British Shorthair Chinchilla Cats: Everything You Need to Know

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Have you ever thought about owning a British Shorthair Chinchilla cat? These lovable cats always catch attention. 

Key Takeaways

  • The British Shorthair Chinchilla has a rich history dating back to Roman times and is particularly popular in the UK. It’s a versatile breed with various coat colors, and it has inspired famous fictional cats like Puss in Boots and the Cheshire Cat.
  • These cats are calm, loyal, and make excellent companions. They are good with kids and other pets, although they do appreciate their personal space. As they age, they become more attached to one person in the household.
  • British Shorthair Chinchillas are relatively easy to care for, requiring minimal grooming. They are generally healthy but may be prone to certain genetic conditions, so choosing a reputable breeder is advised.
  • Although they are usually healthy, British Shorthair Chinchillas can be prone to specific genetic diseases like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and obesity. Regular vet check-ups and a balanced diet are recommended for a long, healthy life.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about this cat breed, where it originally comes from, its most important traits, and the pros and cons of owning one. 

Table of Contents

British Shorthair Chinchilla Overview

The British Shorthair Chinchilla has an exciting name derived from a South American rodent and is one of the most popular domesticated cats in the world. It’s a type of Persian cat but has a distinctive appearance. Over the years, this cat has developed into various colours. 

These cats represent the elite of feline nobility with their majestic appearance and attitude. Yet, it’s more prevalent in Britain than in the US. 

History of the Breed

The history of the British Shorthair Chinchilla goes back to the first century AD when the Romans domesticated them to keep their British camps free of snakes and rodents. These cats bred with the European wildcat, and their descendants were big calm cats that look very much like the modern British shorthair chinchillas we see today. 

UK breeders started breeding these cats exclusively to emphasise the British blue colour. Norman Winder successfully bred the British Shorthair Chinchilla with Persian cats. After that, breeders added the rare French Chartreux cats to the mix. During this period, the British Shorthair Chinchilla became the most popular breed in the British Isles. 

Fun Fact: Puss in Boots and Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland) are inspired by British Shorthairs. 

cheshire cat sculpture


The chinchilla in the cat’s name refers to a distinctive colour, British Blue, which is this breed’s most common colour variant. These cats are large, with a silver blue soft coat, widely set ears, and piercing kohl-rimmed copper-orange eyes. 

The British Shorthair Chinchilla cats are typically smaller than other colour variants. The cat’s face is relatively round, and the broad cheeks are more prominent in males who develop jowls as they age. They don’t have an undercoat, but the coat is very dense and has a plushy texture, giving them a teddy bear look. 

The coat can be blue, black, silver, golden, fawn, or cream. The coat can be a solid colour, bi-coloured, tabby, colour point, or come in a tortoiseshell pattern. The eyes’ colour differs in other colour variants, but the most common ones are green and blue. The colour of the nose also depends on the coat’s colour, but black is the most common one. 

golden british shorthair chinchilla

All BSC cats will have an “M” shaped marking on their head. Whilst this may be difficult to see on cats with grey/blue fur, it will be very distinctive on silver or golden cats. These markings are associated with all “tabby” cats. Read more about tabby cats here.


British Shorthair Chinchilla cats are calm, loyal, and loving cats that can be a great addition to any household. Kittens are playful and energetic, and they enjoy playing with kids. As they grow older, they develop to become one-person cats, so they’re excellent companions. 

The cats like roaming the house, so you’ll see them moving around from one room to another, meowing to express their opinions, exploring, and marking their territory. Nevertheless, they appreciate their personal space. However, they can get along with other pets and work for you if you have cats and cat-friendly dogs. 

As the kittens mature, they become calmer and spend more time lying and observing the household members. So, if you’re looking for an acrobatic hyperactive cat, this breed isn’t for you. 

Grooming Requirements

If you need an easy-to-care-for cat, you can’t go wrong with the British Shorthair Chinchilla cat. These cats only experience seasonal shedding several times a year, but other than that, they don’t shed much. Brushing the cat’s coat weekly using a cat’s brush will keep the coat in top condition. 

Attention to the ears, teeth, and gum is essential, especially if you have a kitten. But in general, these cats are clean and healthy. 


High-quality protein-rich food is essential to keep these cats healthy. Yet, it’s crucial to get a kitten from a reputable breeder to avoid health issues. 

British Shorthair Chinchillas are considered to be a low-activity breed of cat. Once they grow out of their active kitten period, they tend to favour time spent relaxing and surveying their home. 

Because they’re relatively intelligent, these cats are easy to train. They enjoy playing with toys and puzzles, so they’ll keep themselves occupied when you’re busy, and they’re not that stubborn compared to other breeds.

On average, you can expect your BSC cat to live around 12 years, although many cats can live up to 20!

Health Issues

Although these cats are generally healthy, they’re prone to several genetically inherited diseases like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart muscle’s thickening as the cat ages. Some cats also inherit haemophilia B, a bleeding disorder, from their parents. 

There’s no way to predict that a cat won’t develop either disease later in life, but genetic testing can help remove infected cats from a breeding program. When finding a kitten, look for one whose parents have had genetic testing to ensure they are free from genetic diseases.  

silver british shorthair chinchilla kittens

Obesity is another problem that can be prevalent in these cats. Since they’re not that active, following a healthy diet and giving the cat enough exercise will keep its weight in check. 

They can also develop other problems like arthritis and feline lower urinary tract disease. Gum disease is another health problem because these cats prefer wet food, which leads to the accumulation of plaque. 

British Shorthair Chinchilla Pros and Cons

If you’re looking forward to adding this lovable breed to your household, you need to understand its pros and cons, as this will enable you to understand the cat better. 


  • They are affectionate and care about their humans
  • They’re low-maintenance and don’t require much grooming
  • They’re generally healthy 
  • They make amazing indoor cats because they naturally have short bursts of energy followed by long periods of relaxing 
  • They get along well with kids and pets 


  • Seasonal shedding can be a bit problematic
  • They’re not hypoallergenic
  • They can quickly become obese
  • They meow a lot
  • They need to go to the vet regularly to get checked

Final Thoughts

The British Shorthair Chinchilla is a fantastic cat with an exciting history. It’s a great indoor cat if you have kids and pets in the house, and it will shower you with affection and meows whenever you’re around. 

The chinchilla colour variant is the most common, but other colours and patterns are also available.

We recommend genetic testing before getting a kitten to ensure it’s genetic disease-free. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Chinchilla British Shorthair?

A Chinchilla British Shorthair is a cat breed characterized by its dense coat of silver-tipped fur, giving it a chinchilla-like appearance. They are a variety of British Shorthair breeds.

What is a Chinchilla cat?

A Chinchilla cat is known for its distinctive silver-tipped fur, which gives it a sparkling, shimmering appearance. They are typically gentle and affectionate cats that make great companions.

Are Chinchilla cats good pets?

Yes, Chinchilla cats are generally good pets. They are known for being gentle, affectionate, and easygoing, making them great companions for families or individuals.

Are Chinchilla cats cuddly?

Yes, Chinchilla cats can be very cuddly and affectionate. They are known for their gentle and friendly nature, and many enjoy being close to their owners and snuggling up for pets and affection.

Are Chinchilla cats healthy?

Overall, Chinchilla cats are considered to be a healthy breed. Like all cats, they may be prone to specific health issues such as dental, respiratory, or obesity, but with proper care and regular check-ups, they can live long, healthy lives.

What does a Chinchilla cat look like?

Chinchilla cats are characterized by their dense, plush coat of silver-tipped fur, giving them a shimmering appearance. They typically have round faces, big, bright eyes, and gentle, friendly expressions.

How do I know if my cat is a Chinchilla?

To determine if your cat is a Chinchilla, look for the characteristic silver-tipped fur that gives its shimmering appearance. They may also have a gentle, friendly personality and a round, plush appearance.

How much is a Chinchilla cat worth?

The price of a Chinchilla cat can vary depending on several factors, such as age, breed, pedigree, and location. They can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Do Chinchilla cats like to be held?

Yes, many Chinchilla cats enjoy being held and cuddled. They are known for their gentle and affectionate nature and often seek out close contact with their owners. However, like all cats, each may have individual preferences and personalities.

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