British Shorthair Lifespan

british shorthair lifespan

British Shorthair cats are large, friendly cats. Easy to train, feed, and groom, they are often gray or calico with big yellow eyes. British shorthairs tend to have a lifespan of around 15 to 20 years, making them wonderful lifelong friends.

How long long do British Shorthairs live?

British Shorthair cats live anywhere from 15 to 20 years when kept indoors and taken care of by proper grooming, diet, exercise.

How to ensure your British Shorthair lives a long and healthy life?

Since British Shorthair cats are prone to disease in their old age, it is essential to give them the proper care. This will ensure that your British Shorthair lives a long and healthy life. 

Some of the issues that can befall British Shorthair cats in their maturity include:

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: When thick heart cells along the wall of the heart limit proper cardiovascular function
  • Kidney Failure: Due to infections, blockages, or malnutrition
  • Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Deadly cancer begins in the cat’s oral and facial cells that can be hard to detect and highly aggressive.
  • Urinary Tract Infections: An infection of the urinary tract that can cause kidney infections.

To decrease the chances of your British Shorthair developing any of these diseases, it is important to start proper care at a young age and continue it through adulthood.

Early years, a young kitten 

British Shorthairs, like all kittens, are often a rambunctious handful. Most require a lot of attention and an ample healthy diet to help them during their most considerable growth period. 

Vaccinations, social bonding, and litter box training are particularly important in creating a cat with healthy boundaries and positive emotional qualities.


Your new British Shorthair kitten will need to start its life with vaccinations for it to have a long lifespan. Vaccinations against ticks and fleas, feline leukemia, FIV, rabies, Lyme disease, and more may be recommended by your veterinary professional.

Regular vet checkups 

Regular vet checkups are an important part of starting your British Shorthair’s lifespan off well. Ensure you choose a primary care veterinarian that you can trust and consistently bring your feline to for checkups. Make sure to schedule future appointments in advance and keep their phone number handy for any type of pressing medical questions.


Spaying or neutering your British Shorthair kitten should happen within 2 to 4 months of age. This is important to both the future health of the kitten and is necessary for stopping the general overpopulation of cats.

Litter box training 

When you bring your British Shorthair kitten home, make sure to introduce it to its litter box right away. Placing your kitten’s litter box in a secluded, spacious environment away from loud noises and food can help encourage positive litter box habits. 

If your kitten isn’t sure what to do in the box, try digging at the clean litter with your hand or a shovel. This will indicate to the kitten that it is okay to dig and bury in this area.

Social bonding 

Social bonding can be done with your British Shorthair kitten through playtime, feeding, and petting. Make sure to include socialization into your interactions with your kitten. This can be done by exposing it to new people, other animals, and loud noises for short periods. This will help your kitten acclimate to new situations without becoming fearful.


Playtime will help your British Shorthair have a longer lifespan because it will prepare them for exercise as an older cat. You can play with your kitten by making or purchasing the following toys:

  • Catnip
  • Fake mice
  • Feather wands
  • Jingle balls
  • Scratching posts
  • Strings and yarn

Make sure never to use your hand to play with your kitten. This can teach them bad habits like biting or scratching.

Water source 

A fresh and accessible water source is imperative to the health of your kitten. British Shorthairs cat be picky about water, so make sure you either have a constantly running water source or put a water bowl in place with the following characteristics:

  • Far away from the litter box
  • In a spacious area without clutter
  • On a flat surface without carpeting
  • Quiet location

This will help your kitten gain healthy hydration habits to last a lifetime.

Healthy diet 

Establishing a healthy diet at a young age will help your British Shorthair kitten grow into a healthy cat with a long lifespan. Avoid buying generic brands or mass-manufactured cat foods. 

Opt for higher quality companies using real animals and vegetable products in their food, such as Royal Canin. This will help your kitten cultivate healthy gut bacteria. Make sure to never feed your kitten milk or human food.

One year old, a growing kitten 

A growing British Shorthair kitten will already become much larger than its kitten size. Along with a larger litter box and scratching post, it will need additional feeding and exercise.


It is important to feed your British Shorthair cat primarily dry food. This will aid in digestion and help avoid bowel infections or loose stools. Depending on the size of your cat, you will need to increase its food intake by feeding anywhere from two to three times per day.


Your growing one-year-old British Shorthair kitten requires ample amounts of exercise. This can include playtime and hunting behaviors, running, and even climbing a cat tree.

Larger litter box 

A one-year-old British Shorthair cat requires a lot of litter box room. Consider buying a larger litter box and making sure that it is always clean. This will require scooping litter once or twice per day and purchasing new litter once every other week.

Scratching post

When your British Shorthair cat is close to one year old, it is time to purchase a scratching post. Scratching posts help with sharpening nails, climbing skills, and exercise. They also ensure that your cat does not begin to shred furniture or carpets.

Safety indoors

Keeping your British Shorthair cat indoors from a young age is very important. Indoor cats tend to live longer and healthier lives than outdoor cats because they are less susceptible to outside dangers like diseases, parasites, vehicles, and other animals.

1 – 7 years, the mature cat 

British Shorthair cats love routine. By the time your British Shorthair has matured, they most likely already have a favorite toy, favorite napping spot, and favorite type of treat. 

Continue to give your British Shorthair cat incrementally increasing exercise and playtime by stimulating them and rewarding good behavior.

Keep your mature cat active 

Keeping your mature cat active can mean encouraging active habits such as climbing and pouncing with treats. Make sure to purchase healthy treats from natural foods brands and award them to your cat sparingly.

Providing games and stimulation 

Games and stimulation are always critical in keeping your British Shorthair cat healthy. You can stimulate your cat by introducing new toys, adding catnip to old favorite toys, or even setting occasional playdates with other healthy and vaccinated animals.


At this point in your British Shorthair cat’s life, playtime should occur at least twice a day and should last at least an hour each session. This will help keep your cat’s mind active and help prevent them from becoming bored or lethargic.

7+ years, the senior cat 

A British Shorthair cat that is older than seven years is considered a senior cat. Keeping a senior cat healthy and happy will depend highly on the habits of its owner. 

From regular vet check-ups and exercise to a healthy diet and dental hygiene, there is much time and energy that goes into elongating the lifespan of your senior British Shorthair cat.

Regular vet checkups 

Regular vet checkups are extremely important for all senior cats. This is especially true for British Shorthairs who are prone to kidney infections and complex heart diseases. Ask your veterinarian to do routine blood tests and x-rays to evaluate the health of your senior cat.

Keep your senior cat active 

Exercise is important in preserving the longevity of a senior British Shorthair’s lifespan. Some towers and cat trees can become difficult to climb for older cats. Instead, consider getting cat pathways and walkways that traverse your home vertically rather than horizontally. This will provide your cat with new and accessible challenges.

Less feeding 

At this point in your senior British Shorthair cat’s life, feeding should become less frequent. This will stop blockages from occurring in your cat’s intestinal tract. Frequent feeding in lower portions or equal portions less frequently are good ways to increase the lifespan of your British Shorthair.

New toys

Since some toys made for younger cats can be hard to bite or challenging to carry for older cats, consider purchasing new toys. Soft toys or short strings can help your senior cat continue stimulating its mind without the physical hardship of difficult toys.

The importance of dental hygiene

Dental hygiene is of utmost importance for your senior British Shorthair cat’s lifespan. Getting routine dental checkups, x-rays, and even biopsies can prevent aggressive and incurable cancers such as Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma from prematurely ending the life of your dear cat.

This aggressive cancer is tough to detect and can only be found if participating in routine dental cleanings and checkups for senior cats.

More about British Shorthair cats

British Shorthair cats are lovely companions. Their sweet and friendly demeanours often overshadow their picky nature. Since they tend to live long and healthy lives when cared for properly, British Shorthair cats make excellent lifelong friends for cat lovers. 

Living anywhere from 15 to 20 years, these cuddly darlings are perfect for anyone seeking an active and powerful feline companion.

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