top of page
Scherm­afbeelding 2023-12-29 om 15.27.04.png

Character of the British Shorthair

The British Shorthair is affectionately called "Teddy Bear" by his admirers. Contrary to what this pet name suggests, the British Shorthair is not just a cat to cuddle. The British Shorthair is an uncomplicated, friendly breed with a balanced and affectionate character. He adapts easily, learns quickly, has a robust body and requires little coat maintenance. It's no wonder this breed is one of the most popular breeds!


The British Shorthair is a very strong breed. He can adapt very quickly to new situations without losing his interest in various matters. The Brit loves children and enjoys being close to people without imposing himself, but he is as devoted as a dog. This cat is a quiet family friend. This breed is never moody and can see the humor in certain things. Both sexes generally get along well with dogs and other pets if they have been properly introduced to each other.

Brits love to play and can spend hours playing with a mouse, ball or piece of paper. Brits need exercise to stay in good shape and a scratching post is an advantage. Brits remain playful well into old age. Brits have the habit of thoroughly inspecting new visitors and while they do this they often give away some hugs. After this need has been satisfied, the cat walks away regally and quietly sits down to watch the visitor from a respectful distance.


The British Shorthair is known for its intelligence and great learning capacity. They have an excellent memory. Once they learn how to open a door, they won't forget it.


​ Once this breed gets used to a daily routine, they will insist that you stick to it. In general, adult Brits are courageous and not easily frightened. In panic situations, the Brit often remains surprisingly calm.

In short, the British Shorthair is a perfect family cat!


Hypertrophic CardioMyopathy, abbreviated HCM, is a heart condition characterized by thickening of the myocardial wall of the pumping chamber, usually the left pumping chamber. Put into simple words: hypertrophic = gaining weight, cardio = heart, myo = muscle and pathy = disease.


Ultrasound screening of the heart is done by Barbara Vandevelde or Ingrid Putcuyps. Barbara is a European Specialist in Veterinary Medical Imaging (Dipl ECVDI) and is allowed to carry out official screenings for PawPeds and other agencies.


​Heredity and why screen?

HCM has a hereditary basis, but the heritability is very complex. After all, there are many gene mutations on different genes that could be responsible. HCM is not a congenital disease. Cats are born with a healthy heart, but can carry a number of genes, or rather gene mutations (small deviations in the DNA code), that can cause HCM later in life. Various studies have shown that many of these genes are not fully 'penetrant'. That is, they are there, but they are not active or not yet active. The cats are then 'carriers' of these gene mutations even though they do not or do not yet have the disease (genotype present, phenotype absent).

​Why gene mutations suddenly become active ("gene expression") depends on environmental factors and perhaps also on other genes (i.e. the combination of genes or gene mutations). It is therefore quite possible that a cat tests negative in its early years, but that the faulty genes only become active at a later age, causing the cat to test positive on ultrasound. A one-off ultrasound test at 1 year is therefore not sufficient.

Due to the number of genes and gene mutations and the complex influence on each other, a genetic test as a screening method is not reliable. Ultrasound screening of the heart is currently the only method to reduce the occurrence of HCM in the cat population. As with hip dysplasia in dogs, we only detect cats that are phenotypically positive (= indications on ultrasound that may indicate HCM) and therefore not the carriers (phenotype absent, genotype present). This makes it possible for 2 parents who test negative at some point to still produce a kitten that develops the disease. Parents who test negative in the present may also become positive in the future. This makes ultrasound screening less than ideal and sometimes very frustrating for breeders. However, we must continue to motivate breeders to regularly screen their breeding animals by ultrasound so that the gene mutations spread as little as possible and it does not become catastrophic. In addition, it is advisable to keep an eye on the 'lines' and to communicate very openly through all kinds of channels when a breeding animal or offspring appears to have HCM. This openness makes it easier for breeders to figure out where something is wrong when they are unlucky enough to be confronted with HCM. This makes it possible to determine which lines should not be used for further breeding.

​Source: Heelix

Cattery Rinacci


bottom of page