When it comes to the American Shorthair, these little guys are just about as “American” as it gets. As one of the first “settlers” to arrive in the new world, these little guys have a long history of being one of America’s first good “mousers.” While it’s almost impossible to grow up in the United States as a cat lover without at one point owning an American Shorthair, we wanted to take a moment and “examine” this cat breed a bit closer so that if you are considering either purchasing a new cat or better yet, adopting a rescue cat for your home, you’ll have a better idea, why you should include the American Shorthair on the top of your list of cat, breeds to consider.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
American Shorthair Cat Breed Fast Facts
Country of Origin: United States
Size: Medium to Large
Weight: 9 to 12 pounds
Eyes: Round eyes (colors can vary)
Head Shape: Round
Life Span: 15 to 20 years
Origins of the American Shorthair
Although nowadays, the American Shorthair has found its place as a domesticated companion animal, this was not always the case. They could adapt to most environments and help eliminate and control the local rodent population wherever they were, enabling them to “earn” a place on the “farm” and why the early American settlers chose to bring them along on the long and challenging voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.
These little guys were among the first cats to travel from Western Europe to the New World in the early 17th century. And while the American Shorthair certainly is a “fine” looking animal, they weren’t brought to the Americas for their looks alone; they were brought to America because they were excellent “mousers.”
Over the centuries…
These “original immigrant” cats were slowly interbred within the United States to begin to take on their own unique “traits,” which varied from their earlier European ancestors. That is why they eventually became known as their own separate and special cat breed.
That said, it wasn’t until 1906 that the cat breed was “officially” recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association and then even further defined as a “separate breed” apart from other shorthair domestic cats back in 1966.
In all fairness, we must admit that the American Shorthair is not the most “agile” of all cats. This is because these “fellas” tend to be a bit more “big-boned” than other cats their size. Rather than being lean and agile, the American Shorthair tends to be more “stocky” or muscle-bound. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a speed runner when he wants to be.
The average adult male will only grow to be no more than 12 pounds per healthy cat, and they tend to look squat and broad regardless of how “large” they get. It is a look that is only further accentuated by their wide ears with a little crease on the outer ear, known traditionally as the Scottish Fold. The Scottish Fold is a trait shared by short-tailed cats such as the Cornish Rex, the American Bobtail, the Kurilian Bobtail, and the Japanese Bobtail.
When it comes to colors, it’s pretty safe to say that the American Shorthair can and will come in just about every color you can imagine. This breed is nicknamed the ‘tabby cat’ because most American Shorthairs will possess the classic “tabby” fur pattern.
But it’s important to note that…
While the “tabby” pattern is the most common coat pattern associated with the American Shorthair, it is not this breed’s only “accepted” coat marking. There are eight recognized markings, the more famous of which are the color point short hair, shaded, and silver classic tabby. The color pointed is a trait shared by a few other species, but that is perhaps made most famous by the coat patterns of the Siamese cat.
Personality and Temperament
One of the first things you’ll notice about an American Shorthair cat or kitten is that these guys like to play a lot. And while they may not always be the “best” cat to try and keep in the same house with a dog, they are perfect companions for any child of any age. They also tend to be a bit “shy” around strangers.
The American Shorthair is a cat that “tends” to like to be around folks but not necessarily sitting in their lap all day. They’ll be more than happy to play with you for a while and have a “purr” that will “rock the house” when they are happy, but these guys aren’t going to “rely” on you for entertainment. They are perfectly content relaxing, creating their adventures inside and outside the home. They like to know you’re around if they want to rub their chin.
These are the kinds…
Cats that make dog lovers crazy since they don’t “need” the attention of their owners, and make cat owners who don’t want to constantly have to entertain their pets thrilled because these guys provide the perfect amount of affection and “self-reliance.” That said, it should be pointed out that these guys have a thick coat of hair, so unless you want everything you own to be covered in fur, we recommend giving them a good “brush down” every other day or so.
Potential Health Concerns
The American Shorthair, or “tabby,” is a reasonably healthy breed. Now, they have picked up a few health concerns over the generations, so if you are considering purchasing an American Shorthair kitten, you should familiarize yourself with them before committing to a particular cat or choosing a specific breeder. So, let’s cover some of the most common medical conditions that could affect an American Shorthair cat/kitten, which can include:
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This severe heart condition can cause your cat’s heart to enlarge.
- As well as hip dysplasia is a problem whereby the hip socket becomes malformed and may be incredibly painful without an operation.
While your new American Shorthair will probably never develop one of these conditions, you must be aware of them and choose an American Shorthair breeder that actively breeds responsibly to reduce these risks in their litters best.
Since you’re already thinking about the health of your new kitten, we here at IndulgeYourPet also think it would be a good idea to take a moment and consider the possibility of purchasing a pet insurance policy for your lirightht now; there’s a perfect chance that they would be able to qualify for an affordable pet insurance policy that could save you quite a bit of money if your pet ever develops a severe medical condition or suffers from a severe injury later on in life.
Now, will a pet insurance policy be “right” for everyone?
No, of course not, but that doesn’t mean a pet insurance policy might not be “right” for you! We invite you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article for more information about who we “feel” is currently offering some of the “best” pet insurance policies in the industry.