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Hill’s Brand Horizon

European Shorthair Cat

cat Breed Profile

Although its wide range of colors and patterns make this breed stand out from most others, the European Shorthair cat is commonly considered to be in the average or medium category of height and weight, although adult males can get large.




large >15 pounds

medium-large > 12 pounds






Less Allergenic




15-20 years




Grooming Needs


Social Needs


Eye Color

Blue, Amber, Green, Odd-eyed (typically one blue and one amber)

Club recognition




Common in Europe Rare in the rest of the world

Gray cat with bright green eyes and wild hair looks back over its shoulder.

About the European Shorthair Cat

Although its wide range of colors and patterns make this breed stand out from most others, the European Shorthair cat is commonly considered to be in the average or medium category of height and weight, although adult males can get large.

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European Shorthair Cat personality

One of the European Shorthair's most favorable qualities is her ability to adapt quickly to new environments, making her an ideal pet for households with small children and seniors, as well as with other cats, dogs and various pets. (Just be sure to keep small creatures like guinea pigs and hamsters out of your kitty's reach. After all, a cat's hunting instincts run deep.) She loves her pet parents and strives to please them, an aspect of her temperament that traces back to her days as a hard-working mouser.

Like all cats, the European loves to play and appreciates having a plethora of fun cat toys at her disposal. She's a very intelligent furry friend, so you'll want to keep her engaged mentally and physically. Cat food puzzles, for example, challenge your European and help her hone her predatory instincts in a constructive way.

What to expect

As noted, European Shorthairs are great self-groomers, but she will need at least a weekly combing from you, as well as claw-trimming, teeth-brushing and the occasional cat bath. In order to keep her athleticism in top-top shape, choose a cat food that will provide her with optimum nutrients and flavor.

Despite being outgoing with human family members, the European Shorthair cat personality reveals itself as shy or timid, particularly around strangers. Providing her with a safe space in which to hide will help your nervous cat to feel more secure, as will socializing her with other people.

European Shorthairs have a predilection for the outdoors, but this is not always a safe option for your kitty or for the wildlife in your yard. You can indulge her love of the great outdoors by installing a high cat condo or perch near a secure, open window.

History of the European Shorthair Cat

These days, the term house cat conjures images of a content, relaxed kitty who likes nothing more than to curl up in a cozy napping spot and have plenty of humans to shower her with affection. And while this is a pretty accurate depiction, that little fur baby of yours is a territorial hunter at heart.

In her early days, the European Shorthair made a name for herself in ancient Rome, and she tagged along with Roman invaders as they traveled across Europe. Her sharp intelligence and athletic hunting prowess made her an invaluable addition to legions across the continent. She was adept at protecting food supplies from rodents and other pests that threatened the soldiers' livelihood. From the early Roman settlements, the European Shorthair was revered for her hunting skills on the first modern farms as European life in the Middle Ages transitioned into an agrarian society.

The contemporary European Shorthair cat first appeared in Sweden as kitties with all of the best traits (friendly, playful, active), and the breed remains popular in Scandinavia. It's even the national cat of Finland.

Within pedigreed cat circles, confusion swirled around the breed's name because the European Shorthair and the British Shorthair were used interchangeably, despite the fact that the European was bred with different traits than her British, Celtic, Bär, and Exotic counterparts—the Persian even made its way into certain European breeds.

Interestingly, researchers who performed genetic testing on various cats around the world also discovered that North American cats were closely linked to European cats, according to an article published in Genomics, confirming that the European domestic housecat made its way across the Atlantic with early North American settlers.

Breeders were interested in preserving the Romanness of the European, and in 1992, the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe), based in Luxemburg, recognized the European Shorthair as an official breed separate from other Shorthairs, and developed a set of breed standards.

Although the European Shorthair is the pedigree version of the common housecat in Europe, according to Animal Planet, this breed, with her sleek coat, stealth hunting and sweet disposition, is anything but average.

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