The conventional route to becoming a British Shorthair owner is to find a reputable breeder and purchase a kitten. That’s far from the only way to find your ideal British Shorthair, however; one good option is rehoming. There are a lot of truly fantastic older cats out there who deserve loving homes but may struggle to find them on account of their age. Adopting in an older British Shorthair can be a wonderful experience.
Where to find British Shorthair cats for rehoming? You can make enquiries at shelters, look on regional adoption sites or approach breeders to find out if they know of any retirees in need of a good home. Adopting from a shelter will be the least expensive option, while adopting a retiree may be fairly expensive. You can also arrange to foster a British Shorthair for a short time.
- What’s the best way to find a British Shorthair to adopt?
- What do you need to know about cat adoptions?
- Why adopt rather than simply buying a kitten?
- How can you prepare to welcome your new cat?
You’ve come to this page with questions – read on to find the answers you’re looking for.
Finding your British Shorthair
The question “Where to find British Shorthair cats for rehoming?” has several answers. You could try enquiring at your local shelters to see if they have one; this is sometimes successful. However, purebred cats, especially popular breeds like the British Shorthair, tend not to be given up to shelters as their owners seldom lack for contacts who can find potential homes. When British Shorthairs do end up in a shelter, they tend to find homes fairly rapidly. In addition, some shelters take a dim view of people who want a pedigree cat rather than looking for a pet who’s a good fit for other reasons; keep your enquiries discreet.
A more promising tactic is to look at rehoming sites that cover your area. These may list cats of various breeds or specialise in British Shorthairs. If there aren’t any cats in your area, you can usually sign up for an alert to let you know if a cat becomes available. Depending on the number of cat-owners and breeders in your area, you may find a match fairly quickly or face a long and frustrating wait.
A more costly but potentially less disappointing option may be to scrutinise the websites of breeders and cat fanciers in your general region. It’s not unknown for people who’ve retired a show animal or an older stud or dam kitty to want to rehome these cats; they’ll often announce the availability of a mature cat on their websites.
These British Shorthairs are often your best bet. If the breeder or cat owner is reputable and responsible, you will be taking in a cat that’s been well socialised, given proper veterinary care throughout her life and generally been well looked after.
Besides breeders’ and fanciers’ websites, you may learn of available cats through word of mouth. It’s a good idea to start by engaging with the cat fancy community. People will be unimpressed if you join their groups and e-lists just to demand information on possible adoptees but if you approach the community respectfully and ask sensible questions about becoming an owner, you will find cat lovers to be friendly and helpful. If you’re not yet entirely sure about adopting a British Shorthair permanently, you have the option of arranging to foster one.
The cat will be homed with you for a short period before moving on to her forever home. This is a very useful service and gives you a chance to find out how well a British Shorthair will fit into your home. Read on to find out more about these options and other useful information for those who want to adopt a British Shorthair.
Why adopt an adult cat?
There are a lot of reasons to adopt a mature British Shorthair instead of buying a kitten. Kittens, while adorable, do require a lot of care and attention. They can’t really be left alone until they’re old enough not to require supervision, they need multiple feedings throughout the day, they need to be trained and so on.
Another reason is simply the expense; a pedigree British Shorthair kitten can cost around £1200, while adult cats may cost only a few hundred pounds. The most usual reason, though, is that people who love British Shorthairs want to provide a caring home to a cat who might otherwise find it harder to be adopted.
While British Shorthairs are a popular breed, a mature cat, especially one older than 10 years, may struggle to be rehomed. This is especially true of cats who have injuries or health issues. By giving such a cat a new forever home, you can save her from being bounced around foster homes and shelters indefinitely.
Although there are considerations involved in adopting such a cat, it can be a deeply rewarding experience. This breed is very loving and readily becomes attached to human caregivers. Older British Shorthairs make wonderful pets, especially if you’re looking for a quieter cat with a low-maintenance, non-destructive nature.
Approaching a shelter
A shelter might seem like an obvious place to look for your new British Shorthair. As noted above, though, there are several problems involved with finding your prospective adoptee this way.
First of all, animal shelters have many different types of cats – mostly mixed breed with the occasional older pedigree cat. If you simply phone up nearby shelters asking for a purebred British Shorthair, you risk getting short shrift from shelter staff. Look at it from their point of view: they have many cats to home, all of whom they probably see as special and loveable in their own way, and having someone contact them looking for a prestige breed can be frustrating. Instead of asking, try visiting the shelter to see if they have a British Shorthair available.
Many shelters nowadays have websites showcasing the cats currently on their books, which you can peruse at your leisure. Bear in mind that a British Shorthair who ends up in a shelter probably has numerous problems. It’s unusual for the owner of a pedigree cat not to make arrangements for the cat to be rehomed if they can’t care for their pet anymore; not least because such an animal may still have significant value.
To be essentially abandoned to a shelter and not adopted pretty much immediately, a British Shorthair typically needs to be in her twilight years or nursing some serious health issue or injury. Giving a cat like this a safe place to live out their final years may be challenging but it’s also a loving and generous act.
Using a pet adoption site to find your British Shorthair
There are many websites nowadays that help would-be adopters to find pets in need of homes. These range from the very general, offering animals of various types, to those focused on cats of multiple breeds, to the most specific sites which are geared to finding British Shorthairs alone.
These sites generally let you look at British Shorthairs up for adoption in various regions; you may have to look outside your immediate locale to find the cat of your dreams. If there are no British Shorthairs up for adoption near you, most sites will let you set up an email alert. Adopting a cat in this way will almost certainly cost more than a shelter adoption but availability is better and the cats tend to be in better health.
You should still do due diligence on the animal’s background and make sure you have her checked out by a vet when you bring her home. While most of the cats available through adoption sites come from good homes that simply can’t provide for them anymore, some are abused animals being dumped by bad owners or backyard breeders.
They can still make good pets but may be poorly socialised and have various hidden problems.
Approaching a cattery/breeder or cat fancier
The keyword here is respect. People who raise or show British Shorthairs are often absolutely plagued with demands for cats, from the endless “hi, got any kittens?” emails to people who expect a show animal for the price of a bottle of milk. It’s best not to contact people out of the blue, as your enquiry may simply be ignored and you could accidentally alienate a potential lead. Instead, visit the websites of active breeders in your vicinity.
It’s typical for catteries looking to re-home mature cats to advertise them fairly openly on their sites. Usually the information will be very complete, listing the cat’s name, pedigree, age and the reason he or she is being put out to grass. Often the cat will be a former breeder — a queen who can no longer safely become pregnant or a stud tom who needs to be neutered for his health.
Older animals who can no longer compete in cat shows may also need new homes. If this seems callous, it really isn’t.
Breeding and showing cats is such a labour of love, with most breeders and cat fanciers struggling to support their occupation at the best of times. They may simply be unable to afford a cat who can no longer help the household by bringing in the occasional cash prize or kitten sale. Re-homing these retirees allows the former owner to go on supporting their other cats more easily. You’ll be helping by providing a caring home to a pet they genuinely love but can’t afford to keep anymore.
If you do find a suitable candidate, politely contact the cat’s current owners and set up a meeting. They will probably expect you to want to visit the cat and get to know her before you make the adoption final. You can expect to pay a few hundred pounds for a retiree in good health. This sort of cat is well worth the money — you’re getting a chipped, vaccinated, de-wormed cat with a proven track record in playing well with others.
Word of mouth
If you’re not already a known quantity in the cat fancy and don’t have at least a few British Shorthair-loving friends or colleagues, this can take a while. You’ll need to join cat groups online or in real life and start building connections. Let people know you’re interested in owning a British Shorthair but don’t be pushy. Ask respectful questions about setting up your home and caring for British Shorthairs.
Do your research and don’t expect everyone to provide the information you can easily find online. Once you’ve demonstrated that you’re a reasonable person who can be trusted to care for a cat, you can get more active about trying to find a British Shorthair in need of a home. People in the cat fancy aren’t elitists or bullies — they’re just all too accustomed to people who want a British Shorthair as a status symbol but won’t pay for one, or who are clearly planning to set up as a backyard breeder with a couple of un-neutered BSH cats.
It’s up to you to show the wider community that you’re reliable and serious about creating a good environment for your British Shorthair. Once people know you a little, they’ll often be quite happy to point you towards a breeder with a retiree who needs a new home or a former cat show star who’s getting out of the hobby.
Be very careful about breeders who offer you retirees (or any older cats they’ve mysteriously been unable to place) at knock-down prices. A mature pedigree British Shorthair in good health will run you around £300 at a minimum. Someone asking for much less than this may not be a reputable owner at all. You should be especially wary of anyone trying to sell you a kitten under the age of 12 weeks.
No reputable breeder will do this. Good breeders are motivated, at heart, by a genuine affection for the cats they raise. They want to breed healthy animals and make sure that all their kittens go on to happy, loving homes. A reputable breeder would never part with a kitten under 12 weeks; before this age, kittens simply aren’t ready to leave Mum and will suffer if they’re taken away from her.
Run, don’t walk, away from any breeder offering un-neutered British Shorthairs of any age to the casual buyer. Kittens are always sold neutered and retired breeding stock are fixed before being rehomed, to prevent fertile animals from falling into the hands of irresponsible breeders.
Trying to secure an “entire” British Shorthair is virtually impossible until you’ve got a solid track record of responsible ownership and are well known to your future fellow breeders.
But what if I want to save a British Shorthair from a bad home? It’s okay to buy from a backyard breeder then, right?
Not really. It’s laudable to want to help neglected cats but this is a very bad way to go about it. While you may decide to give a home to a British Shorthair with a troubled past, do be careful who you get her from. Backyard breeders will often try to offload emotionally damaged cats via adoption. Some of these poor animals are in a terrible state by the time they finally get a chance at a new home.
Stud toms who have never been properly socialised can be very, very difficult to manage; no matter how loving the home, the combination of neglect and testosterone can make them aggressive and hard to handle. Queen cats who have been overbred from their first heat are often terribly anxious, shy and skittish. These animals may never really get used to living with humans and may be aggressive towards your other pets. Worst of all, you may end up handing over money to support an abusive and dangerous breeding operation.
By lining their pockets, you’re only encouraging them to continue harming animals. Report abusive breeders to the RSPCA or whichever similar organisation exists in your region and look for a British Shorthair elsewhere.
Fostering a British Shorthair
If you want to adopt a British Shorthair but aren’t one hundred percent certain you’re ready for a lifelong commitment, fostering a cat is a great option. Some people are surprised to learn that cats sometimes need to be temporarily fostered just like human kids. British Shorthairs and other cats can find themselves in need of a temporary home for various reasons.
Maybe they’re just being looked after while an owner is away, in hospital or travelling; maybe there’s something going on at home, like noisy repairs or a new baby, which is distressing for the cat; maybe they’re waiting for a forever home to become available. Whatever the situation, fostering a cat of any breed is a very rewarding experience. You can find fostering networks online or approach cat rescue organisations.
You may need to foster cats of other breeds while you wait for a British Shorthair to come along; this will be a useful experience, however, and will demonstrate your reliability to other British Shorthair fans. Once you’ve got used to having cats around your home, you may finally be ready to look for the chunky ball of affection that is a British Shorthair and settle down for good.