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9 Proper Facts About British Shorthairs

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As its name suggests, the British Shorthair cat is as traditionally English as tea and scones. Here are nine facts about the stocky feline, whose chubby face, easy-going demeanor, and short, plush fur made it America's fifth most popular pedigreed cat in 2014.

1. THEY'RE DESCENDED FROM THE CATS OF ANCIENT ROME.

The British Shorthair bears the proud distinction of being one of the world’s oldest cat breeds. Experts think that the feline is descended from cats imported to Rome from ancient Egypt. When the Romans invaded Great Britain in 43 CE, they took the cats with them.

2. "THE FATHER OF CAT FANCY" LOVED BRITISH SHORTHAIRS.

British Shorthairs existed as street cats and barn mousers until Harrison Weir—a 19th-century animal lover known as “the father of cat fancy”—began breeding exemplary examples of the country’s native cats. He showcased the breed at London's Crystal Palace in 1871, in an event that’s considered by many to be the world’s first cat show. The show was filled with exotic imported cats, including Persians and Siamese-like cats. However, Weir preferred his country's native breed. "My first love will always be for the shorthaired domestic cat," Weir wrote in his book about various cat breeds, Our Cats and All About Them (1889).

3. THE BRITISH SHORTHAIR NEARLY WENT EXTINCT.

By the early 20th century, longhaired breeds had eclipsed the British Shorthair in popularity. Adding injury to insult, cat fanciers stopped breeding the British Shorthair during World Wars I and II, and it nearly went extinct. To ensure the breed’s survival, British Shorthair aficionados crossbred their cats with Persians and other felines. The British Shorthair stuck around, and in 1980, the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) recognized the feline as an official breed in America.

4. THE BRITISH SHORTHAIR MAY HAVE INSPIRED LEWIS CARROLL'S CHESHIRE CAT.

Historians think that Lewis Carroll may have based his Cheshire Cat illustrations in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland off a tabby British Shorthair.

5. A BRITISH SHORTHAIR HELPED SPAWN THE "I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?" EMPIRE.

A British Shorthair was featured in the original “I Can Has Cheezburger?” meme. The viral internet phenomenon can be traced back to 2007, when a Hawaiian blogger named Eric Nakagawa saw a picture of a happy-looking British Shorthair on an online message board. It was captioned with the now-famous “I Can Has Cheezburger?” line, inspiring Nakagawa to register a website with the same name and share the image. Nakagawa began posting more cat pictures, and he eventually turned his blog into a monetized website. It was acquired for $2 million in 2007, and became the basis for the Cheezburger Network, a network of social humor websites.

6. NOT ALL BRITISH SHORTHAIRS ARE GREY.

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Speaking of "I Can Has Cheezburger?”, some people think that all British Shorthairs are silvery grey with copper eyes, like the cat in the meme. That particular type of cat is called the British Blue. While the British Blue is a popular variation of the breed, it's not the only one. British Shorthair cats come in white, black, red, gold, and silver, among other fur colors. You’ll also spot British Shorthairs with color-point, tortoiseshell, bicolor, and tabby patterns. As for their eye colors, they range from gold to copper to blue-green. 

7. THEY CAN GET CHUNKY.

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Mature British Shorthairs tend to weigh 9 to 17 pounds, and mature females average 7 to 12 pounds. However, the solid-framed breed has a tendency toward obesity, and can easily tip the scales at a higher weight: PetMD recently listed the British Shorthair as one of its “top 10 fat cats.” British Shorthair owners are advised to provide their kitties with healthy food and plenty of exercise, since overweight kitties face an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and other conditions.

8. BRITISH SHORTHAIRS ARE MAGNETS FOR WEIRD NEWS.

British Shorthair cats have appeared in several bizarre international news stories. In late 2014, state debt collectors in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, Russia, tried to force a man to pay 12,000 rubles in unpaid taxes. Since the debtor didn’t own any valuable material possessions, the collectors threatened to confiscate his British Shorthair cat and its three kittens. "Because the animals are pedigree and expensive, the representative of the law decided to place the cat brood under arrest," the region's court marshal's service said in a statement. Needless to say, the man ended up paying his taxes, and he got to keep his cats.

Also in Russia, an easily trained British Shorthair cat named Dusya skyrocketed to fame—and fortune—by starring in photo shoots, TV productions, and a commercial for a Russian telephone operator. As of March 2015, Dusya had earned around £2,000—more than what most Russians make in a year, according to AOL Money.

In 2015, an Eastern European gang catnapped Maggie, a 1-year-old British Shorthair that lived with her wealthy owners in a London mansion. The thieves demanded a ransom of £5000. Maggie’s owners agreed to shell out the cash, and they participated in an exchange in a public park to get their beloved cat back.

9. A BRITISH SHORTHAIR ONCE HAD THE WORLD'S LOUDEST PURR.

In 2011, a 12-year-old British Shorthair cat named Smokey was declared to have the world’s loudest purr. His vocal rumblings measured 67.7 decibels, and were reportedly as noisy as a lawn mower. Sadly, Smokey died from kidney failure in 2014. He was immortalized in the Guinness World Records until another cat, Merlin, broke his ear-splitting record in 2015 with a 67.8 decibel purr.

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Yes, You Can Put Your Christmas Decorations Up Now—and Should, According to Psychologists
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We all know at least one of those people who's already placing an angel on top of his or her Christmas tree while everyone else on the block still has paper ghosts stuck to their windows and a rotting pumpkin on the stoop. Maybe it’s your neighbor; maybe it’s you. Jolliness aside, these early decorators tend to get a bad rap. For some people, the holidays provide more stress than splendor, so the sight of that first plastic reindeer on a neighbor's roof isn't exactly a welcome one.

But according to two psychoanalysts, these eager decorators aren’t eccentric—they’re simply happier. Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told UNILAD:

“Although there could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, most commonly for nostalgic reasons either to relive the magic or to compensate for past neglect.

In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of the childhood.

Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early extend the excitement!”

Amy Morin, another psychoanalyst, linked Christmas decorations with the pleasures of childhood, telling the site: “The holiday season stirs up a sense of nostalgia. Nostalgia helps link people to their personal past and it helps people understand their identity. For many, putting up Christmas decorations early is a way for them to reconnect with their childhoods.”

She also explained that these nostalgic memories can help remind people of spending the holidays with loved ones who have since passed away. As Morin remarked, “Decorating early may help them feel more connected with that individual.”

And that neighbor of yours who has already been decorated since Halloween? Well, according to a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, homes that have been warmly decorated for the holidays make the residents appear more “friendly and cohesive” compared to non-decorated homes when observed by strangers. Basically, a little wreath can go a long way.

So if you want to hang those stockings before you’ve digested your Thanksgiving dinner, go ahead. You might just find yourself happier for it.

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11 Black Friday Purchases That Aren't Always The Best Deal
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Black Friday can bring out some of the best deals of the year (along with the worst in-store behavior), but that doesn't mean every advertised price is worth splurging on. While many shoppers are eager to save a few dollars and kickstart the holiday shopping season, some purchases are better left waiting for at least a few weeks (or longer).

1. FURNITURE

Display of outdoor furniture.
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Black Friday is often the best time to scope out deals on large purchases—except for furniture. That's because newer furniture models and styles often appear in showrooms in February. According to Kurt Knutsson, a consumer technology expert, the best furniture deals can be found in January, and later on in July and August. If you're aiming for outdoor patio sets, expect to find knockout prices when outdoor furniture is discounted and put on clearance closer to Labor Day.

2. TOOLS

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Unless you're shopping for a specific tool as a Christmas gift, it's often better to wait until warmer weather rolls around to catch great deals. While some big-name brands offer Black Friday discounts, the best tool deals roll around in late spring and early summer, just in time for Memorial Day and Father's Day.

3. BEDDING AND LINENS

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Sheet and bedding sets are often used as doorbuster items for Black Friday sales, but that doesn't mean you should splurge now. Instead, wait for annual linen sales—called white sales—to pop up after New Year's. Back in January of 1878, department store operator John Wanamaker held the first white sale as a way to push bedding inventory out of his stores. Since then, retailers have offered these top-of-the-year sales and January remains the best time to buy sheets, comforters, and other cozy bed linens.

4. HOLIDAY DÉCOR

Rows of holiday gnomes.
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If you are planning to snag a new Christmas tree, lights, or other festive décor, it's likely worth making due with what you have and snapping up new items after December 25. After the holidays, retailers are looking to quickly move out holiday items to make way for spring inventory, so ornaments, trees, yard inflatables, and other items often drastically drop in price, offering better deals than before the holidays. If you truly can't wait, the better option is shopping as close to Christmas as possible, when stores try to reduce their Christmas stock before resorting to clearance prices.

5. TOYS

Child choosing a toy car.
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Unless you're shopping for a very specific gift that's likely to sell out before the holidays, Black Friday toy deals often aren't the best time to fill your cart at toy stores. Stores often begin dropping toy prices two weeks before Christmas, meaning there's nothing wrong with saving all your shopping (and gift wrapping) until the last minute.

6. ENGAGEMENT RINGS AND JEWELRY

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Holiday jewelry commercials can be pretty persuasive when it comes to giving diamonds and gold as gifts. But, savvy shoppers can often get the best deals on baubles come spring and summer—prices tend to be at their highest between Christmas and Valentine's Day thanks to engagements and holiday gift-giving. But come March, prices begin to drop through the end of summer as jewelers see fewer purchases, making it worth passing up Black Friday deals.

7. PLANE TICKETS AND TRAVEL PACKAGES

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While it's worth looking at plane ticket deals on Black Friday, it's not always the best idea to whip out your credit card. Despite some sales, the best time to purchase a flight is still between three weeks and three and a half months out. Some hotel sites will offer big deals after Thanksgiving and on Cyber Monday, but it doesn't mean you should spring for next year's vacation just yet. The best travel and accommodation deals often pop up in January and February when travel numbers are down.

8. FOOD AND SNACK BASKETS

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Fancy fruit, meat and cheese, and snack baskets are easy gifts for friends and family (or yourself, let's be honest), but they shouldn't be snagged on Black Friday. And because baskets are jam-packed full of perishables, you likely won't want to buy them a month away from the big day anyway. But traditionally, you'll spend less cheddar if you wait to make those purchases in December.

9. WINTER CLOTHING

Rack of women's winter clothing.
Photo by Hannah Morgan on Unsplash.

Buying clothing out of season is usually a big money saver, and winter clothes are no exception. Although some brands push big discounts online and in-store, the best savings on coats, gloves, and other winter accessories can still be found right before Black Friday—pre-Thanksgiving apparel markdowns can hit nearly 30 percent off—and after the holidays.

10. SMARTPHONES

Group of hands holding smartphones.
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While blowout tech sales are often reserved for Cyber Monday, retailers will try to pull you in-store with big electronics discounts on Black Friday. But, not all of them are really the best deals. The price for new iPhones, for example, may not budge much (if at all) the day after Thanksgiving. If you're in the market for a new phone, the best option might be waiting at least a few more weeks as prices on older models drop. Or, you can wait for bundle deals that crop up during December, where you pay standard retail price but receive free accessories or gift cards along with your new phone.

11. KITCHEN GADGETS

Row of hanging kitchen knives and utensils.
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Black Friday is a great shopping day for cooking enthusiasts—at least for those who are picky about their kitchen appliances. Name-brand tools and appliances often see good sales, since stores drop prices upwards of 40 to 50 percent to move through more inventory. But that doesn't mean all slow cookers, coffee makers, and utensil prices are the best deals. Many stores advertise no-name kitchen items that are often cheaply made and cheaply priced. Purchasing these lower-grade items can be a waste of money, even on Black Friday, since chances are you may be stuck looking for a replacement next year. And while shoppers love to find deals, the whole point of America's unofficial shopping holiday is to save money on products you truly want (and love).

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