British Longhair Cats: British Longhair Silver Shaded Point

British Longhair Cats: Care and Personality | What You Need to Know If You’re Thinking of Getting a British Longhair Cat

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Are you ready to unlock the enchanting world of feline companionship? If the idea of adding a touch of sophistication to your life intrigues you, join me on a quest to unravel the secrets of British Longhair cats—an adventure that begins with history, meanders through distinctive traits, and ultimately leads to a profound understanding of these delightful feline friends.

So, get ready for a purr-fectly charming exploration into the realm of British Longhair cat parenthood!

Brief History

The British Longhair cat’s roots can be traced back to the AD era, when Roman conquerors brought their domestic cats from Egypt to Britain, aiming to control rodent populations in their newly established settlements. These Roman felines, with their sturdy build and adaptability, mingled with the native wildcats, giving rise to a diverse and resilient population of street cats.

In the mid-20th century, British breeders stepped into the picture, fascinated by the potential of these street cats. Embarking on a selective breeding journey, they sought to refine the breed’s characteristics, focusing on individuals with a sturdy build, a round face, and an endearing teddy bear-like appearance.

To achieve the desired long, flowing coat, they introduced the longhair gene through crossbreeding with imported breeds like the Turkish Angora and the Persian.

However, the two World Wars posed a significant threat to the British Longhair population, as many cats perished in the conflicts or were abandoned. In response, breeders remained undeterred, dedicating themselves to reviving the breed.

Through a strategy called outcrossing, they introduced genes from other breeds, including the Burmese, the Chartreux, and the Russian Blue. This approach not only helped restore the breed’s numbers but also diversified its color and pattern range.

In recent years, however, breeders have shifted their focus to restoring the British Longhair to its original standards. By limiting breeding to British Shorthairs or other British Longhairs, they have safeguarded the preservation of the breed’s distinctive traits.

In 2008, the World Cat Federation (WCF) granted the British Longhair official recognition as a distinct variety, followed by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 2009.

Physical Features

British Longhair cats have a plush and luxurious coat that stands away from the body, giving them a fluffy appearance. It can be any natural feline color or pattern, such as black, white, blue, red, cream, tortoiseshell, tabby, or bicolor. It is also weather-resistant and easy to maintain, as it does not mat or tangle easily.

British Longhairs have a round and sturdy body, with a broad chest and a thick neck. Their head is also round, with large, expressive eyes that match the coat color. Additionally, their ears are medium-sized and set wide apart, while their nose is short and straight. On the other hand, their legs are short and strong, while the paws are round and compact. Their tail is medium in length and tapers to a rounded tip.

These cats are a medium-sized breed, weighing between 8 and 16 pounds, and measuring between 14 and 20 inches in length. Males are usually larger than females, and the breed reaches its full size and weight by the age of three.

However, they are not hypoallergenic, as they produce the same amount of Fel d 1 protein as other cat breeds, which is the protein that most people are allergic to. This protein is found in cat saliva, dander, and urine.

British Longhair Cats: British Longhair Lilac
Image Credit: Sylvie MM / Flicker


The British Longhair is a very calm and even-tempered cat that loves to spend time with their human family, but also respects their boundaries. They are very affectionate and loyal, and they will bond strongly with you and your family. However, they are not overly needy or clingy, and they can entertain themselves when left alone. They are also okay with being left alone during the day.

In addition, they are very adaptable and tolerant, and they can adjust to different environments and situations easily.

British Longhair cats are moderately vocal. They will communicate with you with their distinctive voice and make sure to let you know what they want and how they feel.

They are also generally good with children and other pets. They are known for their gentle and patient nature, and they are often tolerant of even the most rambunctious children. They are also relatively playful and enjoy interacting with others.

Health Issues & Lifespan

The British Longhair is a generally healthy cat, and when cared for properly can live as long as 20 years, although their average lifespan is around 15 to 17 years.

However, they may still experience common health issues that would need regular veterinary care and attention. Some of these include:

•  Obesity. British Longhairs tend to be less active, but they possess a hearty appetite and can readily put on weight when overfed or lacking exercise.

Excessive weight gain can contribute to a range of health issues, including liver disease, respiratory problems, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. As such, it’s important to keep a close eye on your cat’s weight and ensure they receive a well-balanced diet tailored to their nutritional requirements.

Additionally, incorporating regular exercise and stimulation into their routine is essential for maintaining their fitness and overall happiness.

•  Polycystic kidney disease. This is a disorder characterized by the formation of cysts in the kidneys, leading to diminished function and eventual failure. It is inherited and can affect British Longhairs, as well as other breeds such as Persians and Exotics. Symptoms include increased thirst and urination, weight loss, vomiting, and lethargy.

There is no cure for this condition, but it can be managed with medication, diet, and fluid therapy. Therefore, you should have your cat tested for this condition before breeding and monitor their kidney function regularly.

•  Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is a type of heart disease where the heart muscle becomes thickened and enlarged, impairing its ability to pump blood effectively. This condition can affect British Longhairs, as well as other breeds such as Maine Coons and Ragdolls. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, fainting, weakness, and sudden death.

There is no cure for this condition, but it can be treated with medication, diet, and lifestyle changes. Therefore, you should have your cat screened for this condition before breeding and monitor their heart function regularly.

Special Care Needs

British Longhair cats are easy to care for, but it’s essential to be mindful of their specific needs to guarantee their health and well-being.


British Longhair cats boast a dense, luxurious coat that needs regular grooming to prevent matting and hairballs. You should use a bristle brush to gently groom them a few times each week, working in small sections.

You should also trim their nails every two weeks or as needed and start this habit when they are young to get them used to it.

Frequent bathing is unnecessary as British Longhair cats are generally adept at managing their own grooming needs. However, you should still regularly inspect and clean their ears and eyes.

In addition, due to their susceptibility to dental issues, you should either brush their teeth daily or provide them with dental treats to prevent the accumulation of plaque and tartar.


British Longhairs are not very active, but they do enjoy some playtime and exercise to keep them fit and happy. They are also very intelligent, and they like to learn new tricks and games.

Additionally, they are not very agile or acrobatic, and they prefer to keep their feet on the ground.

However, they enjoy perching and observing their surroundings. As such, ensure they have access to shelves, cat trees, and windowsills. Also offer them an assortment of toys and games that engage their curiosity and intelligence. These can include feather wands, puzzle toys, and catnip mice.

RELATED: Understanding Cat Behaviors: 140 Cat Behaviors Explained


Although British Longhair cats are very calm and even-tempered and not overly needy or clingy, they still crave human attention and interaction. As such, you should spend as much time as possible with them and give them lots of love and cuddles.

Fun Facts

Here are some fascinating facts about the British Longhair cat:

  • The British Longhair, a comparatively recent breed, traces its lineage directly back to the British Shorthair.
  • While sharing similarities with the British Shorthair, the British Longhair is not merely a longhaired counterpart. The two breeds exhibit notable differences in facial structure and temperament, influenced by the Persian lineage in the British Longhair.
  • The British Longhair’s coat can have a variety of natural feline colors or patterns, such as cream, red, blue, white, black, tabby, tortoiseshell, or bicolor. Their eye color also matches the shade of their coat, ranging from green, blue, amber, and gold to brown.
  • British Longhairs appear to be smiling–a result of their distinctive facial features, including prominent jowls and whisker pads.
  • Their fluffy appearance and gentle nature have also earned them the affectionate nickname “teddy bear cats.”

Who is the British Longhair Cat Best Suited For?

A British Longhair cat may be the perfect kitty for you if:

  • you are looking for a loyal, friendly, and adaptable cat. British Longhairs are calm, affectionate, and sociable cats that enjoy being around their human family. They are not very demanding or clingy, but they do appreciate some attention and cuddles. They are also intelligent and easy to train, but they can be stubborn and independent at times.
  • you have a lifestyle that does not allow you to spend a lot of time or energy on your cat. British Longhairs are not very active or playful. They prefer to lounge around and nap most of the time. They are also quite content to stay indoors and do not need a lot of outdoor access. However, they do need some mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom and obesity.
  • you have a clean, safe, and cozy home. British Longhairs are medium-sized cats that do not need a lot of space to live comfortably. They can adapt to any type of home, whether it is a small apartment or a large house. However, they do need a clean, safe, and cozy environment to thrive.

Final Thoughts

As we wrap up our exploration into the world of British Longhair cats, it’s clear that these feline companions bring a perfect blend of history, distinctive features, and charming personalities to the table. From their luxurious coats to their calm and adaptable nature, British Longhairs have carved a niche as lovable companions.

Whether you’re a seasoned cat enthusiast or a first-time owner, the insights provided here serve as a valuable resource for ensuring the well-being of your British Longhair. So, if you’re seeking a loyal, friendly, and adaptable feline friend, the British Longhair might just be the perfect fit for your home.

Here’s to cozy moments, playful antics, and the enduring companionship of these “teddy bear cats.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the temperament of British Longhair cats?

British Longhair cats have a sweet and gentle temperament and playful personality. They are also relatively quiet cats, making them a good choice for apartment dwellers.

How much do British Longhair cats cost?

British Longhair cats can range in price from $800 to $2,000 or more, depending on their lineage, breeder, and location.

What are the grooming needs of British Longhair cats?

British Longhair cats require regular brushing to prevent mats and tangles. They should also be bathed every few months to keep their coat clean and healthy.

Are British Longhair cats good with children?

Yes, British Longhairs are generally good with children. They are patient and tolerant, and they enjoy being petted and played with.

Are British Longhair cats easy to train?

British Longhair cats are intelligent and can be trained to perform simple tricks. However, they are not as eager to please as some other breeds, so it may take more patience and consistency to train them.

What are the health concerns of British Longhair cats?

British Longhairs are generally healthy cats, but they are susceptible to a few health problems, such as polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

How long do British Longhair cats live?

British Longhair cats have an average lifespan of 15-17 years.

Are British Longhair cats hypoallergenic?

No, British Longhair cats are not hypoallergenic. They shed moderately, and their dander can trigger allergies in some people.

How active are British Longhair cats?

British Longhair cats are moderately active. They enjoy playing and interacting with their owners, but they are also content to lounge around the house. They are not as demanding of attention as some other cat breeds.

Are British Longhair cats indoor or outdoor cats?

British Longhairs can be both indoor and outdoor cats. However, they are not as well-suited to outdoor living as some other cat breeds, as their long coat can become matted and dirty if they spend a lot of time outside. If you do allow your British Longhair cat to go outside, make sure they are supervised and have access to a safe and enclosed area.

Featured Image Credit: Kristinamac, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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