A Historical Overview of the British Shorthair Cat
British Shorthair cats have a rich history dating back to ancient times. The ancestors of these cats were brought to Europe from Egypt by the Phoenicians around the 8th century BCE. However, it was in ancient Rome that British Shorthair cats gained particular recognition.
The Romans appreciated British Shorthair cats for their hunting abilities, which were extremely helpful in protecting food supplies from pests. British Shorthairs were utilized on farms, merchant ships, and in Roman cities to combat vermin. The Romans considered cats to be valuable animals and took care of their breeding.
With the spread of the Roman Empire, British Shorthair cats reached the British Isles. It is believed that they arrived there during the post-2nd century CE period when Roman colonization of Britain was already established. On the British Isles, British Shorthair cats adapted to various conditions and became an integral part of the local ecosystem.
During the Middle Ages, cats, including British Shorthairs, faced hostility and persecution. They were often associated with witchcraft and the devil. Their popularity began to grow from the 17th century onwards when views on cats changed, and people started to accept and appreciate them more.
In the 19th century, interest in British Shorthair cats as a breed increased. Many cat enthusiasts began to dedicate themselves to the selection and breeding of British Shorthair cats according to a specific standard. In 1871, Harrison Weir organized the first cat show in London, where British Shorthair cats also made an appearance. Since then, the breed gained popularity and gained recognition among breeders.
Throughout the 20th century, British Shorthair cats underwent some changes due to crossbreeding with other breeds such as Persians or American Shorthairs. The aim of breeders was to improve certain characteristics, such as fur density and body proportions. Nevertheless, the distinctive appearance and temperament of British Shorthair cats were preserved.