British Shorthair cats are a very popular breed. From their relatively humble beginnings as the pet mousers of the Romans to their eventual recognition as pedigree cats in their own right, the history of the British Shorthair is a long one. Now noted as one of the lower maintenance pedigree breeds you can own, British Shorthairs continue to be a beloved companion for cat-fanciers and families alike.
How much does a British Shorthair cat cost?
- In the UK kitten from a registered breeder will cost between £1200 – £2000 (GBP). If you buy from an unregistered breeder you can get one between £350-£800
- In the US registered breeder will charge between $900-$1800 (USD) an unregistered breeder between $250-$700
- In Australia, you will pay between $1200-$2000 (AUD) from a registered breeder and $300-$700 from unregistered one.
You’ve come to this page with questions; we’ve got the answers you’re searching for. Why are British Shorthairs so very expensive? Is it possible to buy a British Shorthair more cheaply? What should you look out for when buying your British Shorthair? What is a “registered breeder” anyway — and could you become one? To find out more, keep reading.
Make Sure To Read:
- British Shorthair As Pets - 10 Things You Need To Know
- How Do You Take Care Of A British Shorthair Cat - Full Guide For First Time Owners
- 15 Ways to Keep Your British Shorthair Healthy and Happy
What Price To Pay For a British Shorthair?
The answer will vary dramatically depending on a number of factors, principally who you buy from but also where you buy and the kitten’s characteristics. If you go to a reputable breeder, expect to pay around £1200 in the UK ($900 in the US or $1200 in Australia) these numbers are not currency conversions, by the way, they reflect the different price you’ll pay for this breed in different countries.
The price for a purebred British Shorthair kitten in the UK can easily reach £1500 or £2000. Some colour combinations are rarer and more coveted; kittens with these colours can command very high prices. The cost of a purebred British Shorthair kitten is hardly something to be sneezed at and is definitely outside most people’s budgets. Upon seeing these numbers, a would-be owner might be forgiven for baulking and looking around for a cheaper option.
- Cat adoption in the UK – RSPCA, Cats Protection
- Cat Adoption US – PetFinder
- Cat Adoption Australia – RSPCA AU
Arranging to re-home a mature British Shorthair from caring owners who can no longer look after her may be one possibility. There are lots of reasons why someone might have to give up a much-loved pet; in the case of British Shorthairs, they often belong to an older household who come to find that health problems or disabilities eventually prevent them from giving their pet the care they feel she deserves. Knowing that their companion is moving on to a loving home is often more important to her owners than any amount of money. Adoption services can help you find British Shorthairs in your area who need new homes, this is significantly cheaper than buying a kitten from a breeder.
You might also consider a British Shorthair cross if you’re not terribly concerned about breeding. Crosses often make fantastic pets. If it’s any consolation, consider the price you’d be paying for a pure-bred Persian – at least twice that of our stout and hearty Shorthairs. Some other breeds might conceivably cost more than a modest apartment, especially exotic new creations like the Ashera; one of these could set you back a cool £95,000 ($125,000). From this point of view, the price for a British Shorthair starts to look like a positive bargain.
Why do registered breeders charge so much for a British Shorthair kitten?
A glib and possibly unhelpful answer is “because they can”. As long as people are prepared to pay over a thousand pounds for the British Shorthair of their dreams, a breeder might be deemed self-destructive if they did not charge that much. This is rather unfair, however. British Shorthair breeders aren’t simply being mercenary – they’re often charging a realistic rate for a complex and highly specialised service. Although British Shorthairs are famously low-maintenance, keeping a cattery requires dedication and know-how that most of us simply don’t possess.
The registration process varies from country to country and region to region but is generally fairly stringent. Breeders must keep up very high standards of care for their cats in order to meet the necessary requirements; while there aren’t normally door-to-door inspections, breeders will have to demonstrate the health and pedigree of their “active” breeding stock to the satisfaction of the registering body.
Breeders often dedicate their whole lives to caring for cats and rearing kittens for sale; when you consider that this might be someone’s entire life’s work, the prices look a lot more reasonable. Buying from a good breeder can take a lot of the labour and heartache out of finding your perfect kitten. You’ll be getting a healthy little cat who’s had all the required checkups, shots, etc. and has already been neutered or spayed; all these things can be very expensive when you add them up. Your kitten will come from a good line with no hereditary conditions and will have been well-socialised before you take her home. The result will be a tractable family pet with few to no health issues and a solid British Shorthair pedigree.
What if I just buy from an unregistered backyard breeder?
What indeed. What if you also called in a backyard electrician, ate at an unlicensed restaurant or sent your children to an unregistered daycare? What if you bought medication from a chap on the internet instead of going to your doctor? Perhaps you could save a few pounds by taking your car to an unqualified mechanic. In theory, everything might be wonderful. In practice, though, would you feel comfortable doing any of those things?
You might consider some of them if you had an urgent need to get the power back on or fix your sole means of transport – but I doubt they’d be your first choice. It’s similar to backyard breeders. It might be tempting to call the person advertising “purebred BSH kittens!” on Craigslist or Gumtree for the price of a large pizza – but you really shouldn’t. Some of them are lovely people who just happen to have a healthy breeding pair of pedigree cats at home and want to let them have one or two litters before they’re fixed. Many, however, are like something out of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale for cats.
Would you willingly hand over money to someone who kept their dams in cages for the entirety of their adult lives? Someone who overbred their cats, forcing them to have litter after litter until their bodies simply stopped being able to produce kittens, then dumped them by the side of the road? Of course, you wouldn’t.
This is to say nothing of the kittens you might buy from bad breeders. Often taken away from their mother at too young of an age, poorly socialised or not socialised at all, potentially abused and neglected – this is before we even get into the issue of their actual pedigree, which may be sketchy at best. Not all unregistered breeders are abusive – some genuinely love their charges and want the best for the kittens they sell – but they may not have a good grasp on what it takes to care properly for a cat. Rather than support a deeply problematic industry, you should look for another way to obtain a British Shorthair cat at a lower cost.
Cutting the cost, option one: adopting a homeless British Shorthair.
Adopting in a British Shorthair will probably limit your choices significantly in terms of age, sex, colouration etc. You’re not very likely to find a pure-bred British Shorthair at your local shelter, although you might get lucky.
Registering with online adoption services is probably a better bet. You may face a bit of a wait for a cat to become available near you. Adoption is a great choice if you’re not looking for a specific colouration and have no pressing desire to own a kitten or young cat. The animals you find in this way tend to be older; they’re often beloved family members who can’t stay with their current owner because that person has moved into a smaller dwelling, gone into sheltered accommodation or perhaps even passed away. The cat’s surviving human caregivers may wish to avoid sending their old friend to a shelter, where euthanasia is a distinct possibility, and instead seek out someone who can offer a loving and permanent home.
Cutting the cost, option two: buy a British Shorthair cross.
This is a really good idea for many people. If you’re not planning on breeding from your cat and you don’t have your heart set on a purebred British Shorthair, a cross is an ideal compromise. Many crosses have all the favourite British Shorthair traits, like their low-maintenance habits, mild temperament and charmingly stocky body type, at a rather lower price point. Note however that some British Shorthair crosses – notably crosses between a British Shorthair and another pedigree breed – may cost almost as much as a purebred British Shorthair. For example, the British Shorthair-Scottish Fold cross is enjoying quite a following in certain circles and the price for a kitten will reflect that. If, however, a breeder has suffered a little slip-up and allowed one of their queens to sneak off for a dalliance with the neighbourhood’s domestic-mix Romeo, they may be happy to share the resulting bundles of joy at a lower price. British Shorthair crosses are often quite charming in their own right, taking on some unusual traits that you wouldn’t find in a pure-bred British Shorthair.
Wait – if I can get a British Shorthair cross so much more cheaply, why would I pay for a purebred cat?
There are a number of reasons.
- First and foremost, there’s the health of the cat. British Shorthairs are ridiculously rugged and long-lived, genetically prone to only a handful of rare ailments; if you add another breed to the mix, you may be introducing unknown negative traits and conditions.
- Another reason people spring for purebred British Shorthairs is that they wish to exhibit their cats on the show circuit, where pure pedigree animals get more opportunities to shine.
- A third is that they wish to breed their own pedigree cats. This last is more rare, not least because registered breeders usually won’t part with an “entire” kitten for love nor money.
Spaying and neutering before the kittens go to their new home is an absolutely foundational principle. Backyard breeders may sell on cats without de-sexing them but the only time you’ll see an un-neutered cat from a registered breeder change hands is when someone is selling to another, equally reputable, breeder.
Aren’t pure-bred pedigree cats all sickly and inbred anyway?
Some breeds do have their health issues, yes. British Shorthairs are famously free of the usual issues associated with pedigree cats, such as the Persian’s trouble with litter-box training and the Siamese cat’s visual problems. Inbreeding, in any case, should not be a problem regardless of the breed if you go to a registered breeder. For a cat to be registered as “active” in the breeding world she has to meet a number of criteria for both pedigree and genetic health. This includes having a reasonable degree of diversity in her parentage. Breeders are very careful to avoid allowing close inbreeding amongst their cats, as the resulting offspring are less scalable and can never become breeding stock themselves.
I want to become a breeder, though. How can I persuade someone to sell me a British Shorthair?
The short answer is that you can’t, at least not right away. You’ll need to build some trust and a good reputation. Spend some time in the cat fancy community. Acquire a resident spayed or neutered British Shorthair and demonstrate that you can look after her. Get your home set up for proper cat care. Ask for advice and input. Study and learn. All too many people see the large sums commanded by pedigree cats and assume that breeding such animals must be a lucrative sideline. In fact, unless you’re wholly committed and very savvy, breeding cats will absolutely cost you money.
Those breeders who sell their kittens for such large sums don’t use their cats as their main, let alone only, source of income. Normally they’ll have another career or a supportive partner who goes to work and thus funds the operation. The guiding principles of all the various registration bodies are similar: ensuring that breeding cats are properly cared for and that any kittens sold are looked after too. This often involves significant sacrifices, such as replacing a cat that is discovered to have a serious health problem after the new owner takes possession of her.
Many registered breeders offer ongoing support after they’ve sold the kitten, just to make sure she thrives. Taking up pedigree cat breeding is not something to be taken lightly; if your motives are mercenary, it’s not something to be taken up at all. You won’t make your fortune from British Shorthairs or any other breed.
I want to buy British Shorthairs from a registered breeder. What should I look out for?
First, find out which registration bodies operate in your region and what their requirements are. When a breeder registers their animals with one or other of these councils, they are typically given a prefix – a special name that will be appended to all their cats’ names to show their line of descent. Nobody else can use this prefix. It shows you that the British Shorthair in question comes from healthy stock with no genetic abnormalities or communicable diseases that their kittens might pick up. If this prefix isn’t present, isn’t registered, or has been removed from the register because the breeder no longer meets the standards of the registering body, you shouldn’t buy from that person. There are likely to be a scant few quality catteries in any given region; if you hang around the cat-fancy groups for your geographical area, the same names will keep coming up. Investigate those as an option.
Do not under any circumstances try to find your British Shorthair via the small ads or free online ad services. Reputable breeders have absolutely no need to advertise in this way. In fact, their kittens are often spoken for months or even years in advance, with a long waiting list of eager would-be owners hoping to purchase one of those special little creatures. They don’t usually need to put an ad in the paper. Other red flags include being ready to part with the kitten before 12 weeks (good catteries don’t do this) or being willing to sell you a kitten without proper documentation for all her veterinary comings and goings. Cats from registered breeders, without exception, come with extensive records for their checkups, shots and so forth. Some breeders also offer a period of health insurance for your pet. Again, check with the registering authority to see what’s expected and settle for nothing less.