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Domestic Shorthair

Affectionately referred to as the “mutts” of the cat world, Domestic Shorthairs are a mix of multiple breeds of cats.  This versatile breed’s roots can be traced back to 16th century Britain. Domestic Shorthairs were employed as rat catchers, particularly during outbreaks of bubonic plague. When people began leaving Britain to settle in America, they brought the cats along to help with rat control on the boats during the long voyages.   

Because Domestic Shorthairs have a diverse lineage, they have a wide variety of physical features and personality traits. Their personalities can range from quiet and reserved to playful and social, so they fit in well with different types of  families and lifestyles. They are rarely aggressive and are a good option for families with young children. If they are socialized early, they can make great companions for other family pets.


Catching rats


Britain, 1500s

About Domestic Shorthairs

The Domestic Shorthair’s look can vary as much as their personality traits. As their name implies, these cats generally have short fur and don’t shed much. A simple weekly brushing is all that’s required for care and grooming. Their soft, sleek coats come in a variety of different colors and patterns, including solid color, bicolor, tricolor, and tabby. They are generally muscular cats, but they only require a moderate amount of exercise: simply playing around the house will satisfy their daily exercise needs.

It’s best to keep Domestic Shorthairs inside in order to protect them and any birds or small critters outside. Hunters by nature, these cats are likely to bring home “gifts” if they are allowed to roam outdoors. A scratching post, a climbable cathouse, a few cat toys, and a window with a view will satisfy this feline’s natural instincts while keeping them safe from wild animals, parasites, and other diseases that can be contracted outside.

Domestic Shorthair Health

Domestic Shorthairs are generally very healthy cats; however, they are prone to overeating and resulting obesity, which can lead to a variety of health issues. So it’s important to ensure they eat a healthy diet and carefully control how much food Domestic Shorthairs consume. In addition to their higher risk of obesity, Domestic Shorthairs are prone to major health problems such as kidney disease and diabetes, as well as less concerning health problems like vomiting and urinary problems.

Major Domestic Shorthair Health Concerns

  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism

Minor Domestic Shorthair Health Concerns

  • Vomiting
  • Respiratory issues
  • Urinary conditions


  1. Females: 9 – 14 inches
  2. Males: 9 – 14 inches


  1. Females: Less than 15 pounds
  2. Males: Less than 20 pounds

Activity Level

  1. Moderately active

Pet Insurance for Domestic Shorthairs

Since Domestic Shorthairs aren’t generally plagued by major health issues, they can live for a long time — approximately 15 to 20 years. Pet insurance for Domestic Shorthairs is  generally comparable in price to pet insurance for mixed cats.

Since this breed could develop health issues over time due to their longevity, it is important to get pet insurance for Domestic Shorthairs  within the first 1-2 years.

Domestic Shorthair Rescues

Looking to rescue a Domestic Shorthair cat? Here are some of the top Domestic Shorthair rescues in the country:

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