Last Updated on April 30, 2024 by themubbi63

These medium-sized cats are quite docile and gentle by nature even though they have a long history as working cats. Yes, that’s right. Working dogs is a concept that we’re familiar with but working cats less so. This American Shorthair breed was once used to keep rodents and other vermin away from food stores and the high prey drive still shows. They aren’t the most athletic cats but they can be surprisingly muscular and powerful. The Cat Fancier’s Association ranks them eighth in the list of most popular pedigreed cats in the world.

Fatcs About American Shorthair Cat

History

It’s believed that the first ancestors of the American shorthair came over from Europe to North America with the European settlers. After all, these people were moving their entire lives with them to another continent. They brought a lot of things with them, including large pieces of furniture. So why not their pets? 

These cats came over on ships like the Mayflower (and were often used to hunt rats aboard the ships as well as in the newly established colonies) and began to interbreed and multiply in North America. Eventually these cats developed certain characteristics and adapted to the new continent. Even then, they were selectively bred to maintain their best qualities. 

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Some of the most characteristic features of the American shorthair – the muscular bodies, the dense coats, the moderately large size – can be traced back to this period. They were originally known as the domestic shorthair but the name changed in 1966 to emphasize their Americanness. It also serves to set them apart as a pedigree breed and different from other shorthaired breeds.

Appearance

The American shorthair doesn’t have a very distinct appearance that sets it apart from other non-pedigreed cats. Medium to large in size, these cats are quite muscular and have large, oblong faces. With large, wide eyes, these cats have quite a sweet appearance which goes well with their sweet temperament. 

American shorthairs come in too many colors, shades and patterns for us to describe in detail. There are more than 80 colors and patterns among American shorthairs, from brown patched to calico vans. However, the Cat Fancier’s Association says that 75 percent of American shorthair cats are silver in color. And silver tabbies are the most popular even within that category. 

However, deeper shades like black or brown aren’t unknown. Cats that are sable, lilac or chocolate, however, are probably cross-breeds and not pure American shorthair. The eyes of the American shorthair also come in various colors but gold and green are two of the most popular ones.

Size

Since these were working cats in quite cold environments, the American shorthair had to adapt to live outside in barns or farms. This is responsible for the moderately large size of the breed. A full-grown male is generally not less than 11 – 15 lb (5 – 7 kg) while females can range from 6 to 12 lb (2.75 – 5.5 kg). Their heads happen to be pretty large for their size.

American Shorthair CatPoundsKilograms
Males11 – 155 – 7
Females6 – 122.75 – 5.5

Temperament and Behavior

These cats are sweet and good-natured and make for the perfect family companions. Despite their history as rat-catchers and working cats, they generally like attention and are fond of their family members, even children. However, they aren’t lap cats and aren’t likely to appreciate being cuddled and carried around. Don’t expect this cat to curl up in your lap all the time (although they might do it when the mood takes them). American shorthairs would much prefer to sit next to you on the couch. 

They’re fairly independent by nature so you can safely leave them alone for some periods of time while you’re out at work. Separation anxiety isn’t something that you need to worry about with these cats. They’re very well capable of entertaining themselves. They also like socializing with their humans so they aren’t anti-social either.

While these cats can peacefully coexist with dogs, they do have a strong prey drive due to their origins. Smaller species like birds or other small pets aren’t very safe around this breed. If you let the cat out into the yard, it’s quite likely to take off after a squirrel or bird. 

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Health

Unfortunately, American shorthairs can suffer from a variety of maladies and you’ve got to take great care with the health of your cat. If you leave your cat to roam around outside by yourself, the chances of it contracting something are that much higher. Generally, they’re healthy and robust cats. But you might want to watch their diet since they’re prone to obesity and diabetes.

Studies in Japan have shown that almost half of the American shorthair cat breed tested positive for PKD1 mutation which can cause polycystic kidney disease (PKD) in felines. Issues like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is the most common heart disease in felines, and feline lower urinary tract disease are possible. Less serious diseases like tooth and gum problems can be avoided by brushing the teeth of your cat regularly. 

Grooming and Exercise

Their name might be American shorthair but that doesn’t mean that this cat doesn’t need grooming. In fact, their coats are so thick and dense that they need to be brushed regularly. They also shed moderately throughout the year and even more during spring and fall so regular combing can help to control shedding. Weekly brushing is a good idea if you own an American shorthair but you can also brush them more frequently than that. Brushing their teeth, cleaning their ears and trimming their nails are other grooming techniques to follow with these cats.

American shorthairs, like most cats, don’t need a ton of exercise. But they do like playing and it’s good to play with your cats to keep them active. Interactive cat toys like wands help the American shorthair to get more exercise and also helps you bond with them. Getting them a companion cat ensures more exercise for your kitty.

Conclusion

The American Shorthair is a captivating cat breed known for its friendly personality and muscular build. These gentle giants are perfect for families seeking a playful companion with minimal grooming needs. However, keep in mind their hunting instincts if you have smaller pets at home.

FAQs

Do American Shorthairs do well with other pets?

While they can coexist with dogs, their strong prey drive makes them a threat to smaller animals like birds or rodents.

How much grooming do American Shorthairs need?

Weekly brushing is recommended for American Shorthairs, but more frequent brushing can help control shedding.

Are American Shorthairs good with children?

Yes! American Shorthairs are sweet and enjoy attention, making them good companions for families with children. However, they may not be as cuddly as other breeds.

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