our ingredients are:

Our products respect the feline natural diet and eating habits, so they are a suitable option for cats at all life stages. Every Untamed tin delivers:

Complete our online questionnaire, answer a few questions about your feline's preferences, health issues, life stage, and potential allergies, and create a special meal plan for your British Shorthair. 

Untamed jelly or gravy dishes are free from:

  • Sugar
  • Grains
  • Vegetable protein
  • Meat derivatives
  • Artificial colourants
  • Chemical taste enhancers

Sign up for monthly deliveries today

A lifetime supply of empty boxes! Oh jolly!

Image (c) Untamed

You can quickly become a part of the Untamed gang. 

Order a starter pack of delicious cat food online in three easy steps:

  1. Tell us about your kitty
  2. Choose the products
  3. Place the order

The trial pack will arrive in a day. Once your kitty decides on their favourites, you can start receiving regular monthly deliveries

After switching to Untamed, you will quickly notice improvements in your cat's appearance, health, and mood. Our happy clients have reported the following changes:

Timeline

The Untamed effect

After the first week

Within two months

  • Good mood
  • Better muscle tone
  • Sleek fur
  • Even energy levels

After four months

Life-long