Domestic Shorthair Cat Profile

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  • At a glance

    • Origins: Mixed
    • Lifespan: 10-15 years
    • Eyes: Hazel, green, yellow, blue or odd
    • Energy: Varies
    • Temperament: Varies
    • Weight: Males 4-6 kg (8.8 – 13.2 lbs), females 3.5-5 kg (7.8 – 11 lbs)
    • Colours: All colours and patterns
    • Grooming: Weekly


    Also known as a moggy or DSH, the domestic shorthair is the most common type of house cat. Domestic shorthairs are of unknown/mixed origin, as a result, they occur in all manner of shapes and sizes depending on their background.

    Some domestic shorthairs may have purebred genes in their ancestry, which may or may not be evident. However, it is less common than in dogs, especially now when breeders are very strict about desexing non-breeding cats before they go to their new home.

    All cats (purebred or not) evolved from one common ancestor and from there, they evolved into separate breeds via a series of genetic mutations or selective breeding.


    Black smoke domestic shorthair

    There is no one type with the domestic; they come in all sizes and shapes. Mostly they are average-sized and weigh between 4 – 6 kg. Males are usually larger than females.

    There is nothing extreme about these cats; domestic shorthairs are well proportioned. Eye colour can range from gold through to green and blue. Some domestics even have odd eyes. One green, one blue. All coat colours and patterns can be found in the domestic, including solids, tabby, bi-colour and pointed cats.


    Domestic shorthair cat colours

    Every imaginable coat colour can be found in domestic shorthairs. Common colours and patterns found in domestics include black, pointed, tuxedo, silver tabby, ginger, ginger and white, calico, tortie, blue, blue and white and white.

    Domestic cats can also have any eye colour including blue, copper, green, yellow and even odd eyes such as one blue, one green.


    Just like the appearance and colour of the domestic, their temperament varies enormously. Personality depends on the background the cat has come from, the parents, and just how that cat is.

    Being taken away from their mother too early can have an impact on the temperament of the cat as well as early experience with humans. Kittens should stay with their mother and siblings for 10-12 weeks but have plenty of positive interaction with people, both of which help the kitten to develop social skills and confidence.

    Where to find a domestic cat?

    Domestics make wonderful pets and sadly there are always more cats needing homes than there are homes for them. If you are looking to bring a domestic (or two) into your home, your local shelter is the best place. They will be able to show you around and match the perfect cat for you.

    It’s always important to consider your home situation when choosing a cat.

    • Are you out of the house for long periods? If so, an older and independent cat is better suited, or better still two cats to keep each other company.
    • Do you have young children? A laid back cat is best for families with kids.
    • Are you looking for a cat who likes to talk? Some people love a talkative cat; others prefer the silent type.

    Wherever you obtain your domestic, he should have had at least two vaccinations, have regularly been treated for fleas and worms and in Australia, the cat must be microchipped (we recommend microchipping regardless of where you live).

    Where possible, adopt a domestic who has stayed with his mother for a minimum of ten weeks. I know tiny kittens are adorable, but those extra few weeks with their mum and siblings are so important in regards to learning social skills. Another option to consider is an older cat. These cats are often overlooked and have so much to offer. What you see is what you get, you know how large he is, you know his temperament, and they have outgrown the crazy kitten period.


    Domestic shorthairs have minimal needs apart from love, shelter, food and water, medical care and regular treatment for parasites.

    Groom once a week to help get rid of loose hairs and trim the claws if necessary.

    Dental care is important for all cats; a cat toothbrush and toothpaste can be used, or you can feed raw chicken wings or human-grade chunks of steak two to three times a week.

    As with all cats, domestics should see a veterinarian once a year for a health check and vaccinations when they are due. The number and frequency of vaccinations will vary depending on your cat’s circumstances as well as local laws.


    The lifespan of a domestic shorthair ranges from 10 – 15 plus years.

    Did you know?

    You can show domestic cats! Most cat councils have a category for household pets. So if you think your cat has the looks and the personality, and you would like to meet other cat lovers, why not give it a try?

    Domestic Shorthair Cat FAQ

    Are domestic shorthair cats affectionate?

    Domestic shorthairs have many different personalities, many are affectionate, but some are independent or shy. When looking to adopt a domestic shorthair, tell shelter staff what you are looking for (affectionate, quiet, talkative, independent), and they will be able to match you to the most suitable cat(s).

    Do domestic shorthairs shed a lot?

    All cats shed, including domestic shorthairs; however, a weekly brush can help to reduce the amount of shed hair in the home.

    How big do domestic shorthair cats get?

    Domestics typically weigh between 4-6 kg.

    What is the difference between a domestic shorthair and an American or British shorthair?

    Difference between a domestic shorthair and a British shorthair

    A domestic shorthair is a mixed-breed cat, the American and British Shorthairs are purebred cats (from mixed-breed origins) who conform to a breed standard and as such all cats within the breed have a similar body type.

    Are domestic shorthairs hypoallergenic?

    There is no evidence that domestic shorthairs are hypoallergenic.

    Do domestic shorthairs shed a lot?

    Each cat is unique, some domestic shorthairs shed more than others. Regular grooming can help by removing loose hairs.

    Can domestic shorthairs be left alone? 

    Yes, but the amount of time can vary from cat to cat. Some cats thrive on company, while others are quite happy to sleep through the day. A second cat can help to combat loneliness for busy households who are out of the home for extended periods.

    No cat should be left alone for longer than 8-12 hours, in case there is a medical emergency.


    • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

      Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio