In today’s world, where the luxury of pedigree animals is sometimes prioritised, the honest and simple image of the domestic shorthair cat is often relegated to the background. If you ask a passer-by what they know about the domestic shorthair breed, many will raise an eyebrow in surprise and refer to these sweet creatures as common “mutts”. But despite their humble “title”, they have won the hearts of millions of people around the world.
In America, where everyone loves statistics, the number of domestic shorthair cats is an astronomical 80 million. Worldwide their number exceeds 600 million!
The history of the domestic cat goes back to ancient times, and it may not be as colourful and rich as some pedigreed breeds. But that is what makes them so unique and special.
In ancient Egypt, cats held a place of honour and were symbols of the sacred. The goddess Bastet, one of the most revered gods of ancient Egypt, was often depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness or a domestic cat, and was the patroness of joy, fun, love and domesticity. The Egyptians treated cats with great respect, considering them sacred animals. However, despite their divine status, many cats lived free on the streets of ancient cities and became part of Egyptian daily life. They helped to control rodents and may have been the ancestors of our modern domestic cats.
Characteristics of appearance
Living proof of nature’s versatility and diversity, domestic shorthairs come in a wide variety of colours and patterns. From solid black, white or red to multicoloured and tabby, each cat has its own unique “pattern”. Tabby (striped), tortie (a mixture of several colours, most commonly red and black) and spotted are just some of the many colour variations. Each colour and pattern has its own history and inheritance, making each domestic shorthair cat unique and special.
Body shape and size
The physical characteristics of domestic shorthair cats also vary greatly. Some may have a muscular and sturdy build, while others may be more slender and graceful. Depending on genetic inheritance and living conditions, their size can range from small to large.
Muzzle and features
The muzzles of domestic shorthair cats represent true diversity. Some may be long and graceful, others short and rounded. The eyes are also strikingly different, ranging from large and expressive to small and pointed. Eye colour can vary greatly, from bright green or blue to deep browns or amber.
Ears and tail
Ears can be long and pointed or short and rounded. Tails range from long and fluffy to short and thin, and play an important role in expressing their moods and emotions.
Coat and grooming
Despite the name ‘shorthair’, the length and texture of the coat can vary between these cats. Most have a short, smooth coat that does not require much grooming. However, some cats may have a slightly longer and stiffer coat. Regular brushing will help remove dead hairs, prevent tangles and keep the cat’s skin healthy.
Regardless of their appearance, each domestic shorthair cat has its own personality, making it a special member of the family.
Shorthair cats are as varied in temperament as they are in appearance. Despite the general curiosity and independence that characterises most cats, each has its own individual traits.
Some can be active and playful, constantly seeking human attention and companionship. They may enjoy chasing a ball around the house or playing catch with other pets. Others prefer a quiet life, spending more time in cosy corners of the house or on windowsills, watching the world around them.
Relationships with people and other animals
Like most cats, domestic shorthairs appreciate attention and care from their owners. They can become devoted companions, sharing affectionate moments and cosy evenings on the sofa beside their owner.
However, relationships with other animals can have their own peculiarities. While many domestic shorthairs are friendly with other cats and even dogs, some can be territorial or jealous. However, with the right approach and socialisation, most are able to establish friendly relationships with other household pets.
It is important to remember that each cat is an individual and their personality and preferences may differ from the stereotypes described above. To truly understand your pet, it is important to give them time and attention, and to learn and observe their unique characteristics and behaviours.
Care and Health
Like any pet, domestic shorthair cats require special attention and care when it comes to health and grooming. Following some basic guidelines will help ensure your pet has a comfortable and happy life.
Good nutrition: A quality, balanced diet is the key to a long and healthy life for your cat. Choose a food that is formulated to meet all of your cat’s needs: adequate protein, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Make sure your cat has access to fresh water at all times.
Disease prevention and hygiene: Regular hygiene is an important part of caring for your cat. This includes ear cleaning, nail trimming and weekly dental checks for tartar. It is also a good idea to clean the litter tray regularly and provide a comfortable and clean place for your cat to rest.
Vaccinations and veterinary care: Vaccinations are essential to prevent many dangerous cat diseases. Keep up to date with your cat’s vaccination schedule and visit your vet regularly for check-ups. This will help to detect and prevent the development of any health problems early on.
Socialisation and training
Socialisation is an important stage in every cat’s life, especially if there are other animals or children in the house. From an early age, you should teach your cat to socialise with others and get used to different sounds, smells and situations. This will help your pet become more confident and calm.
In addition to socialisation, it is recommended that you teach your cat basic commands and good habits, such as scratching on special cat trees rather than furniture.
A cat needs regular exercise to stay healthy and fit. Toys, laser pointers or interactive games will help fulfil her natural need to move and hunt. Take time to play with your pet to keep them fit and prevent obesity.
Famous shorthair breeds
British Shorthair Cat: One of the most popular breeds in the world. These cats are known for their dense and fluffy coat, round eyes and strong build. British Shorthairs have a calm and even temperament, which makes them great pets.
American Shorthair: A breed originally bred in the United States. These cats have a slender build with a smooth and shiny coat. They are active, playful and sociable, which makes them easy to get along with children and other pets.
Russian Blue Cat: Although technically a shorthair cat, this breed has its own special feature – its coat has a small, fluffy undercoat. What makes the Russian Blue particularly attractive is its pale blue colouring and emerald green eyes. These cats are known for their calm and friendly nature.
Sphynx: Although this breed does not have a coat in the classic sense of the word, the Sphynx’s short down coat puts it in this category. Sphynxes are known for their curiosity, activity and affection for their owners.
These are just a few examples of the many short-haired cat breeds. Each breed is unique and deserves attention and love, and they all bring their own unique stamp to the cat world, enriching it with their character and appearance. However, whatever breed you choose, it is important to remember that each cat is an individual who requires a special approach, understanding and care.
Caring for a domestic shorthair cat is not only a responsibility, but also an opportunity to get to know and understand your pet better. By providing a comfortable environment, proper nutrition and care, you can ensure that your furry friend will live a long, happy and healthy life.
Prepared by Mary Clair