A short course into the origin of the British cats’ species.
Originally it was in 1871 when people first started mentioning British Shorthair cat breed on showing several of their representatives on the first cat exhibition in Britain. There are several opinions existent about the original history of this breed, but it is very hard to prove any of those, because there is little documentation proof left.
First version (that is most accepted by the phelinologists) mentions that sky blue shorthair British cats were developed by the way of cross-breeding sky blue shorthair pet cats with wild British and European cats belonging to no particular breed in the middle of the nineteenth century. The selection was aimed at strengthening of the short plush fur, enlarging the general size of the cat and increasing the weight of the skeleton system in the descendants of this particular breed, what led to the appearance of the exterior properties, that, at the moment, are the main factors of a British Shorthair cat.
Second version mentions that the bastard (the prototype) of the British cats is the Shartrez (Cartesian cats) breed that has been first mentioned about in the middle of the thirteenth century. It is thought that monks from an ancient French monastery Grand-Chartreuses have brought, from their missions in African countries, wild African cats with very beautiful blue plush fur, copper eyes and brave, proud character. There is an opinion that the monks used these cats for protection of the monastery from wild dogs (that explains the territorial behaviour of the Brits), when their plush fur was used for making warn, good-looking clothes. And that is true that there is a big type similarity between Chartreuse and Brits. On the modern exhibitions, it is only an experienced judge that can distinguish them between each other by slight differences in the shapes of their heads and the structure of their fur. Chartreuse breed has been used in the middle of the twentieth century for the restoration of the population of the British cats’ breed, a large proportion of which has been lost during the Second World War. And in its turn, sky blue wildcat breeds have been used for the restoration of the Chartreuse breed, large proportion of which has been lost during the Second World War as well. Nowadays, relationships between these breeds are not accepted (and banned in some countries) by phelinologistic societies. These two breeds exist apart from each other.
The third version says that the ancestors of the British cats were brought to the British islands by the conquerors from the Ancient Rome in the middle of the Second millennium A.D. and that the ancient Egyptian temple cats have originated the family of the British Shorthair breed.
The fourth version assumes that the ancestors of the British cats were brought to the British islands from Russia on the ships of Russian sailors during their travels on the seas of the Far North of the Europe. And it is true then that stocky Brit is quite well used to travels on a boat during a sea storm. It is also known that cats have been specially kept on boats since the ancient times for the purposes of getting rid of the rats and mice. The pictures then of Russian cats on popular prints look like photographs of a popular thoroughbred cat smile of modern British cats, when the fur colour of the time-honoured breed of the sky blue Russian cats is very much alike the fur of the classic British cat!
But wherever the British Shorthair breed comes from, we must say our thanks to the labours of the nineteenth century British selectioners. They could see and strengthen those exterior signs in the family that distinguish the breed of British cats and make it recognisable to all. They have managed to develop not only a mighty, beautiful and gracious breed, but the one that is useful in everyday life, is almost absolutely prone to any illness and is ideally suited for the general climate of our country, what makes British cats favourite pets among all of the other known cat breeds.
Standards of the species of the British cats.
Black, sky blue (light black version) and white were the main monochrome colours of the first British shorthair cats. Chocolate and lilac (light chocolate version) appeared some time later on. At the moment the only colours that have not been accepted in Britain are Abyssinian agouti and colour-point with white. But very often, in a pursuit for fashionable colour, owners forget about exterior qualities that are very important for a sound and full-blooded outlook of a British cat. The disadvantages of going away from traditional colours are: hallowed cheeks, the face, the body and paws extend, forehead twists and fur looses its natural plush. It is not genetically proven yet, but there is a strong connection between monochrome colours (mainly sky blue and lilac) and the expression of the main breed factors of the exterior of this particular breed. That’s why every respected owner of a British cat will have a clear selection process of the breed cats not just by the cats’ colour but also by the exterior of the animal. It is very hard to keep any new colour in a harmonic balance with the natural exterior of a British cat. Highly exterior Brit that has got a new fur colour is the result of a very hard work of the cats’ owner!
British cats can be characterised by sex dimorphism, which means that male and female cats differ from each other by several factors. On the one hand, male cat is larger than the female cat in all ways, for instance large jaws and cheeks that extend further than shoulder joints, which is the true property of a male British cat, and on the other hand, female cat is more gracious but is as stocky as a male cat and she has got cheeks, which are the properties that make her head look almost like a perfect circle, looking at it front the front.
Large body mass, wide chest and stockiness of the Brit make these cats look like “cat sumo wrestlers”. Surely then, a magnificent “smile of a Cheshire cat”, which appears because of the highlighted pillows of the vibrissae on a little bit flattened face with wide open, almost round, eyes, make the face of the British cat humanly fairly tail outlook.
The tail of this Brit is distinctive as well: it is mighty and wide at the base, medium in size and smoothly shortened by the rounded end.
The eye colour of the British cats of classic monochrome colours varies from lemon-amber to rich copper. Monotone eyes of the British cat can be of any colour, but it must match a generally accepted standard for this particular colour.
British cats’ fur is one of the breed developing factors. It is only comparable with mink during a winter period, because it is very compact and tight, it is also short and it has got a pronounced undercoat and it is non-sticky (frequently mentioned as stuffed). Kittens’ fur differs from grown ups’ one (it is called childish: kittens sometimes look like bear cubs in an aura of “hair splash”, because of the abundance of the undercoat), but after a few moultings it becomes of the double texture, which has been discussed previously, and become shorthaired and plush when the cat reaches 8 to 12 months of age.
British Cats’ disadvantages
Head which may be too round and distinguished step (a crossing from the nose to the forehead), undercoat or ousted hair can be too lengthened or not distinguished, tail that is shortened or too long: all of these factors can be transferred to any cat that had any relations with Persian or other cat breeds, which is strictly not banned for thoroughbred Brit. Such factors cannot be a reason for disqualification at the international exhibitions (apart from inborn disabilities), but if your British cat has got such disadvantages, it will significantly lower the exterior mark given by the judges to the pet.