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British Shorthairs all come from the same genetic pool (if bred properly) but come out in all shades and colours with a variety of markings. They have a certain cuddly shape and strong build as well as specific characteristics that set them apart from other breeds despite their array of colourings. Basically, what we're talking about here is a refined and well-bred moggy. You get all the convenience of a self-sufficient moggy but with some of the beauty, intelligence and communicative abilities of a pedigree like a Siamese or an Oriental. It's the best of both worlds if you like. You'll find these cats all have rounded faces with evenly set eyes and rounded noses so they don't typically have breathing or eye problems like some of the "snub faced" breeds do. They're shorthaired which means you don't ever need to groom them as they can manage just fine on their own and they're not renowned for any specific health problems. They have a good average lifespan and can live well into their late teens / early twenties in some cases. They're the perfect breed to have around children and I can vouch for them being quite happy either indoors or out - it's your choice with these cats. They tend to be very gentle by nature and vocal but quiet with it. In my opinion if you're looking to buy a cat as a family pet or a companion then you should seriously consider the British Shorthair as your first choice.
MADDY: BLACK SMOKE BRITISH SHORTHAIR
Maddy is my beautiful black baby who's always up for a game or a cuddle. I bought him together with Baby Gingerbread and Quindolin Mary (will explain the name in a bit) as kittens from a certified breeder nearly three years ago now. Maddy was the cheapest of the lot at £200 though I objected to that price having noticed the white "tip-ex" splodge on his shoulder wasn't "his markings coming through" as I'd been led to believe but a genetic fault in his fur! Still, I never showed any of these kittens so now everyone's got the "have you spilt something on your cat?" out of their system I've got over it. He's still a very beautiful cat with his thick black coat and perfectly formed body and he has the most amazing personality to go with it. As a kitten he caused all kinds of mischief. At just a few months old he stole rice off my plate while I was watching the telly and it was a sign of things to come. My least favourite bit of mischief was when I was trying to make my wedding cake and as I went to add to the pile of pink sugar roses that I was making I noticed some were missing. Yep, the little sod had craftily been hooking them off the table with his paw and scoffing them under the table as I worked. I chucked a teaspoon of icing sugar over him to give him something to occupy himself with and Baby Gingerbread sat there licking it off him.
Another time, Baby Gingerbread (who loved cardboard as a kitten) chewed through a box containing twenty personalised chocolate bars - and he and Maddy proceeded to scoff most of the contents. Baby Gingerbread was very sick but Maddy was in his element. I had to lock everything away in cupboards and could never put my dinner down to go to the loo. Even though I'm vegetarian, this cat'll eat anything. If I open a packet of crisps these days I quickly find myself surrounded; Black cat on one side, toddler on the other. Maddy's a good cat though; the mischief he causes is just him following his instincts and it's loveable really. When it comes to being called in he will come first time so long as he's in earshot and if you tell him no enough times he will learn to not do something. He responds to commands like "oy get off that!" and "no, back in here please" and he even leaves my dinner alone these days if I put it on the sofa to go to the loo (but only on the sofa as that's the no-go area in his mind). He's got a meow and he will use it but it's nothing too loud or annoying. He'll talk to you if he's hungry or has spotted some trouble and wants you to follow him but he's usually pretty quiet. He's got a purr like a motor boat that chugs away many times a day though which is lovely. He adores being stroked and cuddled and will happily sit on you any which way; he always seemed to thoroughly enjoy being lugged around the house by his Dad. He's fallen asleep in a baby-cuddle on many occasions quite happily purring away and he feels the need to clean the people he loves - cat or human!
His intelligence has always been pretty amazing to me. The things this cat has figured out are beyond belief. From a young age he would sit by the front door waiting expectantly for his Dad to come home from work and the look on his face when his Dad worked overtime was heartbreaking. He got ever so upset when we moved house and the baby came along because Daddy never came home at the right time anymore and it really confused him but it wasn't long before he got into a new routine of waiting until Daddy had seen the baby first before circling for his "Daddy and Maddy time". He wasn't jealous of the baby at all though; he adopted him pretty quickly in fact. He never blamed the baby for taking away the attention though he would copy him sometimes which my Mother-in-Law thought was astounding. One time as my son lay on the floor on his rug, Maddy got down and into the same position beside him so he could have some of the "oohs and ahhs". Then when the baby was stood up by the sofa, Maddy stood up right beside him, paws on the sofa. He copied everything the baby did for a good few minutes and it was something he did on several occasions thereafter because he realised everyone thought he was cute too then.
Being such a docile creature, he's never run away from my baby either. Whatever my baby has to throw at him he's taken it with pretty good tolerance. There was one incident where my son then aged 11m poked him in the eye and he clawed him but in fairness to Maddy he was just shocked and quickly retracted his claw and looked suitably ashamed. He's put up with having his tail yanked and all sorts over the time so in fairness I told them both off without getting angry at either and removed my son as I felt he was the one in the wrong. Maddy's only ever clawed twice in his life; once from the aforementioned eye-poking incident and once when his Dad was too rough with him. He doesn't bite and I've never, ever seen him hiss which is unbelievable for a cat. Maddy's one of those animals that thinks he's a person and it's quite endearing really. He shows compassion and a real sense of emotion which is a lovely quality to find in a cat as they can be very selfish creatures sometimes. The only time Maddy's selfish is when it comes to food but when it comes to people or favourite sleeping places he has always shared willingly.
BABY GINGERBREAD: RED AND CREAM SPOTTED BRITISH SHORTHAIR
Baby Gingerbread was an extra and an expensive extra at that! I'd already reserved Maddy and Quindolin but when I went to take my then boyfriend along to meet them a week before they were ready to leave their Mothers, I saw Quindolin's Brother Baby Gingerbread and nearly died. Having not been allowed to take Gingerbread with me when I left home, I was extremely distraught and had desperately wanted to find another cat like him. Well there he was in the form of a Baby version! He was spotted instead of striped but he looked an awful lot like Gingerbread did as a kitten. I couldn't possibly go back on one of the others so I decided to go ahead and take all three. Baby Gingerbread hadn't been there the first time when I made my choice as he'd been at the vet but he was absolutely fine apart from a bit of behavioural distance.
Baby Gingerbread is a really stunning cat to look at despite his slightly stumpy build. His colour and markings are second to none and his fur is the softest I've ever felt. Unfortunately though, unlike Maddy, he HATES being cuddled! Baby Gingerbread is affectionate when he wants to be but it has to be on his terms. He'll only get on your lap if he wants to - you can't pick him up and put him on there which is unusual for a British Shorthair. I actually wonder if his behaviour is because he was isolated at the vets as a newborn. Because he's so adorably soft and cute I've never been able to leave the poor sod alone though so over the years he's become much friendlier. He never disliked people, he just avoided them as a kitten but by the age of about a year he was frequently coming up to people and nuzzling their shoes, purring loudly hinting at wanting a stroke or two. He loves having under his chin rubbed in particular. He too has never hissed and come to think of it he's never had his claws out except when playing with a toy either. He's no problem around the baby because he legs it when he sees him coming! He wasn't best pleased when my son learned to crawl but these days, now my son is toddling; he can't be bothered to get out of his way. Baby Gingerbread raises his head when my son goes near him, they exchange looks, and Baby Gingerbread then goes back to sleeping. I think they've come to an understanding.
Like Maddy, he caused a bit of a mischief as a kitten but not on the regular basis Maddy did (and does). Baby Gingerbread's favourite snack was cardboard which as a then ebay seller come house mover was not helpful. He was a bit of a sod for toilet training as well but again, I wonder if this comes from the early separation.
The other two have never, ever peed on anything but Baby Gingerbread did on some five or six occasions. That's not too bad over three years though and he's not done it since he turned two so I think he's grown out of that one. He plays skipper to Maddy in many respects in that he's quite content to just chill out and get on with life while the world spins around him rather than get involved. He likes nothing better than a good long sleep in a comfy place and has never tried to dominate Maddy in any way leaving Maddy free to rule the roost. It's nice that they all got on so well from day one and established their own pecking order but that just goes to show what compliant cats these usually are.
QUINDOLIN MARY: TABBY BRITISH SHORTHAIR
Quindolin was actually called Tarquin. Huh? You're thinking. Well when I bought my little boys, I registered them with names from the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice: Armand (Maddy), Merrick (Baby Gingerbread) and Tarquin (Quinn). Only when I was having a bath one night having had them for a month or two I watched Quinn walking around and suddenly sat up in the bath and picked him up to have a closer look. My suspicions were confirmed, this was a girl cat. I was so amazingly annoyed. £250 and you'd think they could sex the damn thing right. I didn't want mixed sex kittens - I wanted all boys. In my experience boys are typically more affectionate than girls, cheaper to spay and a lot less, well, catty. I informed the breeder and she offered me the chance to swap him for a kitten of equal value but my reply was that she was a kitten not a toaster. I was annoyed and saw it creating a problem but kept her nonetheless and "Quinn" became "Quindolin" (though we had her certificate changed to "TaraQuin" for want of how else to change the name she already answered to when put on the spot). The "Mary" got added on when she naughty because it's my middle name.
Quinn was a very sweet little girl who my then boyfriend / fiancé called his "Little Princess". I've never come across a more demure little fluff ball actually. Like her Brother Baby Gingerbread, her markings were gorgeous but whilst she had the perfect markings for a show cat she was far too tiny. She weighed a mere 5lbs odd when fully grown and always had to have a half or third of a tablet when given any medication. She never caused a fuss and ate like a mouse but I always worried for her and in the back of mind I always felt I was wrong to keep her. The boys were real boys, always bouncing around the place and jumping all over her when all she wanted was to sit quietly. I had to get Quindolin spayed at just 6 months old and looking far too small for the operation because Maddy kept trying to rape her all the time and the breeder had already threatened me that despite having thought I'd purchased all boys; I would still have to pay breeder fees if Quinn had any kittens (I'd like to see that one stand up in court). So spayed she was but although it eliminated the worry of kittens, it didn't stop the boys trying to rape her and jump all over her all the time. They weren't picking on her exactly, they were just playing a bit rough and she didn't usually mind but I always worried it was too rough an environment for her.
When I left my husband a year ago and went into a refuge, Wood Green kindly fostered my cats so I could have them back when I got sorted. But at that time I decided it was time let Quinn go and I gave her up for adoption :o( It was very sad but the volunteers promised me that cats like Quinn only go to the very best homes because they can afford to be choosey. She was a cat trapped in a kitten's body with perfect markings, a complacent temperament, a small appetite and a dear little mew; who wouldn't want a cat like that? I didn't get rid of her because there was anything wrong with her - I did it because I thought she'd have a better life and it was the right thing to do and I stand by that decision. You don't give away £250 cats without good reason.
GINGERBREAD: RED AND CREAM STRIPED SHORTHAIR
Aww I love my Bread-Breads. He's been with me for a decade now and I love him like a son. When I first left home I wasn't allowed to take him but six months later I heard he was being terrorised by a dog my Mother had bought, as were all the other cats in the house. The poor thing had basically been shoved to one side while this dog ruled the place. When I went to find him he was holed up on a shelf looking down at this barking dog with fear in his eyes. It's unacceptable in my mind to introduce a big, lively puppy to a house full of mature cats but that's just my personal opinion; I heard said dog was put down a year later having bitten my Mother's arm. I took Gingerbread home with me, as I had every right to do with him being my cat of eight years, and got him sorted. He had urea levels of nearly 10 at that time which is dangerous and can lead to kidney problems but with the right care and diet I soon got him sorted out and he was back to being his bouncy self with no sign of kidney problems on the horizon these days. I'm sorry but sometimes I wonder what kind of planet my Mother lives on having let him get into the state he was in. I'd only been gone six months. No these cats don't need a lot of care but it's not hard to feed them twice a day and take them to the vet once or twice a year is it?!
At first Gingerbread wouldn't integrate with the kits but when we moved I purposely shut the kits into the outhouse for the first week and gave Gingerbread the run of the house in the hope it would mean he saw it as his own territory first. It worked. Maddy had been top kit but Gingerbread was now top cat and they all learned to live in perfect harmony. British Shorthairs are renowned for this kind of behaviour; they'll usually be quite happy together if they're introduced early on but they won't like other cats introduced at a later date. Gingerbread only got on with Tolly previously as Tolly was there when Gingerbread came home from Wood Green as a kitten. The other cats that came into the house he hissed at and fought with constantly. He's had to put up with Mother bringing in all kinds of pets over the years (though he appreciated the goldfish very much) but it's only the kits he's ever learned to get on with despite having lived with other cats for many years longer.
Gingerbread's always been a very intelligent cat and very communicative too. I suspect the reason his meow is much louder than is usual is because he grew up with mega-mouth Tolly, a shorthaired Oriental and not-much-quieter Cayenne, a Siamese cat. He had to speak up I guess. He's always had this adorable way of greeting me; he nuzzles my cheek with his! I only have to say "give Mummy love" and he'll start nuzzling my face with his soft fur. He's a really, really beautiful cat but the reason he was given to an animal shelter was because no-one noticed his breed as a kitten. He was only 8wks old when I chose him and with all his baby fur, the markings were a bit hidden. But they soon came out in style and the vet was amazed by just how perfect he was, reckoned whoever dumped him would kick themselves if they knew how much he was worth financially.
When it comes to "talking" Gingerbread will happily converse with you in a wide range of tones. He howls if he's hungry, whines if he's distressed, mews if he wants some loving. And he loves a good cuddle or nuzzle. He'll come when he's called (along with Baby version who in all fairness thinks I'm calling him) though he's terrible for bringing "presents" with him. British Shorthairs aren't usually predators particularly. In fact my lot would rather sit there and watch a massive spider run around my living room than kill it (useless!). But I remember Tolly teaching Gingerbread to hunt when he was a kitten and it's stayed with him all this time. I still remember catching Tolly giving him a lesson when he was a little fur ball; they were out in the garden with Tolly waggling his bum and pouncing on things and then going over to Gingerbread as if to say "now you try it". Tolly used to like playing tiddlywinks with the frogs by the garden pond; he'd bop them on the back with his paw and watch them jump then repeated the process over and over until he either lost them or got bored. Gingerbread unfortunately hasn't quite got this game down to the same fine art and when they jump he pounces on them, snatches them up in his mouth - then brings them into my bloody flat. I've not even been here nine months yet and so far I've had three frogs and two dead mice, one of which had been disembowelled. Oh, and I've had two dead birds too thinking about it, one of which had half it's feathered strewn around my hallway carpet one morning (what a site at 8am). At least the birds and mice were dead unlike the frogs though. I know exactly which of my three cats bought every last one of them because he's bought in hundreds of other creatures over the years at various addresses. I blame Tolly for having been such a bad influence on him as a kitten. Yes it's cute that they cuddled up together and cleaned each other like Baby Gingerbread and Maddy do now but there was no need to teach him to hunt; he'd have taught him to smoke too if I hadn't been there keeping an eye on things. This is not normal behaviour for a British Shorthair so note that firstly this cat was abandoned rather than bred by a professional like the other three were and secondly he lived with various other breeds of cats over the years. Something to think about there.
Whilst these cats all have their own personalities, they also have many similar qualities that define their breed. They are all extremely compliant compared to numerous other breeds like Siamese or Persian and all four of my British Shorthairs have been co-operative in responding to commands like coming in or getting off things. They're all intelligent, though naturally you'll find in varying degrees, which is the big advantage to British Shorthairs over common moggies besides their soft fur and attractive appearances. Whilst it can be difficult to have any control over a moggy you should find that a British Shorthair is easy to toilet-train, feed, get to respond to simple commands and come when they're called. They all learn their own tricks like how to sit themselves on the sofa on their bum like people do (Maddy) or how to open doors (Gingerbread) but it's similar behaviour they display in that they like to mimic their owners and have a willingness to be more than just dumb balls of fur like some cats can be. British Shorthairs are bred from common moggies so of course you'll find some of these characteristics in moggies too; but you won't be guaranteed a good all-round mix. If you buy a cheap moggy kitten you could find it grows up to be anything; it could have umpteen health problems, dodgy markings, low intelligence or a feral nature. I've always found it's the moggies that peed on the carpet frequently and refused to come when called but then other people will have had no problems with their moggies and found them every bit as intelligent as British Shorthairs are. The thing to remember is that with a moggy it's a game of chance but with a British Shorthair it's almost a dead cert you'll get a great all-round pet.
Obviously the advantage with buying a purpose-bred cat is that most reputable breeders will have taken steps to eradicate "bad genes" from their kittens and fortunately British Shorthairs suffer from very few complaints as a breed in general. With a Moggy you get all kinds of genetic problems through feral breeding, and "snub face" breeds like Persians often have breathing or eye problems. A few websites I've looked on to ensure I offer appropriate information have suggested that British Shorthairs might be inclined to suffer from minor ailments like Gingivitis but all agree that British Shorthairs are generally very strong cats with few breed-specific health concerns.
Over the years I've had a few problems with the kits but then I don't think my breeder was all that fantastic and perhaps I should have done my homework a little better before I bought them. I don't dwell on that though because I adore my cats for the personalities they have and they've not had anything too traumatic to date. As kittens, Baby Gingerbread and Quindolin had Feline Acne quite a lot but after many courses of antibiotics, they just sort of "grew out of it" when they reached adulthood. Unlike human acne, the feline variety isn't age-related so the timing was presumably just a co-incidence. The antibiotics were hard work considering how tiny Quinn was but being relatively compliant creatures who rarely attack anything (even bugs you try to coerce them into attacking) she would swallow her scraps of tablets without too much bother and no bite marks on my hands.
Maddy has had a superbly healthy life with the exception of his recent alopecia. Until he came down with it, he'd always been a fit, energetic and lively cat who'd never had a single illness or accident in his two and half years. Unfortunately this has been totally down to bad luck and has nothing to do with this specific breed; it can happen to any cat. Feline Endocrine Alopecia is a rare but not unheard of condition that's triggered by a hormonal imbalance in spayed cats. There's little medically known about the condition (well they're hardly going to conduct a large government study on it are they?) and the drugs my vet feels this kind of problem requires were made illegal by the EU a few years back for fear of them getting into the human food chain ('cos we all eat roast cat on a Sunday right?). So instead Maddy has had a shot of synthetic testosterone and is on hormone replacement tablets. His condition hasn't greatly improved however he's not lost any more fur, which has mainly gone on his underbelly and the backs of his legs and tail and his fur on top feels soft again. He's perfectly happy and still regularly sleeps sprawled out on his back with his paws in the air so I don't think he's even noticed to be honest! The vet agrees with me that there's a possibility this is all linked to his Dad leaving him (he adored his Dad) as it's most likely to be a hormonal / psychological problem in light of the fact Maddy continually tried to rape Baby Gingerbread for a week or two before I noticed the missing fur. He still keeps trying to rape Baby Gingerbread but it's not as often. Baby Gingerbread doesn't help matters by sitting there and letting Maddy get on with it mind you.
As for Gingerbread, well he's been a very healthy cat for the most part and I've got him pegged to live to a good old age if he can recover from his recent accident (see end of review). He once jumped from a first floor window because he was scared of the vacuum cleaner and ran off without a scratch so he's pretty resilient! We think he may have had a flip-flop (Mother used to wear them round the house) fall on his head as a kitten because he is terrified of them. Sandals are fine, slippers are fine, but if you come round mine wearing flip-flops you can expect your feet to be stalked and pounced upon. I guess I'll just have to make up a name for this condition; flipaphobia will suffice. He's had a touch of Gingivitis on a couple of occasions but a good clean up at the vets has solved this problem every time and we're only talking once every few years here. He had a mysterious accident about a year ago that involved him trailing blood from the upstairs toilet, down the stairs and through the living room but it was never worked out exactly what happened. One theory is that he got his hind leg somehow trapped in the toilet seat but the bloody trail doesn't tie in with that for me neither does the position of the cut which was on the inside underneath of his hind leg. I personally think he had an abscess that burst while he was trying to drink out of the toilet (he only stopped doing that aged 7 or 8). He did have high urea levels at one point but a special renal diet sorted that out in just a few months. The vet thought he'd probably need the special diet for the rest of his life but a few months on his levels were normal again and he's been tested twice since without any signs of problems.
~~~PRICES AND BREEDERS~~~
You can find a frequently updated list of Breeders with British Shorthair kittens for sale in your area at www.british-shorthairs.co.uk/british/british_shorthair_kittens.htm The site states that they expect kittens to have been bred within the GCCF council's recommendations but in my opinion you must check this for yourself. A British Shorthair that's been bred as a pedigree must be registered and come with a pedigree certificate. The Breeder will fill this out themselves but seem to have a few ways of getting this to you. Some will print them off and give them to you when you collect the kitten and others will send the certificates to you when the registration slip comes back to them from the GCCF and forward both at once like my breeder did. According to internet sources, some breeders will hold onto the certificate and registration slip until you've sent proof that the kitten has been neutered and whilst I've never encountered this I can believe it. If you buy a pedigree cat as a pet you will usually be asked to sign a contract agreeing to neuter them before a certain age (12m in my kittens' case) and send the breeder proof for their records.
I had initially thought that kittens were ready to be homed following their vacinations and having been wormed and checked by a vet at 12wks old but another member has pointed out that it is in fact 13wks and having checked the GCCF guidelines 13wks is correct. The CA (Cats Association) are the ones who say 12wks minimum. A lot of good breeders won't let the cats go until 14wks having ensured they haven't reacted to their final vaccination and are fully protected. I recall my breeder setting a collection date for 48hrs after their final vaccinations and whilst Maddy was 14wks, Baby Gingerbread and Quinn were only 12wks. All three came with 6wks insurance as is standard practice. A good site for choosing a pedigree cat I've just come across is www.fabcats.org/choosingapedigreekitten.html which gives you a thorough checklist of things to look out for or ask when choosing your new kitten.
You must never take a kitten at less than 10wks regardless of it's breed, even if it's a common Moggy, because they're just not ready to be separated from their Mothers. For a pedigree, 12wks is the minimum and if the breeder offers you anything less than you're best off walking away and reporting them to the GCCF. Taking an early kitten can lead to all manner of problems with bad toilet habits top of my list.
Generally speaking you're looking to pay between £200 and £500 for a British
Pictures of British Shorthair
Maddy and Baby Gingerbread
Shorthair with the price being dependant on colouring, markings and pedigree history. For my three kittens I paid: £200 for Maddy, £250 for Quinn and £300 for Baby Gingerbread. These prices seem a lot to pay but remember you're getting a good quality kitten for your money and these aren't particularly high prices for pedigree kittens (that won't be bred from). Never buy a British Shorthair without his certificate or for less than £150 if you hope to avoid nasty surprises. If someone's bred outside of the guidelines then you should report them to the GCCF or the CA really as this kind of practice leads to all kinds of genetic and health problems. I'm afraid there is no such thing as a bargain cat. If you ring up to ask a breeder about prices you'll usually get given a price range for their litter(s) and you won't normally see a price advertised. This isn't a money-making ploy; it's to ensure that the buyers are more concerned about the kitten than the price tag. Good breeders will want to know their kittens are going to appropriate homes. They should also supply you with an information sheet explaining a little about the breed and the diet they've been accustomed to.
If money is a problem then don't buy a kitten as they'll need hundreds of pounds spent on them for their vaccinations and to be spayed or castrated. Visit your local animal shelter and adopt an older cat for £40. They need homes too and they're much cheaper to care for than kittens. Plus, whilst you can't know what a moggy kitten will grow up to be (ie those kittens you see advertised for £50 in the local paper) you can see an adult cat's personality already in place. When you buy from a certified and professional breeder one of the reasons you're paying a higher price is because the kitten will have been checked over by a vet, wormed and given their first vaccinations (which you should obtain a record for). This has saved you £50 odd but breeders will usually have saved a few quid on normal prices because of the amount of business they give these vets. If you buy a £50 unvaccinated and unwormed kitten you'll still have to pay out another £50 - £100 to get them sorted out so you'll not have done yourself any financial favours.
For further information on what to look out for on buying and caring for a kitten, see www.gccfcats.org/ethics.html My advice comes from experience but looking at their site they have a lot more to offer and I'd advise anyone looking to buy a pedigree cat of any description to read this site before proceeding. Buying a new kitten can take time but it's important you get the right kitten for you and your family and lifestyle. Something I think is worth mentioning here is that I think it's a bit cruel to buy just one kitten if you're a family that's out of the house all day. It's much kinder to buy a pair of kittens - then at least you can go out and about as and when knowing all you need to do is top up the food and water bowls and they'll be fine with each other for company.
So as you have probably guessed by now, I absolutely adore British Shorthairs and think they make the perfect pets. They're about as friendly and affectionate as you can get in a cat and they've usually got a good mix of brains and personality. They come in over a hundred different colours and shades so I can't possibly name them all but my four give you an idea of the kinds you can get and an internet search can show you many more. I hope no faithful moggy owners take offence to my comparing the British Shorthair favourably to their predecessor but please appreciate that it's fact that British Shorthairs were bred to be a superior moggy rather than just my opinion. I might prefer my British Shorthairs but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate that British moggies are where they got their genes from in the first place and that there are plenty of pretty and intelligent mogs out there. ~~~GINGERBREAD'S ACCIDENT~~~ (note this is in addition to the review as it's an appropriate place to mention it)
As some of my friends on here will know, Gingerbread's face met with a speeding car a month ago. The poor, poor thing has had ten years of road awareness so I doubt the accident was his fault - especially as it was his face that got caught, suggesting he must have been unable to withdraw fast enough. The driver sped off and left him for dead. Fortunately though, a young lad scooped him up and rushed him to a local veterinary surgery. Now this is where his tough British Shorthair genes really came into play because strictly speaking no cat should have survived the injuries he has. The vet was absolutely gutted today when I said if he has to have his eye removed I think he should be put down because they've all become so fond of him and are in awe of his fighting spirit. I have to do what is right for him as a cat though; he's intelligent but he's still a cat who doesn't really understand what's going on. He feels fine now so he's getting annoyed at being forced to take things slowly - the same as a human might feel with a long recovery period I guess. But at least a human understands how to adapt their new life following an accident; a cat doesn't really. In the end I will do what I believe is right for him as a cat regardless of how miraculous his recovery has been to date.
Four weeks ago he had a shattered jaw, broken nose, no upper pallet, broken teeth, a bloody half-shut right eye and grazes down both front paws. He's had to have his jaw wired shut, was tube-fed for the first week and got a nasty infection in his eye thanks to the hole in the roof of his mouth that required antibiotics for a week. But he's put up with the wire, put up with the muzzle and cone (to stop him yanking the muzzle off!) and put up with the daily eye-drops and cotton wool baths and he's made quite an amazing recovery. Initially the vets had no idea what to do with him because they'd never seen injuries like it before but they all became so endeared with his chirpy personality and affectionate nature that they fought that little bit harder to save him. By rights he shouldn't have survived but for whatever reason, his brain being totally undamaged, he just got on with it and he even showed appreciation and affection to the staff for the care he received in those early days.
In a way I'm glad I didn't see him until five days after the accident (I note I have Breads at feeding time I don't count them unfortunately). The vet I spoke to that weekend wasn't convinced it was my cat you see as firstly I thought I'd last seen him on the Thursday whereas this cat had been bought in on the Tuesday night (like I say, problem with multiple Breads) and secondly this cat didn't look like a British Shorthair - but then apparently you couldn't see his face to really tell. So it was a Monday morning when I walked in thinking I'd probably immediately be able to see this wasn't my cat but I found myself saying out loud "Oh my god Bread-Breads - is that you?" Apparently the squeaky whisper he made was the first noise he'd made the whole time he'd been there and yet it still took me several minutes to decide this was definitely my cat. After a minute of staring at him open-mouthed I asked to hold him because all I could see was a mangled face and two Bread-like paws. The more I looked at him, the more I knew it was him but I guess I didn't want it to be subconsciously. The minute he nuzzled into my neck I said "yep, this is Gingerbread". He's only ever nuzzled me and doing that coupled with the fact he responded to his name convinced the vets this was my cat. The reason they weren't sure was because someone in the area had lost a similar on the Tuesday so all bets were on those people being the owners.
Because they'd already done so much work I felt obliged to carry it on, even though I wasn't convinced it was for the best at the time. He was a horrific mess of a cat complete with a tube up his nose to feed him with. Yet here he is just four weeks on, running around with no wires, muzzles or bandages and able (and very much willing) to munch away on soft cat food. His personality has remained completely intact despite losing sight in one eye and having undergone so much trauma. He was in his element today at finally being able to nuzzle my cheeks again and give himself a good wash! The first week he couldn't even mew but now he's meowing away at the top of his voice just like he's done for the last ten years. He's not recovered fully yet but it looks like there's not too far to go now and the vet's really impressed with how much firmer his jaw is after just four weeks. He doesn't even have to go back to the vets for another two weeks now which is a change to the original plan. It was thought he'd be wired and muzzled for six weeks originally but the wire came out after three and the muzzle came off after just four. He's so happy to be able to come back into the main flat in the evenings rather than being quarantined my bedroom all day every day and he thinks it's brilliant he can eat proper cat food again! He still can't have any dry biscuits as the vet warned me it could shatter his delicate and still healing jaw all over again but he's fine to have regular cat meat mashed with a fork and chewing soft foods will help strengthen it. The only two question marks that remain are firstly his eye, which will have to come out if it gets infected again and secondly the hole in the roof of his mouth. It should hopefully be that this begins to heel in the coming weeks but if not, he may need another operation.
Things look pretty hopeful for my baby at the moment though. Well done Gingerbread on being the World's Best Cat :o)