We have much more to thank the Romans for than straight roads and good bathing habits. They brought with them the descendents of the breed of cats today known as the British Shorthair. These Roman cats interbred with British native felines, and were later crossbred with Persian cats, which made their coats lush and thick (a classic characteristic of the British Shorthair).
Whilst this breed was only introduced to areas like Australia during the 1960’s, in the UK during the 1800’s the breed was formally acknowledged. British Shorthairs were shown at the highly prestigious Crystal Palace cat show in London, England in 1871. This breed is also mentioned in one of the very first books ever published about cat breeds in Britain in 1889.
The Second World War had the effect of drastically reducing numbers of British Shorthairs, and breeders made great strides in repairing the damage caused by the war during the 1950’s. It was at this point when the breed was outcrossed with Persians, thus creating a longer and softer plush coat.
After the intense efforts breeders put into repairing the ravages of the world war on this breed, the British Shorthair saw another huge surge in its popularity. And if you have ever known one, you will not be surprised.