European Shorthair

Hard to believe but true: the European Shorthair is also a breed of cat. Not every farm cat of unknown origin is a European Shorthair. Because this breed also has special breed standards that the breeding animals must meet.

European Shorthair History

The European Shorthair is also known as the European, Celtic Shorthair or EKH for short. It is believed to have descended from the black cat, a subspecies of the wild cat from North Africa. This is justified by the anatomical similarities that both cats have.

The fur noses came to Europe via ships, where they could soon be found everywhere. The cats were used as reliable mouse and rat catchers on farms. The European Shorthair was particularly popular in Scandinavia, where most of the breeders are located today.

The cat breed was mentioned in Finland as early as 1926, and for the first time in Sweden in 1947. The first registered European female was called “Ujan” and was registered with the Swedish breeding association “SVERAK”.

Until the introduction of the breed standard in 1981, the EKH cat was still counted as a British Shorthair cat. In 1981 the European Shorthair was finally recognized as an independent breed by the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe). The EKH is also registered with the World Cat Federation (WCF) under the name “Keltisch Kurzhaar”.

Even today, the European Shorthair is equated with the common house cat. However, this is wrong. The EKH cat is an independent cat breed. She has her own breed standard and pedigree. The domestic cat, on the other hand, is a systematic classification. Numerous cat breeds are summarized under this term.


The body of the European Shorthair is muscular. It has a broad chest and strong, medium-length legs with round paws. From an anatomical standpoint, the physique is indistinguishable from that of a European domestic cat.

The European Shorthair is usually medium to large in size. The head is quite large compared to the body, with the face giving a round impression. The forehead and skull are slightly rounded, the cheeks are well developed. One of the few differences between a house cat and a European Shorthair cat is in their pedigrees.

Cat Weight

The normal weight of the European Shorthair is four to six kilograms in cats. For hangovers, a weight of five to seven kilograms is ideal.

Cat Colors

In principle, no colors are allowed that have arisen from cross-breeding (e.g. colourpoint or chocolate). All naturally occurring colors are allowed. Single-colored European Shorthairs have the colors black, white, red, and cream.

The eyes of a white European Shorthair are blue, amber, or green. The pads of the paws and the mirror of the nose are pink. In European Shorthair cats in other colors, the nose mirror, paw pads, and eyes are usually adapted to the color of the coat.

In two-tone cats, the colors are clearly separated from each other by spots. At most half of the fur may be white. Tortoiseshell cats have a mix of black and various shades of red in their fur. The European Shorthair can be found in the fur drawings Tabby or Smoke.

European Shorthair Temperament

The character of the European house cat is considered to be extremely lovable. European Shorthairs are intelligent, playful, and gentle. Usually, she is very philanthropic and patient with children.

However, the cat is anything but sedate. Thanks to its past, the European Shorthair has a strong hunting instinct and is always on the lookout for adventure. Nevertheless, it shows itself to be extremely people-related. On the one hand, the European Shorthaired really appreciates the hours of cuddling with its owner, on the other hand, it is always available for extensive play and romp.

As an indoor cat, the European Shorthair cat needs a high degree of activity and variety, which is due to its strong urge to move. She feels most comfortable being outdoors. Her balanced, independent but lovable nature makes her a perfect family cat.

European Shorthair Diet

European Shorthair cats do not have any special demands on their diet. However, a number of factors can affect a cat’s diet. These include health, age, activity level, and living conditions. For example, when keeping it in the apartment, you should make sure that the cat does not get too fat. Cat snacks are allowed but in moderation. Accordingly, the diet should be tailored to the needs of your cat.

Cats are basically carnivores, who naturally feed on mice, small rodents, and birds. You need a meat-rich diet that is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and medium fat. When feeding with dry or wet food, you should always pay attention to high quality.

A look at the feed label can provide information about this. It contains most of the ingredients listed at the top of the label. Therefore, meat should definitely come first. The term “animal by-products” can often be found on the feed label. This can include organs that are difficult for cats to digest.

An open declaration from the manufacturer is best. This explains exactly which components are hidden behind the term and how large the percentage of the total feed is. Grains should only be contained in small quantities and should therefore be listed relatively far below.

Another feeding method is biologically appropriate raw feeding (BARF). Here the cats are fed mainly raw meat. For a species-appropriate diet, the fur noses need not only pure muscle meat but also offal and various additives. These must be precisely tailored to the needs of the cat, otherwise dangerous deficits can occur. If you have any questions, your trusted veterinarian will be happy to advise you.

European Shorthair Cat Husbandry and Care

The European Shorthair is a robust animal that is not very susceptible to disease. Typical racial diseases are sometimes not known. Regular visits to the vet are important, who will carry out the necessary examinations and advise you about vaccination protection. You should also always check for parasites, especially outdoor cats.

The European Shorthair cat is not very demanding when it comes to grooming. You should work the fur with a brush or comb from time to time to remove the hair that has fallen out. You should brush the coat more often, especially during the period when the coat is changing.

With a healthy diet and animal welfare, the European Shorthair can live to be 15 to 20 years old.

Although it is possible to keep the active European Shorthair cat as a pure indoor cat, it generally feels more comfortable as an outdoor cat. This allows the adventurous cat to live out its hunting instinct and often brings home one or two gifts in the form of a mouse. A compromise would be to set up a cat-safe garden or balcony. So your fur nose can still enjoy a bit of freedom.

In any case, the European Shorthair needs sufficient employment. In addition to ordinary toys, intelligence toys are also suitable for this. In addition, the cat should be offered climbing opportunities such as scratching posts.

A European Shorthair also needs enough retreats. You can offer these in the form of playhouses or tunnels. European Shorthairs usually get along well with other pets. Working people, in particular, should consider getting a second cat to prevent boredom.

We wish you a great time with your European Shorthair!

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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