Best cat food for a British Shorthair—here’s everything you need to know
The British Shorthair (BSH) is one of the most popular native breeds in the UK. It’s hard not to fall for their cuddly stocky build and rounded features, but their adorable shape comes with the tendency to gain weight quickly. The best cat food for British Shorthair cats needs to meet the essential nutritional requirements for cats while keeping those extra kilos in check.
Unfortunately, picking the right food for BSHs can be tricky for cat parents. Unlike playful breeds, such as Bengals and Siamese, British Shorthairs prefer a laidback lifestyle, meaning they have lower calorie needs than active cats. The standard cat food available across pet stores may contain unnecessary carbohydrates, making it unfit for BSHs.
In this guide, we will take a close look at a British Shorthair's nutritional needs and steer you towards the type of food that would suit the breed best. We will also explain the genetic predisposition of BSHs and the illnesses they’re prone to, as well as recommend cat food to keep them in tip-top shape.
What are the nutritional needs of British Shorthair cats?
British Shorthairs are a medium to large-sized breed. Like their wildcat cousins, they need food that supports muscle development and maintenance. The essential nutrients are proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water, which should be a part of their daily meals and snacks. Let’s compare these nutrients and learn how to incorporate them into your cat’s diet.
Like any other cat, a British Shorthair needs a diet rich in proteins for:
- Growth and support of muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons
- Efficient metabolism
- Brain development and neurological function
- Immunity against common illnesses
- Optimum reproductive health
Since their digestive system is best fit to process meat, British Shorthairs can easily break down and absorb the amino acid profile of animal proteins from poultry, red meat, organs, and seafood. Vegan or synthetic proteins are not ideal for BSHs due to low bioavailability and incompatible amino acid profiles.
British Shorthairs need at least 50% of their diet to consist of proteins, depending on their weight.
Fats and fatty acids
British Shorthairs, like other felines, can benefit from fat, so a reasonable amount of good fats in their diet, ideally derived from animal sources, is okay.
Animal fat has fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D, and K, as well as linoleic and arachidonic acids. They help maintain body temperature, balance out hormone levels, support gastrointestinal functions, and boost skin health. Without enough fatty acids, a BSH's coat may lose its signature shine. In more difficult cases, the fatty acid deficiency may provoke extreme hair loss.
Vitamins and minerals
According to nutritionists, British Shorthairs need the following essential vitamins and minerals in their diet:
● Vitamin A
● Vitamin D
● Vitamin E
● Vitamin K
● Pantothenic acid
● Folic Acid
● Vitamin B12
● Sodium and chloride
These nutrients support several vital functions and can be found in most meats. Commercial food contains synthetic additives to meet the minimum levels of vitamins and minerals because the meat content is too low.
Every cat needs water to support kidney function and flush out the toxins from their blood. British Shorthair adults need 50 to 70 millilitres of water daily for every kilogram of their body weight.
Kitty food inspection—Are you putting all the good stuff on my plate, hooman?
What about carbohydrates—don’t BSHs need them?
Carbohydrates are supposed to serve as a source of energy, but they are redundant in the ideal diet for British Shorthairs. BSHs, like other cats, are better off processing proteins and fats for energy. Feeding them carbs, such as grains, starchy vegetables, and sugar creates a calorie surplus in their diet, leading to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Felines also have a hard time digesting carbs. Vets have noticed that British Shorthairs can develop food sensitivities and suffer from frequent bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting because of carb overconsumption.
While curating a meal plan for your BSH companion, make sure they get 90% of their daily calorie intake from proteins and, to a lesser extent, fats.
How many calories do British Shorthairs need in a day?
To understand the daily calorie needs of BSHs, you must factor in their personality, activity preferences, and body type.
British Shorthairs are indoor cats with a reserved yet affectionate demeanour—they prefer cuddling to adventures. It’s amusing how this stoic and dignified feline is the original muse behind the cheeky Cheshire Cat, but that’s a debate for another day.
Typically, BSHs have a daily need of 44–53 calories per kilogramme of their body weight. On average, this breed does well on a 180–230 calorie diet per day, distributed over two to five small meals.
Buying British Shorthair cat food—what works for them?
You will find several products tagged as “For British Shorthair,” but do they deliver the necessary nutritional values? The truth is, you don’t have to obsess over a breed-specific product for your British Shorthair as long as the meals:
- Have real animal proteins—The pet food industry can be deceptive about ingredients. Don’t be tricked by fancy but vague terms like “Real Tuna Flavour” and “Hydrolysed Animal Proteins,” which only imply that the product is full of taste enhancers. Look for brands that transparently display their ingredients and have real, named meat as a primary ingredient
Contain no/low fillers—Cat food fillers add the minimum dietary value of protein or raise the volume of the product. They can be:
- Animal derivatives, like hooves, feathers, beaks, etc. (aka slaughterhouse scraps)
- Low-grade fibre sources, like corn cobs, peanut hulls, and cereal byproducts
- Cheap grains, like corn and wheat
- Fruits and vegetables often advertised as a source of vitamins but working as fillers in cat food products because of the low bioavailability of nutrients
- Are carb-free—It’s crucial to give your British Shorthair food with minimum carbs. Cats on a prolonged high-carb diet lose muscle mass and tend to get sick more often because their immune system gets weaker by excessive carb consumption
- Are not over-processed—Excessive processing can destroy the nutrients. In general, dry cat food tends to be heavily processed but is popular with cat parents as it's affordable and easy to store and serve
What’s a good diet for British Shorthairs?
Due to their easy-going nature, British Shorthairs aren’t too fussy about food and usually accept different flavours and textures easily. Here are the standard diet options:
- Wet food only—Vets recommend feeding wet food to British Shorthairs. Canned goods usually contain more protein and moisture than dry food. If your biscuit-loving cat suffers from dehydration-induced digestive problems, like constipation and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), consider switching them to a wet food only diet immediately. You can choose gravy, jelly, or pureed foods, all highly favoured by BSHs
- Dry food mixed with wet food—Most vets do not prescribe a dry food only diet for British Shorthairs, but cat parents on a budget may opt for it. Mixing and matching is an excellent solution in this situation, for example:
- Feed your BSH a complete dry food and top it with a complementary wet food
- Give them complete wet food meals and use kibbles as snacks (as chewing biscuits boosts dental health)
- Alternative diets—These include homemade or raw meals that can be expensive and time-consuming to put together. You need to be careful with such diets and tailor them to the needs of your British Shorthair. Here are some practical tips:
British Shorthair kitten food
British Shorthair kittens can be introduced to solid food when they are 8–12 weeks old. Vets recommend starting with cooked meat to enable steady muscle and brain development. Giving raw meat to kittens is risky. Parasites and pathogens may trigger diarrhoea and cause a rapid loss of fluids, which can be fatal at that vulnerable age.
Growing younglings need more calories than adults, so you should feed them more frequently throughout kittenhood, albeit in smaller portions. BSH kittens burn about 250–280 calories per day till they attain their ideal weight, as outlined in the table below:
British Shorthair kitten age (in months)
Ideal weight range (in kilos)
Some BSHs keep growing for the first three years of their life, reaching 5.5 kgs (female) and 7.7 kgs (male)!
You can use the above weight chart as a reference to monitor your kitty’s weight. If you fear they are leaning towards obesity, you should:
- Review their meal plan to cut down their calorie intake
- Introduce them to indoor games and exercises to burn excess calories
Wet food that cats go wild for—Untamed’s lip-smacking delights are supurrrb for British Shorthairs!
Image (c) Untamed
Untamed wet food is the best for your British Shorthair—here’s why!
If you are looking for the ultimate power food for your British Shorthair, turn to Untamed’s wet food delights! We offer gravy and jelly meals prepared with human-grade whole meats without those iffy fillers, so our ingredients are hormone- and cruelty-free. We also don't use the following unnecessary ingredients:
- Animal derivatives
- Vegetable proteins
Untamed dishes are made of chicken, duck, ham, tuna, mackerel, salmon, or sardines, so your cat gets only the best! Visit our Recipes page to check out our yummy meals.
Why choose Untamed?
Unlike most cat-food manufacturers, we do not sacrifice quality to chase profits. We make top-notch products respecting the natural feline diet. Our products are not only beneficial to BSHs but any other cat breed because we:
- Offer quality animal proteins—Our food has two times more protein than the retail average. It offers enough healthy micronutrients and makes cats feel full and happy until their next meal, making it ideal for binge-eating felines
- Pack balanced portions—You don’t have to worry about measuring serving sizes with Untamed. All our products come in 75g tins and are suitable for felines on a diet. Our recipes are nutritionally balanced, containing adequate levels of taurine, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
- Steam-cook our food—Gentle steam-cooking is the way to go as it preserves the nutrients, making them biologically available for cats. Steam-cooking also seals in the enticing aroma and moisture and contributes to palatability
- Use vet-designed hypoallergenic formulas—All Untamed products are free of dubious preservatives, additives, and common allergens
Take our TRY NOW quiz to get a meal plan and order a personalised taster pack at the best price!
All Untamed products have a shelf life of three years—order your trial pack ASAP and watch your kitty flourish!
Image (c) Untamed
Untamed is the ideal food for all cats—kittens, adults, and seniors!
Whether you’re looking for new food for your kitten or your picky senior, Untamed is the best choice! We use whole meats because quality meat optimises the feline digestive system, thus contributing to overall health!
Once your cat goes Untamed, you can expect the following benefits (as reported by our faithful clients):
The Untamed effect
● No mess in the litter tray
● Seamless digestion
Three to six months
● Robust muscle tone
● Glossy coat
● No annoying hairballs
● Consistent energy levels
One year and beyond
● Effortless weight management
● Strong immune system
● No mood swings
● Slowdown of age-related illnesses
You know we’re doing something good when cats just won’t let go of our tins!
Image (c) Untamed
How to order Untamed’s taster pack—an easy hack
You don’t have to scour through never-ending supermarket aisles to get your hands on Untamed. We offer a no-cost delivery service for every order. Follow these simple steps to grab your trial taster pack:
- Visit our TRY NOW page and provide the details about your cat
- Review the meal plan
- Place the order
You’ll get your delivery within one day. Once you exhaust the pack, we will replenish your supplies—around the same date every month. You can pause, cancel, postpone, modify, or skip a delivery from your Untamed account, but make sure to do it at least 24 hours before the scheduled date.
We believe in ethical cat food production and strive to keep our carbon pawprint low. We also use recyclable packaging to help with protecting the environment.
Pocketful of sunshine—Raise British Shorthair stunners the best way with Untamed’s hydrating protein-rich products!
Quick snacking guide for British Shorthairs
Avoid giving too many fattening treats to your British Shorthair if they are primarily inactive house cats. Remove milk, cheese, dairy products, sweet treats, and sodium-loaded chips from their snack menu and include more meat treats. You can also give them cat grass if you notice they’re struggling to throw up undigested food.
Potential health problems for British Shorthairs and how to fix them with food
British Shorthairs are genetically susceptible to specific medical conditions, easily preventable with the right food and regular health checkups. In the following sections, we will dive into some of the common ailments affecting BSHs.
British Shorthairs on a carb-rich diet may develop diabetes, especially when they get older. A balanced diet with zero carbs is the best way to prevent it. If your cat already has diabetes, a combination of protein-rich food and prescription medication will help manage their condition.
Dental and gum diseases
BSHs are likely to suffer from gum infections like gingivitis and periodontal disease. In chronic cases, oral bacterial infections lead to loss of teeth and could even spread around the body, damaging the liver and kidneys. They can be prevented by:
- Regular dental assessment
- Professional teeth cleanups
- At-home brushing
Senior British Shorthairs tend to develop hormonal disorders like hyperthyroidism. The common symptoms are the loss of appetite, hyperactivity, unexplained weight loss, unkempt coat, and disrupted peeing or pooing cycles.
If you believe your BSH has a hormonal disorder, consult a vet immediately. Such medical conditions shorten your feline's lifespan unnecessarily and can be controlled with proper medication.
Did you notice your British Shorthair behaving strangely? Get them evaluated at the clinic to rule out common diseases.
FLUTDs and kidney diseases
BSHs have a slow metabolism due to their somewhat sedentary lifestyle. Combine that with inadequate water intake, and your lazy kitty may develop various kidney and feline lower urinary tract diseases (FLUTDs), like bladder stones and cystitis. You can help your cat by:
- Feeding them wet or semi-moist food
- Adding soups and broths to their diet
- Reducing the stress levels
British Shorthairs are vulnerable to:
- Congenital heart problems, like abnormal valves and defects in their heart wall
- Acquired heart diseases, like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy leading to gradual heart failure
While congenital diseases cannot be prevented, acquired conditions can with a healthy and suitable diet.