European Shorthair Breed Information & Characteristics

The European Shorthair is a purposefully bred domestic cat that evolved in Europe over centuries. Find out everything about the history, nature, keeping, and care of the popular short-haired cat in the profile.

History and Origin of the European Shorthair

The origin of all modern cat breeds lies in Egypt. The ancient Egyptians kept cats in granaries as a defense against mice and worshiped them as gods. The formerly wild cat was slowly domesticated and spread all over the world. As early as the year 1000, cats were everywhere in Europe. Without targeted breeding efforts, a certain type of domestic cat developed, which is known to this day. In the 1980s, the first breeders, especially in Scandinavia, began to specifically breed the widespread “forest and meadow cat”.

They set a standard and named the slim and elegant cat “European Shorthair”, EKH for short. At the same time, the stockier British Shorthair came into being in the British Isles. The breed is therefore a typical domestic cat that has been refined in type and fur markings through targeted breeding. Even today there are supposedly ordinary house cats on farms that are purebred EKHs. Only since the 1990s has there been an increasing number of EKH breeders in Germany.

Essence and Character

The character of the individual animals is just as varied as their coat color. There are both particularly anxious and affectionate or wild specimens. The nature of every cat is different. In general, the European Shorthair is considered a friendly and down-to-earth cat breed. They are usually more trusting than their wild counterparts because they have been living in people’s homes for generations. Cats are often shy and reserved towards strangers. Many EKHs are cuddly and enjoy contact with their two-legged friend. Even with children or dogs, the cats usually have no problem, as long as everyone adheres to certain rules.

The Appearance of the European Shorthair

The European Shorthair is a relatively large, muscular cat with a large head and round eyes. The nose is generally short, the ears are wide apart and the cheeks are slightly prominent. The medium-length tail is thick and has a rounded tip. The short coat has a dense undercoat and a shiny top coat. All coat colors are allowed, but the colors should be pure and the markings clearly defined. A total of almost 70 colors are recognized, with only 30 being specifically bred. The most popular colors include black, white, red tabby, black tabby, and tortoiseshell. All colors can also appear in combination with white. Only specially bred colorings such as Point or Chocolate are not desired.

Attitude and Care

Outdoor cat or indoor cat?

Since the European Shorthair has evolved as a semi-feral domestic cat on farms for centuries, it has a freedom-loving character. She will definitely be happy as an outdoor cat if the conditions in your neighborhood allow it. You should be prepared for the fact that the cat regularly brings home “gifts” that it has caught itself. Anyone who has a problem with this is not well-advised with a cat whose hunting behavior is so pronounced. If you want to keep the EKH purely as an indoor cat, you should offer it enough space and activity. A cat-proof balcony or yard would be ideal in this case, so she can get some fresh air and roam around. You still have to teach some cats to use the litter box, which is of course indispensable for an indoor cat.

How much exercise does the European Shorthair need?

As an outdoor cat, the European Shorthair keeps itself busy and loves to hunt and defend its territory. As the owner, you are responsible for providing a replacement if you live purely as an apartment. A large scratching post with climbing and play facilities is definitely a good start. It would also be great if the intelligent cats were mentally challenged in the form of puzzles. It is enough to hide treats and let the cat look for them – but there are no limits to your creativity. Anyone who is out of the house a lot should get a second cat so that the four-legged friend does not feel lonely.

Grooming and feeding

With its short, dense fur, the EKH does not require any special care. Nevertheless, it helps the cat if you help it to remove loose hair by brushing it regularly. Especially in the spring, the change of coat can be exhausting for short-haired cats. Most cats enjoy the extra stroking once they get used to it. Feeding a species-appropriate and healthy cat food is just as important. If your four-legged friend only lives in the apartment, you should make sure to avoid being overweight. Try to avoid too many snacks and stick to regular feeding times.

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