Cat Breeds 101: European Shorthair!

Cat Breeds 101: European Shorthair!Photo – Wikipedia – lic. under CC 3.0

The European Shorthair, also called the Celtic Shorthair, is one of the most common cat breeds found in Europe. And yes, true to its name, it has short hair.

Experts say the European Shorthair is most likely the oldest breed of cat found in the European continent – as old as the Roman Empire that used to rule the land. And according to these same experts, the cat’s short hair is one reason for the cat’s historical longevity! Apparently, the cat’s short-haired coat makes it far less prone to getting caught up in bushes or infected by skin parasites, etc., so the cat thrived more easily than it would have with a coat of longer hair. Their easy-to-groom coat also makes it easier for European Shorthairs to keep themselves looking neat and attractive to human eyes.

If you own a European Shorthair, you have a rather easy life as far as coat grooming is concerned because you only need to brush your pet’s coat once a week. This brushing is somewhat more for your human peace of mind than due to any real need from the cat, because in truth, as far as basic coat grooming is concerned, the European Shorthair is quite capable of managing that by itself, without help from you. If you really want to be useful, you should focus on caring for your cat’s teeth, ears, and nails instead.

One of the distinguishing features of the European Shorthair is its stocky build. You can say it is a more muscular version of its US counterpart, the American Shorthair. Its eyes can be blue or green or amber – or it could even be two of those colors in one cat. Its eyes and face are rounded, with no sharp angles anywhere. The European Shorthair is truly a very pleasant-looking cat.

But its good looks is not the only thing that makes the European Shorthair so popular. When this cat breed first spread all over Europe, it became a welcome addition to farms because it was such a good rodent catcher. [1] Another good thing about the European Shorthair is that it has few breed-related health issues. Its biggest inherited health disorder, polycystic kidney disease, is still not considered a huge health risk. [2] A gene test can help you determine whether your cat has a risk for this disease at all.

Today, breeders so love the European Shorthair that they are working towards preserving the cat’s historical look rather than pushing for a pedigreed appearance. This means that the European Shorthair you see today looks very much like what a Roman soldier might have kept at home as a pet over a thousand years ago.

Now the ancient Romans may have enjoyed their European Shorthair cats very much, but you may wonder, “Would this rugged breed be a good pet for a modern family?”

Truth to tell, it is difficult to say. The temperament of the European Shorthair is as varied as the individual cats themselves. It can be highly territorial – then again, it may not. [3] It is likely to be patient with children, but it could be a different story altogether when it comes to other family pets. Our recommendation is, before adding another cat permanently into your European Shorthair’s household, make sure the newcomer is welcomed by your European Shorthair cat.

[1] European Shorthair | Cats 101. Animal Planet.

[2] European Shorthair. International Cat Care.

[3] European Shorthair Cats. Catster.

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