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European Shorthair Cat Facts

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close-up of a European shorthair cats face

European Shorthair cats are a friendly cat breed that can be a great addition to nearly any family. Though these felines may resemble many other breeds, personality-wise, they are unique.

Breed History

It is believed that the European Shorthair cat breed is originally from Italy, specifically Rome. During these ancient times when emperors ruled, the European Shorthair was prized for their hunting abilities and knack for keeping vermin out of barns and homes.

It is also believed that as Roman invaders traveled around Europe, Shorthairs moved along with them. These cats were invaluable to the men as they helped protect their food supplies from various pests and rodents.

The European Shorthair breed has developed naturally, meaning that they have evolved without the direct involvement of people.

Today these cats remain rare in the United States but still relatively common in Europe.

Cats are a big responsibility and commitment—both with time and money. Before adopting a cat, it’s essential to understand how much it costs to have a cat.


It’s essential to become familiar with European Shorthair cat characteristics before adopting one and welcoming them into your home. Of course, each cat is an individual, so certain personality traits will vary from cat to cat.

It’s natural to have questions about a breed, especially if you are unfamiliar with that one in particular. When it comes to European Shorthairs, common questions include:

How Long Do European Shorthair Cats Live?

The average lifespan for a European Shorthair cat is 14-20 years. However, this typical life expectancy window can vary per cat, based on their diet, exercise routine, living environment, and overall health.

How Big Do European Shorthair Cats Get?

These cats typically weigh 8-15 pounds, with males usually weighing more than females. That said, each cat is an individual, and your feline may weigh above or below this standard.

Are European Shorthair Cats Hypoallergenic?

Coming as unfortunate news to cat-allergy sufferers, but European Shorthair cats are not hypoallergenic.

European Shorthair cats are friendly cats that enjoy spending time with their family. They are known to get along splendidly with children of any age, and they do well in homes with other pets.

Though these felines are extroverted with their close family and friends, they can be a bit shy around newcomers. To help with new introductions, socialization can be beneficial. Socialization includes introducing your cat to new people, other cats, and other pets in the household. This process of meeting new people can be particularly important if you have children in your home.

When it comes to socialization, the sooner the better. No matter at what age you adopt your new feline friend, socialization should begin as soon as possible in order to help your cat develop a well-rounded personality and temperament.

European Shorthair vs American Shorthair

Although these two cat breeds are similar in more ways than one, there are still a few distinctions. First, the European Shorthair cat is native to Italy, while the American Shorthair is native to America.

These cats also have some slight physical differences. For instance, European Shorthairs have elongated faces, thick coats, and long hair. American Shorthairs, on the other hand, have round faces, thinner coats, and short hair.

young European shorthair cat asleep atop a multicolored blanket

Grooming and Care

Having a good grooming routine for your cat is essential for their overall health and well-being. You should check your cat’s ears regularly for signs of redness or any bad odor, as this could be a sign of an ear infection. To help keep your cat’s ears clean, use an appropriate ear-cleaning solution and cotton balls. Be sure never to use cotton swabs as this could accidentally cause pain or injury in their inner ear.

It can additionally be helpful to brush your cat’s teeth at least once a week. Just be sure to use cat-safe toothpaste.

In order to maintain a healthy and clean coat and manage all that cat hair, it is recommended that you brush your cat a few times a week. Frequent brushing can additionally help reduce the amount of cat hair on your clothes and furniture, but it may still be helpful to keep a lint roller handy.

Although cats wear down their nails naturally through their everyday activities and with the help of scratching posts, it is still necessary that you trim their nails regularly.

Due to each cat being an individual, some may react differently to their grooming routine. If your cat is not a fan, then some more patience (and a little bit of bribery) may be necessary.

Besides a grooming routine, providing proper care for your European Shorthair also means giving your pal a nutritious diet and plenty of exercise. Plus, it’s beneficial to give your four-legged friend opportunities to exercise their mind. Puzzle games, for instance, are an excellent outlet for mental stimulation.

Common Health Issues

European Shorthair cats are a relatively healthy breed. That said, they can still be susceptible to developing some health issues. According to our claims data,** the top five issues that affect this breed include,

Though these are common conditions for this breed, there is no guarantee that your cat will develop any or all of these conditions.

To help keep your European Shorthair in tip-top shape, it’s crucial that you take them for annual appointments with their veterinarian. Even if your cat appears to be in good health, it’s important that you do not skip appointments since cats are notorious for being able to hide when they don’t feel their best.

calico European shorthair cat sleeping in a windowsill

Fun Facts

There is much to learn about the European Shorthair breed, including some fun facts.

  • The European Shorthair is the national cat of Finland.
  • There can accidentally be much confusion between European Shorthairs, British Shorthairs, and American Shorthair cats. However, though some people use the names interchangeably, there are distinctions between the breeds.
  • These cats can be found in multiple colors, including black, red, blue, and cream. They may also have tabby, silver, or white markings. Eye colors such as green, yellow, blue, or orange are typical for this breed.
  • Many people consider this breed to be the original ‘house cat’ or ‘domestic cat.’
  • The breed names of British Shorthairs, European Shorthairs, and Celtic Shorthairs were once used interchangeably. This, understandably so, caused much confusion between distinguishing between them.

Since these cats remain a rare breed in the United States, there is still much for people to learn about them.

Some felines adore traveling. Before bringing your four-legged friend along for an adventure, learn how to travel with your cat.

European Shorthair Cat Names

After adopting your new European Shorthair cat, the next big decision is deciding upon a name. Since there is an infinite list of name options, this may turn out to be a more time-consuming choice than you first thought. To help with this process, check out the list of autumn-inspired cat names.

  • Goldie
  • Honey
  • Pumpkin
  • Ember
  • Sage
  • Toffee
  • Opal
  • Maple

Don’t forget to take a few precautionary steps and pet-proof your home—curiosity can get a cat in trouble. Check out these 10 foods to keep away from your cat.

**Internal Claims Data, 2015-20
The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


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