The European Shorthair cat can be considered the pedigree of a common house cat in Europe; it may also be the oldest cat found on the continent. The ancestry of this cat goes back to Rome during the time of the emperors. It is believed that the breed has spread throughout the continent of Europe nearly 2,000 years ago, earning itself the place as prolific mousers on farms across Europe. Over the years, the European Shorthair has come to be known by other names, such as the Celtic Shorthair and the Bonkatt. It was not until the 20th century that enthusiasts took note of Europe’s common kitty and went to work to preserve this classic breed. Modern breeders in Sweden have worked towards getting the breed to possess a more historical look rather than a more pedigree look, such that the European Shorthair would look like it did back in the Roman empire. A stout, muscular built distinguishes the European Shorthair from the American and British Shorthairs. This breed is accepted by the Federation International Feline (FIFe), but is not recognized by any United States cat clubs.
Physical appearance and attributes
This is a medium sized breed that weighs between 8 – 15 pounds. It has a fairly long body that is stocky with good musculature and a broad chest. Strength is displayed in its legs of average length, extending into firm rounded paws. Balancing the body is a moderately long tail that is thick at the base and tapering gradually into rounded tip.
The head is broad with rounded contour, appearing slightly longer than it is wide. It has well-developed cheeks and a straight nose. Set atop the head is a pair of medium sized ears with the inner side adorned with ear tufts. They are set upright, broad at the base and taper into a rounded tip. Eyes of the European Shorthair are large and oval. They are widely spaced and present a slight slant towards the ears. Eye color complement the coat color and may be in yellow, green or orange. Viewed in profile, the muzzle is of a moderate length with a firm chin that is aligned with the tip of the nose. A gentle concave curve can also be traced along the nose, between the eyes.
The hair of European Shorthair is short, dense and close-lying. They are lustrous with no undercoat and can come in any color, with or without tabby markings. Other coat patterns include bi-color as well as the van.
Personality and temperament
The European Shorthair is considered an independent breed marked by intelligence and curiosity. Even though it is a friendly and sociable breed, suspicion towards strangers may still be displayed. It bonds well with family, but it is also known to have a territorial nature that seeks to be the king of the castle. Thus, it is necessary to be selective when choosing other family pets to ensure that the pets will be better housemates. It possesses an adventurous spirit, which, when propelled by its curiosity and playfulness, will bring it exploring and hunting around the environment. With the right care and attention given, the European Shorthair would endear itself to the family with much trust and loyalty. Having said all these, it is noteworthy that the European Shorthair is an especially diverse breed and each one of these breeds is an individual.
Care and health issues
This is a very hearty breed with no known hereditary health issues that are specific to this breed. A healthy European Shorthair has an average lifespan of between 15 – 20 years. It is still important to obtain a written health guarantee from qualified breeders when purchasing the breed to ensure that the cat is healthy.
Its short, dense coat is not difficult to manage. The absence of undercoat helps prevent matting and tangles. Thus, a weekly brushing will suffice to remove accumulated dead hairs and to distribute skin oil. Other basic grooming practices should include frequent teeth brushing with vet approved toothpaste as well as nail trimming and ear cleaning whenever necessary.
The ideal home
The European Shorthair is suited for indoor living. To prevent boredom, an adventure space would need to be created and equipped with the necessary cat toys, cat trees and cat gym sets. This will help to cater to its playful and active nature. Having an outdoor space for it to hunt and explore will be ideal to encourage a more dynamic growth. However, such spaces must be safe and escape-proof. The European Shorthair is not a demanding cat, but may be territorial. However, with the right introduction, this breed will be able to bond well with the family and other pets. This is an ideal breed for any homes. Having the necessary care and attention, the European Shorthair with its playfulness, alertness and lovingness will bring much endearment to the family.