10 Incredible British Shorthair Cat Facts You’ll Love Learning



Last Updated on: April 5, 2023 by Crystal Uys


The British Shorthair cat is one of the most popular and adorable cat breeds in the world, but they’re so much more than that. These cats have tons of interesting facts to learn, and I’ve tracked down and highlighted ten of my favorites for you here.

Keep reading as I tell you a thing or two about this extremely interesting and lovable cat breed!

My 10 Favorite British Shorthair Cat Facts:

1. They Are the Most Popular Cat Breed in Britain

With a name like British shorthair, how can they not be the most popular cat breed in the country? They took the mantle from the Persian cat in 2001, and they haven’t relinquished it since. In fact, it’s not even close.

The British Shorthair had more than a 2-to-1 lead over the second most popular cat in Britain in 2021.1 That cat is now the ragdoll, and the Persian cat has fallen all the way to sixth in popularity.

Image Credit: outdoor_Rutina, Shutterstock

2. They Are the Sixth Most Popular Cat Breed in the United States

While the British Shorthair is easily the most popular cat breed in Britain, it doesn’t hold that title in the United States. According to the Cat Fanciers Association, the British Shorthair was the sixth most popular breed in the United States in 2021.

The title of the most popular cat breed falls to the ragdoll, the second most popular in Britain.

3. The British Shorthair Almost Went Extinct During World War II

While the British Shorthair has plenty of cats roaming the world today, that wasn’t the case in the 1940s. British Shorthair breeders suspended their breeding campaigns during both World War I and World War II, and the result was almost a complete extinction of the breed.

While we certainly understand the need for drastic measures, we’re glad it didn’t completely doom the British Shorthair population.

Image Credit: Georgy Dzyura, Shutterstock

4. Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat Might Be a British Shorthair

If you ever looked at the cat in Alice and Wonderland, you’re likely to notice the round face and stockier appearance. These are classic British Shorthair features, and it’s likely where Lewis Carroll got his inspiration.

While Carroll never officially named the Cheshire Cat as a British shorthair, it sure looks like one!

5. They Were Hunting Cats

When you look at a British Shorthair today you likely don’t think of a great hunter. But while modern British Shorthairs don’t have much reason to hunt, they make great hunters. They’re food-driven, and catching prey is the traditional way for them to get a meal.

Image Credit: Rita, Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

6. They Can Live Up to 20 Years

Cats can live quite a long time, and the British Shorthair is undoubtedly no exception. They have an average lifespan between 14 and 20 years. This is great if you want a companion for a long time but know what you’re signing yourself up for before bringing one home.

Getting a British Shorthair isn’t a short-term commitment, so ensure you have a long-term plan to care for them.

7. They Are Calm Cats

One reason modern pet owners are so fond of British Shorthairs is because of their calm demeanor. They spend most of the day just lounging around, so you don’t have to worry about them climbing up and down a ton of stuff and racing around your home.

You’ll need to find a way to motivate them to get some exercise, but outside of that, they spend most of their time just lying around.

Image Credit: FotoMirta, Shutterstock

8. They Likely Originated in Rome

While British is in the name, the British Shorthair likely gets its early roots from Rome! The Romans invaded the island over 2000 years ago, and that’s when the cats first made their way to Britain.

Another theory involves them coming from France, but with records of gray cats that match the description of a British Shorthair in Roman records, we give that theory a bit more credibility.

9. A British Shorthair Once Purred at 67.7 Decibels

When you think of a cat purring you generally think of a quiet sound. And while that’s normally the case for a British shorthair, a British Shorthair named Smokey bucked that trend. In 2011 Smokey let out an impressive 67.7-decibel purr, a world record at the time.

The record held until 2015, when another cat let out a 67.8-decibel purr. But no matter how you look at it, that’s one loud purr!

10. A British Shorthair Is in the “I Can Has Cheezburger” Meme

If you’re a fan of pop culture or if you were on social media in the early 2000s, you’ve seen the “I Can Has Cheezburger” meme. The classic and viral meme features a British Shorthair cat, which makes sense because of their stockier appearance.


The British Shorthair is a lovable and adorable cat, and now that you know a little more about them it’s up to you if you want to head out and get one for yourself. They’re great companions, but they’re also a long-term commitment and the upfront price can be a little shocking.

Still, after a few minutes with your new furry friend, we’re sure you’ll fall in love.

Featured Image Credit: SunRay BRI Cattery RU, Shutterstock

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