The Silver Shaded British Shorthair

Bright blue eyes and a snow white coat? You're thinking of a silver shaded colourpoint British Shorthair...


Silver shaded British Shorthair kittens, also known as Chinchillas are striking. Healthy examples of this breed are very hard to find. 

The silver shaded British Shorthair is a very unique cat. They have a bright white coat, with just the absolute tips of each fur being coloured. This creates a shimmering, glittering effect as they walk. And then there are the eyes: vivid green, lined in black eyeliner and framed by a beautiful white face with nothing but the faintest of tabby markings ghosting through. A very good friend of mine described looking at our silver shaded cat as being ‘like looking at a diamond’. We agree!

It is thought that the silver shaded and Chinchilla genes came originally from Persian cats, which is where the term Chinchilla comes from.

Bombadillo silver shaded kittens

Please check our kitten page to see if we have any silver shaded kittens available. If you love these magestic cats as much as we do, watch this space: we are expecting some silver shaded and golden shaded kittens soon! You are welcome to express your interest or make a reservation by contacting us.

The genetics of the silver shaded British Shorthair

The genetics of the silver shaded cat are far from understood, and we are currently working with researchers in the US to try and assist in developing the existing knowledge of their genetics.

Basically, silver shaded or chinchilla British Shorthairs are usually:

  • ticked tabby cats

  • with something called the Wide Band gene

The ticked tabby pattern is a tabby cat where, instead of the darker colour being banded in stripes all the way from the base of the hair to the tip of the hair, there is an ombre effect from base to tip.

The Wide Band gene, or set of genes, restricts the tabby pattern even further, confining it to the very tips of the fur.

Silver shaded colourpoint British Shorthair blue eyes

So you can see that both of these genes have a very similar effect: restricting the darker colour to the tip of the fur. By combining both of them, we get a true Chinchilla silver shaded cat. In non-Chinchilla silver shaded British Shorthairs, the shading covers around half of each hair, or more. In a Chinchilla silver shaded British Shorthair, the shading is restricted to the top eighth of the hair, or even less.

Chinchilla silver shaded British Shorthairs are therefore what is often called ‘Ultra Wide Band’, or Wide Band +++. The more restricted tipping creates a much lighter, whiter appearance in the coat. They are the supermodels of the cat world!

It is not yet known whether the Wide Band is caused by a single gene, or by a set of polygenes. It is also now yet known whether the gene, or genes, are recessive or dominant.  Wide Band is often expressed as: 

- Wide Band for darkly shaded cats 

- Wide Band + for less darkly shaded cats

- Wide Band ++ for lightly shaded cats

- Wide Band +++ for cats who have almost no shading at all

For each category the shaded portion of the hair is reduced so that for Wide band +++ cats there is almost no shading at all. It is reported that breeding two very lightly shaded cats creates kittens who have almost no shading at all, so it does seem that there are genetics at play here, we just don't know exactly how those genetics work at the moment.

The Golden Shaded British Shorthair 

An additional development is the arrival of the Golden British Shorthair and, even more recently, the Copper British Shorthair cat. These are dealt with in a separate article, but their colours also rely on the Wide Band and Ultra Wide Band genes.

Silver shaded British Shorthair kittens available

We do get silver shaded kittens and golden shaded kittens from time to time. If you are a fan of these enigmatic cats, please visit our kitten page, or contact us for updates:

- find out if we have any silver shaded British Shorthair kittens available

Read more British Shorthair articles...

- The Golden British Shorthair 

- The British Blue 

- The Silver Tabby British Shorthair 

- Extremely flat faced cats and their health problems 

- British Shorthair eye colour