The Difference Between a British and American Shorthair Cat

The Difference Between a British and American Shorthair Cat

Although they share the same ancestry, British and American Shorthair cats are today quite different breeds both to look at and in their dispositions. These lovely cats were first introduced to the British Isles by the Romans when they ruled most of these lands. It was only much later that the breed was taken across the Atlantic. Over time the differences in the two breeds began developing.

The British Shorthair

The British Shorthair is a smaller cat being more compact and powerful looking than the American Shorthair. They can also boast a wonderful “blue” colour which is in actual fact more a silver grey – hence the name British Blue which the breed used to be called. Over the centuries these lovely looking cats became so popular not only because of their striking good looks, but also because of their wonderfully placid and kind natures.

British Shorthairs can be found in a variety of colours and are known to be very laid-back felines. They show utter devotion and loyalty toward the people they love. It would be fair to say these dignified looking cats have influenced many other breeds that we see in the world today.

Like their American cousins, the British Shorthair boasts lovely rounded eyes set in a broad face which gives them their very appealing and distinctive look. All too often, you would be forgiven for thinking they look more like a stuffed cat than a real one. The one thing they are not overly keen on is being picked up and cuddled, much preferring to lovingly “head butt” you to show their affections.

Although, not a lap cat, the British Shorthair does have a rather endearing way of following their owners around the home and of sitting where they have a great view of all that is going on. They are always around, but never demanding much preferring to be a spectator.

Their coats tend to be plush with guard hairs giving an overall crisp appearance to it. They also ensure these lovely cats are well protected from the cold. You can find many colour pattern variations and their eyes typically match their coats with the one exception being the Shorthair White which boasts gorgeous sapphire coloured blue eyes, a deep gold, copper or even orange coloured eyes, although some of them have one of each and are referred to as Odd-eyed Whites.

As previously mentioned the British Shorthair is a very relaxed cat by nature although independent, they are loving and affectionate. They do however, prefer to come to you rather than be picked up and cuddled. Because they are not as demanding as other breeds, they have become one of the most popular and endearing cats to share a home with and are especially good around children.

The American Shorthair

The American Shorthair is a very attractive looking pussy cat that shares its ancestry with the British Shorthair. It's thought that they are descendants of the cats that were taken over to the States on a sailing ship called the Mayflower when the lands across the Atlantic were first colonised by settlers and farmers alike.

These very active felines were very good at their job of keeping the rodent populations under control both on the ships they were taken over to America on and then on the farms they eventually lived on. Over time, these cats were introduced to most other areas of the States where they multiplied and thrived.

The very first record of an American Shorthair as a breed was established at the end of the 19th century and since then these lovely cats have become some of the most popular family pets both in the States and other countries of the world including here in the UK.

American Shorthairs come in all sorts of colours with the best known and most popular being the silver tabby. They are large and strong felines but they are prone to putting on too much weight if they are not given enough exercise. Personality-wise, these cats are very laid back by nature and they just love being around people which is why they have become such popular family pets.

The other great thing about the American Shorthair is they tend to get on with other animals and this includes dogs. However, because they are such good hunters, you need to be careful with them around any small family pets like mice, hamsters and pet rats.

American Shorthairs are robust cats with strong bodies and they are extremely agile characters which is why they are such good “ratters”. They boast a short and rather thick coat which can be a variety of colours including tabby and tortoiseshell although the best-known as previously mentioned, is the silver tabby.

Character-wise, the American Shorthair is a very adaptable cat and they fit in well to just about every environment which is why they make such lovely family pets to have around. They are not as demanding as other breeds, much like the British Shorthair, they like their independence and prefer to come to you rather than be picked up.

They are also very intelligent pussy cats that get on well with both people and dogs but you would need to keep an eye on them if you share your home with any small animals because these felines have a pretty strong prey drive.


Both the American and the British Shorthair make lovely family pets because they are both such laid back characters to have around. However, because they boast pretty good hunting skills, you need to be a little careful if you share your home with any small pets like mice, guinea pigs or hamsters, but with this said both the British and the American Shorthair tend to be good around both children and dogs which is just one of the reasons they are among the most popular breeds on the planet.



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