One of the most popular and oldest breeds of cat found in Europe, the European Shorthair is a great low-maintenance family pet, although they can be territorial around other cats, so choose a second cat with care.
The European Shorthair is a medium to large cat with a stocky, muscular body. The head is fairly rounded and has well developed jowls and a short nose. Their coat is short and sleek with strands that lie flat and close to the body. The breed standard recognises a broad range of colours with tabby patterns being very popular, but tortoiseshell and other solid combinations also being acceptable.
The legs are sturdy, of average length, and end in round paws. A tail that starts fairly thick at the base tapers towards a rounded point. Wide set ears are as high as they are wide at the base and form a slightly rounded tip. Round medium set eyes are accepted in any colour with the most common being blue, amber and green — interestingly they often present with odd-coloured eyes like the Khao Manee cat.
There is some debate around the origins of the European Shorthair cat. Some believe the breed originated in Ancient Rome — a descendant of the African Wild cat imported by the Romans some 2,000 years ago, most likely as a means to control the rodent population. In other circles it’s thought that it may be a descendant of the native European Wild cat and just to make things more confusing many also consider the European Shorthair to have originated out of Sweden as early as 500 B.C.
Surprisingly, it is only recently that the European Shorthair has become recognised as a breed in its own right.
This is one of the purest breeds of cats that replicates many of its traits without any outside help from professional breeders. As the majority of cats are born outside of controlled breeding operations it is extremely difficult to pin down a temperament for the breed as a whole.
However, in general terms, the European Shorthair is a smart, loving and playful cat. They enjoy human companionship but they can be very territorial when it comes to other cats, so it’s wise to ensure you a good personality fit if you introduce a second cat into your home.
Most examples of the breed are very active cats who crave wide open spaces and who love nothing more than to spend a great deal of their time mousing, while others will be more content to just hang out with their owners. Basically, each cat needs to be judged on its own merits.
Did you Know?
The European Shorthair is known by various names including the Celtic Shorthair and BondKatt, which is Swedish for farm cat.
People often refer to any stray shorthair as the European Shorthair but this is incorrect. Cats of unknown parentage are officially known as Domestic Shorthairs.
Caring for Your European Shorthair Cat
Because of the diverse nature of the gene pool there are no known genetically passed health concerns for the European Shorthair. However, genetically passed deafness has been associated with the blue-eyed white haired variety.
With its short, dense coat the European Shorthair is extremely easy to care for – weekly grooming is enough to keep your cat’s coat in top condition.
Many breeders do not recommend the European Shorthair for homes with young children as it is near impossible to determine a cat’s temperament while they are still kittens.
If you have a European Shorthair cat in your life, please share your experiences below.