The British Blue cat, or the British Shorthair Blue, is more than what she seems.
A mellow, calm cat with a thick, short coat, she is actually a different color variant of the British Shorthair, rather than belonging to a separate breed.
These husky, muscular cats range in weight from nine to eighteen pounds, and are generally quite healthy.
Though they may not be as demonstrative as some cats, and don’t typically like sitting in laps or being held, they’re nonetheless very attached to their humans.
With a little more information in this article, you may very well decide that the British Blue cat is the perfect pet for you!
What’s In This Guide
- British Blue FAQs
- In-depth Breed Review
- Care and Feeding
- Pros And Cons Of Getting A British Blue Cat
British Blue FAQs
Our readers’ most popular and frequently asked questions about the British Blue cat.
- How big do British Blue cats grow?
- How long to British Blue cats live?
- Are British Shorthair Blue cats friendly?
British Blue Breed Review: Contents
- Where do British Blue cats come from?
- British Blue personality
- British Blue temperament
- Can British Blue cats go outside?
- How big are British Blue cats?
- British Blue colors
- Grooming your British Blue
- British Blue shedding
- Are British Blue cats hypoallergenic?
- British Blue health problems
- British Blue lifespan
- Caring for your British Blue
- Feeding your British Blue
- Are British Blue cats good pets?
- British Blue breeders
- Raising a British Blue kitten
- Rescuing a British Blue
- Popular British Blue breed mixes
What Is A British Blue Cat?
If you are a cat enthusiast, then you may be extremely familiar with some of the most common cat breeds.
Nothing screams unique like a Devon Rex or a Sphynx. However, the tried and true breeds like the British Shorthair or the British Blue are some of the more sophisticated, traditional kitty options.
If you really just want an adorable and beloved family feline with a cute face and big round cheeks, then you’ll almost definitely be interested in the British Blue.
British Blue History
The British Shorthair, British Blue, or the British for short, is the first cat fancy breed. Harrison Wier, an artist born in 1824, is credited as the creator of the breed standard.
Wier also organized the first cat show in the UK, which took place in 1871 and featured the British Blue. He also founded one of the first national feline organizations.
Before the rise of the standardized British Shorthair, it is speculated that the British Shorthair has its origins in Egyptian cats, which were eventually brought over to England by Roman invaders.
However, it wasn’t until later, around the beginning of the nineteenth century, that there was a focus on selectively breeding to develop the British Blue.
While the British Shorthair is the single oldest European cat breed, the breed was almost completely wiped out during World War II. Due to this, the cats were bred with domestic shorthairs, longhaired Persians, Russian Blue cats, and other breeds to save the British Blue cats from dying out.
This is one reason why the coloring is varied. However, many of the physical characteristics of the cat are very similar to their ancestors from the 1800s.
In the 1970s, the British Shorthair was formally recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association.
British Blue Personality
If you are described as fun and easy going, then the British Blue cat is the right pet for you.
These felines are described as warm, calm, and affectionate. However, the cats are rarely considered “lap cats.” You can expect your feline to sit close to you, but not on top of you.
Although you may notice your feline friend following closely behind you as you walk.
These cats have somewhat meek voices compared to their cousins. But they do have big personalities and a love of children and other animals.
British Blue Temperament
This energy also carries over into the hunting department, even when it comes to the more gentle and laid back cats.
This may not be shocking when you realize that the breed was originally developed from British barn cats.
As a natural protector of the barn, your feline will be an excellent mouser. If rodents are not a concern in your home, then it is wise to introduce some teaser toys to your feline’s environment.
Can British Blue Cats Go Outside?
British Blue cats tend to be independent, strong, and healthy. They also have a strong instinct to catch small prey.
If the environment around your home is safe for cats, then your British Blue may very well want to spend a great deal of time outside. And that should be fine, as long as you have the space to keep your cat safe.
With a strong mousing instinct like that of a British Blue, be aware that their hunting may cut down on how much cat food they need. These cats can tend toward obesity, so it’s important that they get enough exercise and don’t eat to excess.
For more information on the discussion on outdoor vs. indoor cats, take a look at this article.
British Blue Weight
British Blue cats are big and hefty, with broad, strong muscles.
This musculature adds density to the cat’s body. If you have ever heard the saying, “muscle weighs more than fat,” then you may not be surprised that the hefty breed weighs a whopping 18 pounds on the heavier end.
Lighter felines are still likely to weigh about nine pounds. While this is an average weight for British Blue cats, you do need to be aware of obesity issues. Since the cats are a bit calmer and more sedentary, you may eventually see quite the fat cat in your home.
British Blue Colors And Coats
As the name implies, a great many British Shorthair felines have the distinctive deep blue-gray coloring. However, the cats can also range in color from lilac, white, chocolate, black, to light gray.
The patterns of these cats vary as well. They feature solid, tabby, smoke, calico, and patched.
If you want a more traditional British Blue, then you should know there are a wide variety of terms used to describe the blue coloring you desire.
Some common names include solid blue, slate gray, and maltese. Blue can also be used to describe a light gray color, so the term may refer to a medium or lighter gray instead of the darker blue-gray.
When it comes to hair color, a picture may just be worth a thousand words. Especially if you are looking for that unique blue gray toned feline from from your local breeder.
British Blue Hair Length
When it comes to hair length, the British Blue cat has some more variation to choose from.
The most common of the breed are shorthair cats, and these are the ones that are most closely related to their original ancestors, even though the gene pool was expanded to include Russian Blue and Chartreux felines.
In an attempt to keep the British Blue breed alive and well, and with its original telltale color, some of the cats were bred with Persians. This is where the British Longhair comes from.
Grooming Your British Blue
Most cats of this breed are, as their name implies, short-haired. The plush, thick coat of the British Shorthair Blue should not require much grooming.
Although, of course, all cats do well with a brush down now and then! And it can be important to get your kitten used to this at an early age.
Brush your cat once or twice a week to keep up with loose hair. When the heavy coat is shed in the spring, they will need more frequent brushing.
If you are concerned about the possible grooming issues involved with the British Longhair, the good news is that the hair is more medium or medium-long due to the genetic mix that makes up the feline.
British Blue Shedding
The British Shorthair is not a high-shedding breed.
Some upkeep is needed to prevent surplus hair from being left everywhere — from furniture to clothing — especially during spring.
Are British Blue Cats Hypoallergenic?
Most people equate “hypoallergenic” with “non-shedding.” But the truth about that is that there are no cats that don’t shed. Even “hairless” cats, like the Sphynx, can have “down” and shed.
What hypoallergenic really means, according to one dictionary, is “relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.” So it is true that lower-shedding cats are “hypoallergenic” in this sense.
And British Blues are a lower-shedding cat.
However, anyone can develop allergies to any cat, if the circumstances trigger it. So while British Blue cats are low-shedding and may be classified as hypoallergenic, there is really no way to guarantee that they will not cause any type of allergic reaction in everyone.
British Blue Health Problems
British Blues have a fairly broad or varied gene pool compared to other cat breeds. While some cat fanciers may turn their nose up at this sort of variance, it is a very good thing if you want a happy and healthy feline friend.
When gene pools are smaller, this amplifies certain defects. While many defects and serious genetic anomalies are carried on recessive genes, it is likely for these genes to double up in future generations when gene pools are smaller. This can result in one of three types of anomalies that include lethal, impairing, and cosmetic varieties.
One such anomaly is the presence of a rare blood type in your British. While most cats have type A blood, many British cats have type B blood. While this does not lead to a serious health issue on its own, it can create an emergency situation if your feline needs an immediate surgical procedure. Basically, your veterinarian may not have the blood type on hand.
A simple blood test and a descriptive note in your cat’s chart can help to reduce future problems. If you want to help other felines with the rare blood type, then you can even go as far as setting your cat up as a blood donor.
Your vet can tell you more about this, and you should know that your cat will need to meet certain health requirements to give blood.
Other possible inheritable health problems for British Shorthair Blue cats include:
- Heart disease
- Arterial thromboembolism
- Polycystic Kidney Disease
- Neonatal Isoerythrolysis
Overweight British Blue Cats
Even with that list of potential problems, it is more likely that your cat will have a weight issue as her primary concern.
When it comes to the general cat population, about 50% of all cats seen by veterinarians are overweight, according to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Since British Blues are broad and muscular, it can be hard to determine whether your feline is muscular or obese.
Ask your veterinarian about the body condition scoring system. This system is used by many animal professionals to assess weight, and it can be used at home to help you identify weight issues before they cause health issues.
Like other cats, obese British Blues can develop diabetes. In fact, chunkier felines may be as much as four times more likely to form diabetes than ones with a healthy weight.
Overall, British Shorthairs of all colors are typically one of the healthiest breeds.
British Blue Lifespan
Everyone wants their beloved pet to live forever. And frequently, cats can live quite a long time.
The British Blue is no exception.
Due to the large gene pool of the breed and few overall health problems, you can expect your adorable teddy bear faced friend to live 14 to 20 years.
Caring For Your British Blue
Since obesity is the main problem facing a British Blue, caring for your cat will definitely include monitoring her eating habits!
But it’s also good to take preventative measures. Though British Blues tend to be laid-back, fairly chill animals, they’re still cats. And that means that they can often be engaged with a toy.
British Blue Food
Remember, if your cat is outside, she may be adding to her diet with the prey she catches. So take that into account when deciding how much to feed her.
Research indicates that a dry food diet can increases risks in cats who are already susceptible to diabetes. So you may want to think about switching your British over to a wet food diet instead of a free-fed dry one.
Are British Blue Cats Good Pets?
As far as kitties go, British Blue cats are ideal for both families and quiet homes.
If you have a family, then you’ll notice your cat will be unlikely to favor one member over another. This can really cut down on hurt feelings if you have several children.
However, do not let your cat’s mellow personality fool you.
Research shows that cats do enjoy social interaction with their humans more than they desire toys or food. So make sure to give your feline all the attention and play time he can get.
While cuddles are a good choice, do not pick up your British Blue cat.
British Blue Breeders
There are several resources you can use to find British Blue breeders. The International Cat Association (TICA) is one such resource.
You can also look for The Cat Fanciers’ Association logo on breeder websites. Their logo means that the breeder is in good standing with the association. It also means the breeder has registered at least one litter with the CFA within the last two years.
Of course, your vet is also a great resource when it comes to finding a reputable breeder.
Make sure to avoid pet stores and other disreputable sources that don’t put the health and welfare of their animals above a quick payday. The breeder should perform health checks of the parents and each kitten, and be aware of the importance of socialization.
If you do decide to go with a breeder, then you should choose your British Blue kitten carefully. British cats are on the calmer side. So you may want to choose one of the livelier kittens. This is especially if you have children or other pets in the home who may want to play.
There are just a few other things to keep in mind as well. Make sure the eyes and nose are clear with no discharge. Ears should be clean, and the mouth should show light pink gums. The body should be symmetrical, with no lumps, sores, or matted hair.
British Blue Kittens
Of course, once you’ve brought the kitten home, the adventure is just getting started!
Choosing a kitten from a reputable breeder will give her the best possible start in life. But now it’s up to you as the pet parent to make sure that this good start doesn’t go awry!
Rescuing A British Blue
If you decide to rescue a cat, there are a few benefits.
- First, you will be able to tell more about the individual cat’s personality.
- Second, adoption fees are usually much less than a breeder.
- Third, shelter or rescue cats usually have a health checkup and are given their shots.
- And lastly, and most importantly, you’re providing a home to a cat in need!
That being said, there are very few dedicated British Blue cat rescues that can be contacted for adoptions. Since the felines are healthy, affectionate, and calm, they do not pose some of the same problems as others breeds that make them prone to abandonment.
British Blue Mixes
If you are not interested in paying a small fortune for your feline and if you cannot find a rescue, then you can go with a cat cross, a mix, or a hybrid.
In the most basic sense, a mixed cat may be something like a purebred British bred with a common house cat.
This feline may not have its papers declaring it a purebred, but if you are really looking for the cutesy face and laid back personality of the British Blue cat, then this may be a great option for you.
You also have the option of looking for a hybrid feline. When it comes to domestic hybrids, the California Spangled is what you should be looking for.
This cat is a Manx, Siamese, British, and feral cat hybrid and has the distinctive chubby and teddy bear face of the British Blue.
Pros And Cons Of Getting A British Blue
- Tendency to become overweight
- As a hunter, may bring prey to the house
- Does not like to be picked up
- Can sometimes be aloof
- Long haired variants require some more grooming
- Family friendly
- Has a soft voice
- Generally easy to groom
- Very healthy
Should I Get A British Blue?
British Blues are cute, calm, and healthy cats. Not only are the felines a great choice for families, but they do well with other pets and with single owners too.
The British felines are quite common as well, so you surely will not have trouble locating one. But your veterinarian can help you if you want to locate the most reputable breeder possible.
Do you have your own British Blue cats or are you searching for the cat with the most pinchable cheeks? Let us know in the comments below.
References And Resources
- Gough A, Thomas A, O’Neill D. 2018 Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats. Wiley Blackwell
- Hawes et al. Factors Informing Outcomes for Older Cats and Dogs in Animal Shelters
- O’Neill et al. Longevity and mortality of cats attending primary care veterinary practices in England
- Silvestre-Ferriere, A.C., et al, “Feline Neonatal Isoerythrolysis and the Importance of Feline Blood Types,” Veterinary Medicine International, 2010.
- British Shorthair, Aubrey Animal Medical Center
- Kristyn R. Vitale Shreve, Lindsay R.Mehrkamb, Monique A.R. Udell. Social interaction, food, scent or toys? A formal assessment of domestic pet and shelter cat (Felis silvestris catus) preferences. Behavioural Processes. Volume 141, Part 3, August 2017, Pages 322-328
- M. Öhlund,corresponding author 1 A. Egenvall, 1 T. Fall, 2 H. Hansson‐Hamlin, 1 H. Röcklinsberg, 3 and B.S. Holst. Environmental Risk Factors for Diabetes Mellitus in Cats. J Vet Intern Med. 2017 Jan-Feb; 31(1): 29–35. Published online 2016 Dec 1. doi: 10.1111/jvim.14618
- Sarah Hartwell. 2008-2015 Genetic Anomalies of Cats
- Feline Obesity
This article has been extensively revised and updated for 2019.
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