The history of the most popular cat breeds in the UK

Our loving furbabies have a long history, some that span back to the Roman invasion! We’re focusing on four of our most popular breeds to tell you a little bit more about how your purrfect pal came to be here.

British Shorthair

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The British Shorthair is a popular show breed and has a thick, plush coat. As a stocky, rounded cat they are a pedigreed version of the traditional British domestic cat that have been a popular breed year on year. And it’s easy to see why, the popular ‘British Blue’ colouring with copper eyes is the most familiar, and very striking, colour variant.

They were imported into Britain by the invading Romans in the first century AD, who brought Egyptian domestic cats that then interbred with the local European wildcat population. The date of origin of the British Shorthair as we know it today is 1870. Over time they have evolved into a cat with short but very thick coat, which has protected them against their new cold surroundings.

According to the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, British Shorthairs make up one quarter of all kittens registered each year, making it the most popular pedigree cat in the UK.

 

Ragdoll

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The Ragdoll is one of the largest cat breeds and at full maturity a male can weigh in at around 6kg, with females weighing between 4-6kg. They are sturdy and long in stature and have a medium length coat of silky texture which can come in three patterns- colourpoint, bi-colour, and mitted. Their main distinguishing feature however is their bright blue eyes.

The breed name ‘Ragdoll’ comes from their tendency to become relaxed and limp when picked up. Initially, this affectionate breed was developed in Riverside, California in the early 1960s and imported into the UK in the spring of 1981.

 

Persian

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The Persian breed is one glam looking cat! Their long, thick coat can come in a huge variety of colours and patterns and their large physique is well-developed and muscular with a short, sturdy body and short legs to support their mass. Facially, the version of the Persian cat we are most familiar with today is the Peke-faced Persian, which is short-muzzled and squashed-looking.

Although there is no exact recording of the ancestry of the Persian breed, the first documented history can be traced back from Khorasan, Persia, when they were imported into Italy in 1620. And into France from Angora, Turkey around the same year.

 

Bengal cat

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In contrasting physique, the Bengal breed is a distinctively patterned short haired breed, which was produced from crossing domestic cats (usually Siamese) with the Asian Leopard Cat. The initial aim of the cross breeding was to produce an affectionate and domesticated miniature leopard to reduce the number of people keeping wild cats as pets or wear their fur. Their marbled and spotted coat makes it one of the most striking breeds in the UK, and whilst brown is the most popular colouring, there are also snow, silver, and blue colour variations.

The earliest mention of the cross which produces the Bengal was documented in 1889 making them a relatively new breed, with their first import into the UK from USA in the early 1990s. Since their introduction into the UK around 25 years ago, they have become one of the most popular short haired breeds.

Did we miss your cat’s breed? Let us know!

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How to take brilliant pictures of your cat

Remember when selfies were still a novel concept? Today, many of us won’t think twice about holding our phone out for a quick snap – and then sharing the result on Facebook or Instagram.

Taking photos has become part of our daily lives and we’re constantly snapping away, whether it’s a frustrated snapshot on your miserable morning commute, a mouth-watering close-up of last night’s delicious dinner or a cute family pic.

There’s just one character who didn’t get the memo – your cat.

Our feline friends have so far resisted the photography craze, remaining coolly indifferent amid a flurry of pouts and filters. And although we love our cats for their nonchalant approach to life, their lack of interest in striking a pose can make it tricky to capture that priceless shot of your pet.

But don’t despair – it is possible to take stunning photos of a camera-shy cat (without bothering them or causing any distress). Just follow these five simple tips to get your puss posing like a natural – or at least keep still long enough for you to work your magic with the camera!

 

  1. TIME IT RIGHT

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Timing is everything, so plan your photoshoot carefully. Taking pictures straight after a fun play session is a good idea, as your cat should be feeling relaxed and safe. You might be rewarded with some adorable candid images of your little companion taking it easy in their favourite spot, or even dozing off.

 

  1. HEAD OUTSIDE

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Don’t limit your efforts to the indoors – heading out is a great way to snap pictures of your cat. Most cats love being outside, plus the natural light can work wonders. You should get some fantastic pictures of your feline enjoying the freedom of the great outdoors.

 

  1. BE PATIENT

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We know that cats aren’t the easiest subjects, so have patience. They might not give you their undivided attention, but they will give you opportunities to take wonderful photos if you’re prepared to put a bit of time and effort in. Nikon recommends enlisting the help of a friend or family member too – all the best pet portrait photographers have an assistant!

 

  1. GET ON THEIR LEVEL

Getting low to the ground can produce some striking, dramatic images of your cat. If you usually just point the camera down on them, change things up and get down on their eye-level. You’ll see the world from your pet’s perspective and have the chance to add a completely new style of photo to your collection.

 

  1. PLAY TO THEIR CURIOSITY

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This tip comes from Catster, who recommend piquing your pet’s natural curiosity with a challenge or play opportunity they won’t be able to resist. Once your cat takes the bait, the stage is set for some great action shots. If your need something new to grab their interest, a toy like the FroliCat® CHEESE™ provides an exciting game of peek-a-boo that could result in some fun snaps.

 

Try these five tips and see how your cat responds – hopefully you’ll end up with some great photos to treasure. Do you have any tricks of your own when it comes to taking brilliant cat pictures? Let us know in the comments.

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Tips for relaxing a rescue dog into their new home

Introducing a new dog into your home is a big change for both of you, whether you already have a dog or it is your first furry addition to the family. To make it as easy as possible, preparation is key, so pay attention to the following pointers and get ready to welcome a bundle of fun into your home.

Before

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Make sure you’re undertaking the essential safety preparation – dogs, especially those who are in a completely new environment, have a tendency to display destructive behaviour. Ensure valuables and breakables are kept away from where your pup is going to spend a majority of their time, and put up dog gates in the rooms they aren’t allowed in.

If you haven’t got it already, purchase the relevant equipment such as an ID tag/food bowl/bedding/crate/toys etc. and have them set out ready to introduce your pup to when you return.

To avoid stresses for both you and the dog, take the time to work out a schedule before bringing them home.  Make a plan where your new family member will be allowed and who will be responsible for walks and feeding at points in the day. Your pup will get used to seeing the same faces at the same times and understand what is expected of them.

Discuss with neighbours or other dog owners which vet to take your new rescue dog to, and make sure all vaccinations and medical history is up to date before joining any obedience classes.

Once you’re home

Begin to bond with your new dog through grooming, the physical contact will create a trust and understanding between you that you can build upon.

It might be really exciting to get everyone to meet your new dog, but don’t overwhelm your pup with a new home and lots of new people too – limit your visitors until your dog is more settled.

Your dog will take a bit of time to adjust to you and your home, give it around a week or so before starting training. Even a few year-old pups can revert to puppy behaviour when moved to their new home.

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It can take a rescue dog several weeks to fully adjust to their new home, so be patient with behavioural slip-ups or toilet training relapses.

Remain a constant and steady presence and continue a routine which will allow you to build a long-lasting and loving bond with your dog.

Do you have any tips from welcoming a rescue into your home? We’d pawsitively love to hear your story!

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