Why Is My British Shorthair So Small?

Every cat owner is conscious of their pet’s physical attributes, such as height and weight.

However, one thing that every British Shorthair owner seems to be concerned about is their cat’s height.

So why is your British Shorthair so small? 

British Shorthairs grow slower than the average cat. They can take up to 5 years to reach their maximum weight and height. However, if your British Shorthair is still below average even after they’re five years old, it could be due to genetic variation or malnutrition.

But how do you figure out if your British Shorthair is growing normally before five years? Is your cat also affected by genes and malnutrition?

To find out, keep reading below.

Is Your British Shorthair Actually Small?

We all want our cats to look tall, healthy, and beautiful. But there always comes a time when British Shorthair owners begin to realize that their cat looks smaller than other cats. A fully-grown adult British Shorthair will have an average body length of 22”–25” (56-64 cm) and an average height of 12”–14” (30-46 cm).

But don’t worry about it just yet. British Shorthairs are natural late-bloomers. They increase in size in quick growth spurts during the first year and reach their maximum adult weight on their first birthday. While they’ve also achieved most of their height at this point, British Shorthairs continue to grow at a very steady pace until they’re about 3-5 years old.

Before that, you might think that your British Shorthair just has bad genes. It’s also worth noting that the males are a few inches taller than the females, both in length and height. Males are also a bit heavier than female British Shorthairs.

In any case, what matters most is that your cat is healthy. If your British Shorthair is of below-average height at 3-5 years of age but is active and physically fit, you probably shouldn’t worry about their height. 

However, it’s essential to keep track of their growth during the first year, as any lack of progress could indicate malnutrition or growth issues. So, let’s see how British Shorthairs grow in size and weight during their first year:

Growth of British Shorthair During the First Year

It’s crucial to keep track of your British Shorthair’s growth during the first year. Any delays in weight gain will be easy to recognize at this stage. This will give you time to get your kitten checked by a vet to make the required changes in their lifestyle. 

After a British Shorthair is born, their growth rate will be astonishingly fast. In fact, they’ll be gaining about a quarter ounce every single day till they’re 15 days old. From the 2nd month till the 10th month, both their weight and height will continue to increase quickly. Once they’ve become a year old, their growth rate will reduce significantly but won’t zero down.

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Here’s a weight chart explaining the minimum and maximum expected weight every month during the first year of your British Shorthair’s life:

AgeWeight in Lbs.Weight in Kg
One Month0.6 – 1.50.3 – 0.7
Two Months1.2 – 2.60.6 – 1.2
Three Months1.9 – 3.90.9 – 1.8
Four Months2.8 – 5.51.3 – 2.5
Five Months3.5 – 6.81.6 – 3.1
Six Months3.9 – 7.71.8 – 3.5
Seven Months4.6 – 8.52.1 – 3.9
Eight Months5.2 – 9.22.4 – 4.2
Nine Months5.5 – 9.92.5 – 4.5
Ten Months5.7 – 102.6 – 4.6
Eleven Months5.7 – 10.32.6 – 4.7
Twelve Months5.7 – 10.52.6 – 4.8

Whether you have a male or female British Shorthair, make sure that they fall into the recommended weight range each month. Any delay could signal a nutritional deficiency or other health problems. 

It’s also a great idea to get your British Shorthair checked by a vet every three to four months during the first year. Your vet will examine the kitten’s growth rate, make any necessary adjustments, and catch onto any symptoms before they progress.

Why Are Some British Shorthair Smaller?

Though British Shorthairs do grow steadily, certain cats just have naturally short statures. While this can be a concern for most owners, it’s important to know that as long as your cat is healthy and active, there’s nothing to stress over.

However, we’ll still find out the reason why some British Shorthairs are naturally shorter than other cats of the same breed. Here are some of the most common causes:

Lack of proper nutrition

The first few months after birth are crucial to a British Shorthair’s growth. During this period, they are surviving on their mother’s milk while also being weaned. A combination of milk and food provides the kittens with all the essential nutrients required to grow into healthy adults. 

That’s why most breeders don’t sell kittens before they’re at least 12 weeks old. During that time, the kittens are still weaning and drawing all the nutrients they can from their mothers’ milk.

However, if a kitten does not receive all the nutrients during the first few months, it can lead to delayed or stunted growth. A reason for this could be too many kittens in the litter, due to which the mother couldn’t produce enough milk to feed all of them. The mother could also have fallen sick or died, because of which the kitten wouldn’t have been able to derive all the nutrition from her mother’s milk. 

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It is advised to take your kitten to the vet in this situation. They will provide some alternative milk formula, so your kitten can receive the nutrients they need to wean. In the end, malnutrition can stunt growth by a few inches, but it doesn’t matter as long as the British Shorthair is active and physically well. 

Genes and ancestry

Similar to humans, genes also play a crucial role in deciding the physical attributes of a cat. So while your cat might actually be a British Shorthair, there’s a chance that they’re not entirely purebred, and a non-British Shorthair cat is part of their ancestry.

In this case, the cause is hereditary and your British Shorthair will naturally be smaller in size. While genes can affect your cat’s height, they’re probably not going to cause any other problem, especially if the recent lineage is completely pure.

Living with a Small British Shorthair 

If you realize that you can’t do anything about your cat’s short height, don’t fret. As long as your British Shorthair pal is active, healthy, and the right weight, keep enjoying their company and look after them.

British Shorthairs have very interesting physical features. Their broad chest, thick legs, chubby cheeks, and round eyes give them a distinctive and incredibly cute appearance. Some people actually prefer these cats due to their short stature and fun demeanor, which make them excellent, manageable pets.

If you suspect that your British Shorthair is suffering from joint problems or mobility issues due to their short stature, it’s best to get them checked by a vet. While a short height rarely causes problems, your vet will give you any supplements required to improve your cat’s joint health and functioning.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know if your British Shorthair is obese?

If a male British Shorthair weighs over 17 pounds and the female weighs over 12 pounds, they’re considered obese. If your cat is obese, reduce your cat’s carbohydrate intake, feed them less treats, and exercise them more so they can shed the extra pounds.

How to choose a British Shorthair kitten?

In a litter of British Shorthair kittens, look for the one that seems active and has shiny fur. Moreover, pick the one that has healthy and clear eyes and ears. A healthy British Shorthair will look and act healthy and be willing to interact with you and other cats.

How long do British Shorthair cats live?

A typical British Shorthair will have an average lifespan of 15 years. However, there are some British Shorthairs that have been documented to live 20 years too. If your cat gets a proper diet, adequate exercise, and a loving family, their chances of dying prematurely will be significantly reduced.

Do British Shorthair meow a lot?

Most British Shorthairs tend to be vocal, particularly when they need help, food, and attention. But like any breed, you can find British Shorthairs that are non-talkative as well.

How much does a British Shorthair cost?

British Shorthairs are some of the most expensive breeds in the world, and a kitten can cost anywhere around $800–$1000 from a trustworthy breeder. 

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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