The Domestic Shorthair Cat Lifespan - My British Shorthair (2023)

The domestic shorthair cat is the backbone of the feline population in many countries. The term applies to any cat with short hair and no specific pedigree. The term can also cover some mixed-breed cats, ones that have cross-bred with cats like the British Shorthair. The average lifespan of a domestic shorthair is about 13 years, although they can live much longer. With proper care, a very sturdy domestic shorthair can live well into the late teens or even 20s. Much depends on the kind of care a cat receives.

The domestic shorthair cat lifespan is around 12-14 years, although they can live for longer. You can prolong your domestic shorthair cat’s lifespan through vaccinations, regular vet check-ups, good nutrition, early de-sexing and by keeping them indoors. Domestic cats do not have any breed-specific conditions but they can suffer from common feline ailments, which should be treated promptly.

The Domestic Shorthair Cat Lifespan - My British Shorthair (1)

You’ve arrived on this page because you have questions about domestic shorthair cats. How long do domestic shorthair cats usually live? Can they live for a long time? What should I do to make sure my domestic shorthair cat lives a healthy life? How can I prolong my domestic shorthair’s life? Should I have my domestic shorthair spayed or neutered? In this article, I’ll be answering all of these questions. You’ll discover how long domestic shorthair cat usually live and how to ensure that your cat has a long, enjoyable life. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.

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(Video) 10 Interesting Facts About Domestic Shorthair Cats

Domestic Shorthair Cat Lifespan

According to most reliable resources, the average lifespan of a domestic shorthair cat is around 13 years. Some resources are more specific, listing 12 to 14 years. In fact, lifespans can vary significantly. Unlike pedigree breeds like the American Shorthair or British Shorthair, it’s hard to make specific predictions about domestic shorthairs. Much depends on how the cat is looked after, from the beginning of their lives through to their senior years.

READ ALSO:Where To Find British Shorthair Cats For Rehoming?
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Good care starts in kittenhood. Kittens should stay with their mother until they’re at least 12 weeks old, preferably sixteen. They should be spayed or neutered as soon as they’re big enough. Early de-sexing may be performed when the cat is as young as six to eight weeks — common among breeders, who don’t want to hand over an entire cat. Many vets prefer to wait until the cat is around five months old. If you do wait, you will need to make absolutely certain that male and female cats are kept separate once they are old enough to breed. For females, this is around four months.

Unwanted kittens are just one of the possible problems that entire cats may face. Neutering toms reduces aggression. It also lowers the likelihood of spraying, destructive behaviour, escape attempts and loud vocalisations. For females, it’s vital that they are spayed as early as your vet thinks best. Spaying a queen cat before her first heat virtually eliminates the risk of mammary cancer, as well as making ovarian and uterine cancers impossible. It also prevents other medical conditions that affect the ovaries and womb. De-sexing is inexpensive, and it certainly costs less than treating health conditions down the line.

(Video) 5 Things You Must Never Do to Your British Shorthair

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Kittens should receive their scheduled vaccinations in order to prevent disease. All these vaccines are well-tested, safe and effective. Your vet should look over the kittens shortly after you get them to make sure they’re healthy and have no parasites or infections.

Caring For Young Domestic Cats

Kittens require proper nutrition. They’re very active and will be doing a lot of growing. You will usually be taking possession of kittens after they’re weaned. If for some reason you’re rearing them yourself, you should start them on a little solid food once they have all their teeth. Begin by mashing up small amounts of good quality cat food with kitten milk and offering small portions to the kitten.

READ ALSO:Do Cats Have Eyebrows?

Don’t allow kittens to overeat, as this will make them sick. You don’t need to worry about their weight at this point. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an obese kitten. They burn off any extra calories through play.

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I’m not completely sold on kitten food formulas. There’s nothing wrong with them — I’m just not sure they’re actually necessary. All my kittens have done just fine on adult cat food, mashed up to make it easier for them to eat. If you want to offer kitten food, though, that’s fine. As long as the food is grain-free and contains plenty of good quality protein, your kitten should do well.

(Video) 10 Reasons Why You Should Have A British Shorthair Cat in Your Home

Play with your young cats as much as possible. The exercise will help them develop their muscles and stimulate their minds. If you encourage them to be active now, they’ll slow down less as they get older. Play will also produce a more sociable adult.

Indoor or Outdoor?

I am a rather hard-nose proponent of an indoor-only lifestyle for all cats. I’m aware of all the arguments for indoor-outdoor cats. Outdoors is more natural; cats are happier if thy can roam freely; going outside provides stimulation and exercise; and so on and so forth. They’ll argue that their cats are chipped and equipped with collars and bells, so they can easily be tracked down and returned if they get lost.

While all this may be true, the great outdoors is full of hazards for any cat. Traffic often kills cats. They can get into unsecured outbuildings and become trapped. There are dogs, other cats, and wild predators such as foxes that can harm cats.

READ ALSO:What do British Shorthair cats eat? Recommended Food List
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Humans also represent a threat. While a domestic shorthair isn’t at risk of money-related kidnappings as a pedigree cat might be, they can still be scooped up by busybodies who want to re-home the “stray” or who simply want to make a cat owner miserable.

(Video) Should You Keep A British Shorthair Cat Indoors?

There are also other animals that should concern you. While cats might be docile and amicable at home, when they’re outside in the world their predatory instincts can take over. Domestic cats kill a positively terrifying amount of wildlife every year. I’d rather mine not add to the body count.

The bottom line is that if you want a long life for your cat, that life should be lived indoors. You can compromise with a secure enclosure or walks on a lead.

Caring For Your Domestic Shorthair

Cats in general need a certain amount of grooming to keep their coats healthy. Domestic Shorthair tabby cats don’t need much — just the occasional brush or comb session to get rid of loose fur and dead skin. Check for fleas and other parasites. Check your pet’s eyes, nose and the inside of her ears to make sure there’s no inflammation or discharge.

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Since your cat will be living indoors, the environment should be stimulating and congenial. Provide safe, comfortable spots where your cat can “hide” while she observes what’s going on. Cat habitats, enclosed beds, wide padded shelves where they can perch — all these are ideal. Cat trees are fantastic. Your cat will also need a good scratching pole; this isn’t just to prevent them from clawing your furniture, but is important for your cat’s well-being. Scratching keeps cat’s claws from becoming ingrown and allows them to properly stretch tendons and muscles.

READ ALSO:Can British Shorthair Cats Be Left Alone?
(Video) Things to Know Before Getting a British Shorthair Cat | The Cat Butler

Carry on playing with your cat as she gets older. Cats who don’t get this kind of engagement can develop a range of problems. Some become lethargic. Others can become anxious and irritable, more prone to destructiveness, excessive vocalisations and other problematic behaviours.

Temperaments can vary wildly among domestic short haired cats. As a rule, though, your cat will tend to slow down once they reach their second year. It’s important that you keep up the play sessions anyway. Engaging your cat’s instinct to chase and pounce will help them stay fit through exercise.

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Yearly vet visits are important, increasingly so as your cat gets older. If you see any major changes in your cat’s personality, behaviour or litter-box habits, report these to your vet. They may be a sign that your cat is unwell. Early intervention is important in managing some conditions, so don’t hesitate to get your domestic shorthair check out if something isn’t right.


Do British Shorthairs live longer? ›

It takes a British Shorthair 3-5 years to reach physical maturity, meaning they look great a lot longer than other cats. In addition, their life expectancy is greater than most breeds – the British Shorthair often lives in excess of 20 years.

What is the longest living British Shorthair cat? ›

They're a healthy breed

Nevermind nine lives — their relatively minor health concerns mean British Shorthairs have a great life expectancy - up to nearly 20 years! One cat named Cola, from Kent, even reached an impressive 28 years, and may even be the oldest British Shorthair cat!

How long does domestic shorthair cat live? ›

American Shorthair

Most are generally healthy but can be prone to heart disease. The breed has an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years.

Is British Shorthair domestic shorthair? ›

domestic shorthair, also called British Shorthair, breed of domestic cat often referred to as a common, or alley, cat; a good show animal, however, is purebred and pedigreed and has been carefully bred to conform to a set standard of appearance.

Why do British Shorthairs sleep so much? ›

They use a lot of energy when they hunt prey, and it may be a while before they catch anything, so sleeping is the best way for them to conserve energy between hunts.

Are British Shorthair cats smart? ›

The British Shorthair is a very intelligent, gentle cat breed who is well suited to calm and quiet life.

How long do indoor British Shorthair cats live? ›

This breed is quite hardy, with the average lifespan being around 15 years. However, some British Shorthairs have been known to live as long as 20 years — giving you more time to love and spoil them. Ensure they get lots of exercise, you feed them well and pay regular trips to the vet.

Do British Shorthairs have breathing problems? ›

Like Persians, British Shorthairs have a slightly brachycephalic head shape. Despite this trait, these felines don't suffer from any chronic breathing problems or eye infections because their tear ducts are not shortened, and their noses are not flattened.

Do cats know their names? ›

Unlike dogs, cats are not known for coming when called. But if your cat doesn't move a whisker when you call its name, it doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't know its name. According to a study1 published in 2019 in the journal Scientific Reports, cats do, in fact, recognize their own names.

Do female cats live longer? ›

As in humans, female cats tend to live for longer than male cats. Neutered cats are also likely to live for longer than intact ones, and pure breed cats are less likely to live as long as crossbreeds.

How can I make my cat live longer? ›

9 Tips to Help Your Cat Live Longer
  1. Keep Up with Those Vet Visits. Regular nose-to-tail examinations are a must for keeping your feline in tip-top shape. ...
  2. Keep Them Inside. ...
  3. Keep Them Hydrated. ...
  4. Spay or Neuter. ...
  5. Improve Their Diet. ...
  6. Manage Their Weight. ...
  7. Dental Hygiene. ...
  8. Fend Off Boredom.
May 31, 2018

Is British Shorthair a rare cat? ›

British shorthairs are also known as British blue cats due to their blue-grey coats. The American Cat Association recognized them in 1967. It's a relatively uncommon breed, but they are known to be top-notch companions.

Do British Shorthairs need baths? ›

It's advisable to bathe your British Shorthair once a month or every six weeks. If you do it more frequently, you risk removing the natural oils, which will make your kitty's coat look dry. It's crucial not to skimp on the shampoo you use, so make sure you always pick high-quality products that contain essential oils.

Do British Shorthair cats like water? ›

Curious breeds, like the intelligent and personable British Shorthair, tend to be fascinated by anything that moves, like water running from a faucet. “They like to see everything going on and are intrigued by a shower and will hop right in if you let them,” Miller said.

Do British Shorthairs have a Favourite person? ›

British Shorthairs are still very loyal pets. These cats have a tendency to follow their favourite human around the house to stay close to them. And although they're usually quiet, your British Shorthair might “chat” with you from time to time, and they have a surprisingly soft, low voice.

Why do British Shorthairs not pick up? ›

Picking up your British Shorthair will have the same consequence as trying to hug them. In their view, trying to do it is like pulling their tail—uncomfortable and overly intrusive. Your kitty will patiently wait while you groom them, but picking them up without any reason and carrying them around is not welcome.

Do British Shorthairs like being picked up? ›

British Shorthairs are patient creatures and will tolerate being picked up for short periods. Your cat may even enjoy a very brief snuggle or two. Just keep it short and be alert to signs of discomfort.

Do British Shorthair cats get angry? ›

Some breeds are simply more prone to being highly strung and aggressive, while others aren't. With its easy nature, the British Shorthair may be just the cat you're seeking. That said, any cat can become aggressive under certain situations and the same is true of the gentle British Shorthair.

How often do British Shorthairs eat? ›

Typically, BSHs have a daily need of 44–53 calories per kilogramme of their body weight. On average, this breed does well on a 180–230 calorie diet per day, distributed over two to five small meals.

What do British Shorthair cats love? ›

The British Shorthair is an easygoing feline. She enjoys affection but isn't needy and dislikes being carried. She'll follow you from room to room, though, out of curiosity. British Shorthairs aren't lap cats, but they do enjoy snuggling next to their people on the couch.

Do British Shorthairs like dogs? ›

British shorthair cats are easygoing and will treat everyone in the family (including dogs and other cats) like a good friend, especially if socialized as kittens.

Why does my British Shorthair follow me everywhere? ›

There are many reasons your cat might follow you everywhere you go (including into the bathroom!). In most cases, it's simply because they see you as their parent figure and enjoy your company. However, cats are also curious creatures by nature, so they might also be drawn to your movement around the house.

Can I leave British Shorthair alone? ›

If you're looking for a lap cat, then the British Shorthair might not be the best pet for you. But they will like to snuggle up next to you on the sofa. They're also happy to be left alone all day just lazing around.

Do British Shorthair cats cuddle? ›

All about British Shorthairs

Very, but they are not cuddly. There is a difference: The British Shorthair is not a lap cat as a result of their thick fur. Cuddling too much will make them easily overheat. They prefer sitting by your side as a content companion.

What age do British Shorthair cats calm down? ›

Very energetic and playful as kittens, British Shorthairs tend to calm down around the age of 1, and as they become older can become couch potatoes. They are more suited to being indoor cats as they do not possess the curiosity of other breeds that so often gets them into trouble, nor are they likely to wander off.

Do British Shorthair cats get sick easily? ›

Like all cats, British Shorthairs are susceptible to bacterial and viral infections such as panleukopenia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, and rabies, which are preventable through vaccination.

Do British Shorthairs get sick a lot? ›

British Shorthairs are prone to a disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which can lead to heart failure. Whilst this condition is not curable, it can be treated with lifelong medication.

Do British Shorthairs need a lot of attention? ›

British Shorthair cats are not typically attention seeking and are not as vocal as many other breeds. They're very affectionate cats and become firmly attached to their owners. They aren't a high maintenance breed and you shouldn't need to spend much time on grooming.

Can cats cry? ›

Cats don't cry tears when they're sad or in pain. But Halls says whether your cat is experiencing emotional or physical pain, they'll exhibit behavioral changes that could include vocal crying. The sound of a cat crying is typically longer in duration and lower in frequency than day-to-day cat chatter.

Do cats recognize their owners face? ›

Cats cannot distinguish their owners by staring at them because their faces appear identical when they are at rest. Instead, cats distinguish between humans using sound and smell. Cats learn to identify their owner's voice, and regardless of whether they're wearing cologne, their skin emits a distinct aroma.

Why do cats lick you? ›

Your cat is expressing her affection for you.

Your cat's licking may be an affiliative behavior, which is a friendly, altruistic behavior. Mothers groom their kittens, and cats may groom one another, which is called allogrooming.

How old is a 13 year old cat in human years? ›

A 13 year old cat is the equivalent to 68 human years old.

Do cats pick a favorite person? ›

In a multi-human household, it seems that cats will choose one family member they want to spend more of their time with. According to a study done by the nutrition company, Canadae, they discovered that the person who makes the most effort is the favorite.

At what age is a cat considered a senior? ›

In recent years, feline ages and life-stages have been redefined, cats are considered to be elderly once they reach 11 years with senior cats defined as those aged between 11-14 years and super-senior cats 15 years and upwards. When caring for older cats it sometimes helps to appreciate their age in human terms.

What does a cat need to be happy? ›

5 essential things your cat needs to be happy
  • Plenty of exercise — read playtime. A healthy adult cat needs 15-20 minutes of play each day. ...
  • A view to the outdoors. Cats are inquisitive. ...
  • A place to scratch. Scratching posts are a personal preference. ...
  • A dark place to sleep. ...
  • A private toilet area.
Apr 5, 2022

Do cats live longer alone? ›

Cats that come in pairs tend to be healthier and live longer than single cats because they often get more exercise, which keeps their hearts healthy and reduces their stress. Additionally, exercise lessens the risk of having an overweight pet, and can add years to their life.

What is the rarest color for a cat? ›

The rarest cat color is albino. In order to get an albino cat, both parent cats must have two recessive genes and their offspring have to receive both.

Why are British Shorthairs so nice? ›

The British Shorthair is a very pleasant cat to have as a companion. She is easy going and placid. The British is a fiercely loyal, loving cat and will attach herself to every one of her family members. While the British loves to play, she doesn't need hourly attention.

What is the best food for British Shorthair? ›

The ideal diet for a British Shorthair should centre around animal protein, preferably from animals as close as possible to a cat's natural prey. Vegetable ingredients are largely unnecessary. Wet food is preferable to dry. Grains should be avoided, as should dairy.

Do British Shorthair cats meow a lot? ›

Do British Shorthair cats meow a lot? Yes, in general. You do find the odd quiet British Shorthair but this breed is rather notorious for being talkative. They tend to be chattiest when they want something like food, help to get in or out of the house, and their favourite thing of all: attention.

How often should you brush a British Shorthair? ›

Regular grooming is a must.

Brush your British Shorthair once or twice a week with a metal-tooth comb or rubber brush to help remove loose hair. During shedding seasons such as the spring or fall, I recommend once a day brushing. British Shorthair cats also need daily tooth brushing to help prevent dental disease.

How long do British Shorthairs live in human years? ›

Vital Stats
Coat:Silky and smooth, but very low maintenance.
Life span:Very variable, but often 8-12+ years

Are British Shorthairs rare? ›

British shorthairs are also known as British blue cats due to their blue-grey coats. The American Cat Association recognized them in 1967. It's a relatively uncommon breed, but they are known to be top-notch companions.

Why do British Shorthairs not like to be picked up? ›

Why do British Shorthair cats hate being picked up? Picking up your British Shorthair will have the same consequence as trying to hug them. In their view, trying to do it is like pulling their tail—uncomfortable and overly intrusive.

Do British Shorthairs like attention? ›

The British Shorthair is a very pleasant cat to have as a companion. She is easy going and placid. The British is a fiercely loyal, loving cat and will attach herself to every one of her family members. While the British loves to play, she doesn't need hourly attention.

Should you bathe cats once a year? ›

In general, cats should be given a bath once every 4-6 weeks, depending on how often they groom themselves, and the environment they're usually in. If your cat is more outdoorsy and soils itself while playing, it's a good idea to help with the grooming process as they alone won't be able to properly get cleaned.


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