One of the attractions of the British Shorthair group is the wide range of colours available. The Red Spotted is one of the less common tabby variants, with discrete spots clearly visible on its coat. These cats are typical British Shorthairs, with rounded faces and expressive eyes. They are friendly, hardy cats and make excellent companions, thriving in a typical family environment and even adapting well to the presence of a dog in the household.
- BREED DEVELOPED: 1880s
- COUNTRY: United Kingdom TYPE: Shorthair
- BODY SHAPE: Cobby and powerful
- WEIGHS UP TO: 8kg/18lb
- PLUS POINTS: Attractive patterning and good temperament
- WATCH POINTS: Males likely to wander and fight if not neutered
Spotted examples of the forerunners of today’s British Shorthairs could be seen at the early cat shows of the 1880s, and appear to have been reasonably common. They declined during the early 1900s, and it was not until the mid-1960s that Spotted British Shorthairs started to reappear at shows.
Although such cats inevitably show some barring on their coats, the spotting should be prominent. This does not necessarily mean perfect round spots in each case however, as these markings can be more variable, often taking the form of rosettes and even sometimes resembling triangles in shape. The overall aim is to ensure that traces of barring are removed from the coat, being broken into smaller areas of dark fur, except for the legs and tail. There are alternate bands of dark and light red hair extending along the length of the tail, which ends in a dark tip. The typical tabby M-shaped markings on the head should be highlighted, along with those around the eyes, and there must be no traces of white fur here. The eyes themselves are a rich orange, complementing the colour of the coat itself. The fur is dense and crisp, standing up from the body rather than lying sleek.
- Domesticated cats with spotted coats have been in existence for a long time. An ancient mosaic unearthed at Pompeii shows a cat of this type carrying a bird in its mouth.
- Spotted cats feature in Egyptian mythology, with the God Ra taking the form of a spotted cat, killing the serpent of darkness called Apep.
- The silvery undercoat of this breed helps to provide greater contrast with the spotting.