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Average British Shorthair lifespan—all details in one place

Known as living teddy bears, British Shorthair cats are large and friendly felines easy to train and groom. They are famous for their excellent health and long life expectancy.

With good care and plenty of attention, there is no reason for your kitty not to live into their teens and even longer. To ensure your British Shorthair lives a long and happy life, you need to learn about the care they need at every stage of their life, from kittenhood to older age.

To help you on your journey, Untamed presents all the factors affecting your British Shorthair's lifespan—from lifestyle to their diet and common health niggles.

How long do British Shorthair cats live?

British Shorthairs live around 12–13 years, but it's not uncommon for them to live way past that and reach their 20s. 

As long as you keep your cat inside, groom them regularly, keep them active, and feed them a high-quality diet, they can also become one of the advocates of this sturdy breed's longevity.

How to ensure your British Shorthair lives a long life

Your feline needs great care from a very early age to be healthy and surpass their life expectancy. You need to know what that care entails at every stage of their life, including:

  1. Early kittenhood
  2. The first year
  3. Adulthood
  4. Senior age

Caring for a British Shorthair kitten

A start of a long friendship.

Source: Omar Ramadan

Most cat parents adopt kittens, preferably around three months. Before that, kitties should be with their mom, learning some essential life skills and early socialisation. 

When they come to their new home and get used to the surroundings, British Shorthair kittens tend to be incredibly active. Besides a lot of attention, your kitty will also need:

  1. Vaccinations and regular vet visits
  2. Spaying or neutering
  3. Litter box and scratching-post training
  4. Socialisation and playtime
  5. A healthy diet

Vaccinations and vet visits

A kitten's life begins with vaccinations to ensure they have a good start and a solid foundation for long life. Your British Shorthair will need vaccines against:

  • Ticks and fleas
  • Feline leukaemia
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
  • Rabies
  • Lyme disease

Your vet may also suggest protection against more contagious diseases.

Besides these first vet visits, you will need to regularly bring your kitty for a check-up to ensure they are developing correctly.

Spaying or neutering

Sterilisation is highly advisable, regardless of the gender of your British Shorthair. The best time to do it is between two and four months. 

This procedure is essential since it can prevent various health problems—such as testicular cancer in males—or significantly minimise the chances of other illnesses, including uterus infections and breast tumours in females. Neutering also curbs unwanted behaviour in males, such as marking and aggression, although British Shorthairs are generally tame and don't usually have such tendencies.

Litter box and scratching post training

You should introduce your new kitten to the litter box as soon as you bring them home. Place the litter tray in a quiet and secluded space to encourage positive habits and prevent your kitty from associating it with negative experiences. British Shorthairs are intelligent felines, and they will get the hang of it pretty quickly. To help them, you can show them it's okay to dig in the litter. 

At the same time, you should direct your kitty to claw on a scratching post instead of your furniture. You can help them by choosing a scratching post with a dangling toy or spraying it with some catnip.

Socialisation and playtime

Are you ready for some fun already?

Source: Jacco Rienks

Playtime, feeding, and cuddling are crucial for establishing a bond with your new British Shorthair kitten. Playtime is especially important, as it keeps your kitty active, burns their energy, and prepares them for exercise when they grow up. 

When playing with your kitty, you shouldn’t tease them with your hands since they might start scratching and biting. The best option is to entertain them with some toys, such as:

  • Toy mice
  • Cat teasers
  • Jingle balls
  • Balls of yarn

Playtime will ensure your British Shorthair gets used to you and your family members, but you should also introduce them to new people and animals. It is also wise to expose them to various noises, so they get used to them without being fearful.

A healthy diet

Nutrition is critical for feline health, especially during early kittenhood. To support your British Shorthair kitten's health and growth, you should feed them small portions of high-quality food around five times a day.

Avoid generic brands and pick food with high quantities of real meat or fish because a high-protein diet cultivates healthy gut bacteria and helps your feline stay healthy. It is also best to opt for wet food since it's more hydrating than kibble.

Never feed your kitten dairy or human food because it can cause digestive problems, including:

Caring for a one-year-old British Shorthair

I’m pretty, and I know it.

Source: Tom Schönmann

Around year one, your British Shorthair kitten will reach much of its adult size but will continue to develop until they are three (some kitties continue to grow until they are five).

During this time, your feline will need:

  • Less frequent but larger portions—Your kitty should now eat two or three larger meals per day. The precise caloric intake depends on their size and activity levels
  • Larger litter box—If you had a small litter tray for your British Shorthair, you now have to switch to a larger one. These felines are big, so you need to find a tray in which your cat can comfortably turn around, step away from their "business," and dig
  • A bigger scratching post—A scratching post should be at least twice as long as your kitten so they can properly stretch their entire body
  • Stimulating environment inside—Since felines are generally safer inside, you need to create a stimulating environment, so they don't get bored. Your cat needs space to run and climb to stay active, so you should encourage their hunting behaviour with laser or teaser toys. If you do decide to take your cat outside, you should never leave them unsupervised, and you must remove all hazards from your garden and spray the grass for ticks and fleas

Caring for an adult British Shorthair

British Shorthairs love routine—when they reach maturity, they will have a favourite toy, food, treat, and place to sleep. The care you provide won't change much, except that you need to increase their exercise by encouraging them to play and climb. You should set playtime twice a day, and each session should last at least an hour. 

Regular exercise and well-balanced nutrition are crucial for these felines because they tend to become lazy as they get older and gain weight. Overweight cats are more prone to depression and lethargy, as well as lifestyle-related illnesses, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Joint degeneration

Caring for a senior British Shorthair

Are you really going to make me get up?

Source: Juwelia

Felines older than seven are considered senior, and those older than 11 are geriatric. Given the British Shorthair's long life expectancy, they spend a much more significant portion of their lives as senior cats than other breeds.

Their health and happiness at this age depend mainly on their cat parents. It is your job to:

  1. Schedule regular vet visits
  2. Keep your cat active
  3. Take care of their hygiene
  4. Feed them the appropriate diet

Vet visits

Regular vet check-ups are crucial for senior cats’ well-being. Although British Shorthairs are generally healthy, they become susceptible to heart disease when they get older. This is especially true for males, as they develop hypertrophic cardiomyopathy more often than females. Senior cats are also more vulnerable to kidney infections and osteoarthritis. 

Regular vet visits will help you catch any symptoms early, significantly impacting how the illness is managed. Many serious diseases can be controlled with medication and dietary changes if diagnosed early.


Exercise helps you keep your British Shorthair's weight in check, so it's vital to help them stay active as much as possible. Since it can become difficult for some felines to climb and jump once they get older, you can replace the cat tree and perches with pathways and other horizontal solutions. 


Grooming is an important part of care for your British Shorthair, and you should do it regularly throughout their life. It consists of:

  • Brushing twice a week
  • Bathing once every month or two
  • Nail clipping when necessary
  • Eye and ear cleaning
  • Teeth cleaning

Dental hygiene is paramount because British Shorthairs are prone to gingivitis. This gum disease can make eating painful, so your kitty may start refusing food, which can lead to involuntary weight loss, tooth loss, and other health problems. 


It's crucial to continue to feed your senior cat a quality diet and adjust their portions based on how active or prone to weight gain they are. 

Good nutrition at this age will ensure your British Shorthair's liver and kidneys continue to work properly. Be careful what treats you give them, and only choose low-calorie options. 

An ideal diet for your British Shorthair

Meat, fish, and some fat—that’s all your kitty needs.

Image (c) Untamed

Check out the table below to see what an ideal diet for your British Shorthair should look like:



Animal protein

  • Ensures normal organ function and muscle growth
  • Serves as a primary source of energy
  • Provides essential amino acids, such as taurine, arginine, and lysine

Animal fat

  • Delivers irresistible taste and texture
  • Provides good fatty acids that ensure healthy skin and coat, efficient immune system, and cellular integrity

Vitamins and minerals

  • Support nearly all biological functions, such as:
  • Oxygen transportation
  • Nutrient utilisation
  • Enzyme formation


Prevents illnesses, such as:

What should cats eat?

The best diet for your kitty is the one that mimics their natural eating habits. Felines eat mice, frogs, birds, and other small animals in the wild and get all the nutrients and moisture from freshly killed prey. They don't need any carbs or fillers, so it's critical to pay close attention to the ingredients list when purchasing food for your British Shorthair.

It's important to know what your cat should eat, what to avoid completely, and what to offer them as an occasional treat, so here is a brief overview:

Regular meals

Occasional treats

Food to avoid

The ideal composition of cat food

Whether you go for wet, dry, raw, or homemade food (or a combination of more than one type), make sure that the product has:

  1. At least 50% of animal protein
  2. Up to 20% of animal fat
  3. Less than 3% of carbs

How does Untamed fit in your British Shorthair's diet?

Enough posing, let’s dig in!

Image (c) Untamed

We have created balanced wet cat food that perfectly matches felines' dietary needs and tastes fantastic!

Every Untamed meal is:

Get Untamed and keep your British Shorthair healthy and happy for years to come! 

How to order Untamed for your British Shorthair

To order a started pack of Untamed healthy recipes, you need to go online and:

  1. Fill out our online quiz
  2. Pick the products your kitty will like
  3. Place the order

The package will arrive at your doorstep in a day, and once your British Shorthair samples all the recipes, meows approvingly, and chooses the ones they like best, we can resupply your stock every month

We offer:

  • Free shipping
  • Possibility to change or delay the order at any time
  • Easy cancellation

How can Untamed affect your British Shorthair's life expectancy?

Once you join the Untamed clowder, your feline companion will experience tremendous changes. Here is what many satisfied cat parents whose felines' have already switched to Untamed food report:


The Untamed results

After week one

  • Neater litter tray
  • Easy digestion

After week eight

Within four months


  • Efficient immune response
  • Improved overall health
  • Natural weight control