American Shorthair Breed Guide

American Shorthair cats are recognized in more than 80 different colors and patterns, but the silver tabby is the most familiar. This medium-sized, muscular animal is the pedigreed version of the domestic shorthair. Males are considerably larger than females, with the former weighing 11 to 15 pounds in adulthood and the latter weighing 8 to 12 pounds when fully grown. The full-cheeked breed wears an open, gentle expression and features medium-large, mostly round eyes with slight almond curves at the top.

Widely regarded by cat lovers as the perfect balance between affectionate and independent, American Shorthairs appreciate some attention, but they also value time to themselves.

These cats are generally amicable and get along well with people and other pets, provided they're appropriately socialized in their youth. They purr readily but don't generally interject themselves noticeably. Widely regarded by cat lovers as the perfect balance between affectionate and independent, American Shorthairs appreciate some attention, but they also value time to themselves. Additionally, they are not always fond of being picked up and confined to a lap, and they are generally not notably active or lazy.

The American Shorthair's ancestors came over on the Mayflower and other settler ships, where they were valued for their skillful hunting of unwelcome rodents on board.

American Shorthairs are moderately affectionate, relatively quiet, patient, smart, and easygoing cats. They aren't hyperactive, but they also aren't underactive, and they're always on the lookout for prey and willing to pounce. These cats aren't needy or demanding, but certainly appreciate attention when the mood strikes. They'll request attention when they want it, but not as aggressively or loudly as some needier breeds.

These are adaptable cats that do equally well with single owners or families, the young and the elderly, and with other cats or dogs. Depending on their mood, American Shorthairs may or may not have any interest in being held at any given time.

American Shorthairs often closely resemble non-purebred domestic shorthairs. Domestic shorthairs don't reliably have the same well-established personality of American Shorthairs. They also lack the genetic selection to produce litters with the classic American Shorthair appearance. Acquire from a reputable breeder to be certain of an American Shorthair's temperament.

The American Shorthair is a healthy and hearty breed. They also have an impressive longevity, with individual cats often living up to 20 years. This breed requires a longer commitment than most others.

American Shorthairs are given to overeating when afforded the opportunity. They should not be fed free-choice, their caloric intake should be monitored closely, and treats should be offered sparingly; excess weight is a significant detriment to a cat's health and quality of life.

This breed has a genetic predisposition to developing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM for short. HCM is the most prevalent cause of feline heart disease and the most common cause of spontaneous death in indoor cats. It is diagnosed with an echocardiogram and requires a careful and aggressive treatment regimen. Do not purchase a kitten whose parents were untested for HCM, and never acquire from a breeder that guarantees an HCM-free line, as this is impossible.

American Shorthairs are perfectly content to entertain themselves much of the time. Still, like all pets, they require attention sometimes, as well as active play and stimulating toys. They appreciate play that simulates hunting, whether it's with a mechanical mouse or similar toy or with a moving item tied to a string.

These intelligent cats can be quickly trained. They'll readily take to a scratching post when it's provided and figure out that furniture isn't to be shredded. Although they interact well with children, younger ones must be supervised to ensure gentle, safe play.

Proper socialization of kittens helps ensure an amicable American Shorthair that gets along well with children and other animals. Kittens should receive plenty of attention and affectionate physical contact; they should not be isolated in the home or left alone for significant periods of time. Acquiring from a reputable breeder offers reassurance that kittens were properly socialized from birth.

The American Shorthair has a thick, even coat of short hairs. The hard, dense coat provides effective insulation against the cold. This is a relatively low-maintenance breed, but one that sheds moderately. Brush an American Shorthair's coat at least once per week using a rubber curry brush or a stainless steel comb to remove debris, distribute natural oils, and collect loose fur. More frequent brushing helps keep shedding in check when bothersome.

Bathing is generally unnecessary, and shouldn't exceed once every six weeks to prevent dry skin. An American Shorthair's nails generally need to be trimmed once every 10 to 14 days. Regular attention to cleaning the ears is advisable. Consult a veterinarian about an appropriate otic cleanser and schedule of administration. Also, inquire about a suitable dental health regimen.

American Shorthairs should be introduced to handling and grooming from shortly after birth. Touch the tops and bottoms of their paws, their individual toes, their ears, and their mouths every day or two. Brush kittens briefly and gently. Grooming sessions should start short and gradually increase in length.

In 1620, the cats that gave way to the breed known today as American Shorthairs came to the United States aboard the Mayflower with English colonists. Although not known for certain, it is likely some of the cats came before that with earlier settlers.

These cats have always been workers. They have a natural affinity for preying on rats, mice and other small pests. They kept vermin in check aboard the ships of early settlers and did the same in homes, barns, and places of business. To this day, American Shorthairs prefer to stick to the ground and remain alert for prey.

Until the early 1900s, these cats were only known as domestic shorthairs, and they intermingled often with foreign breeds. Shortly after the turn of the 20th century, breeders took an interest in preserving the breed; they gathered the finest individuals and began selective breeding. In 1966, the name American Shorthair was coined and applied to the purebreds to distinguish them from other domestic shorthairs.

In 1906, the American Shorthair became one of the first five breeds recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA). Today, it's the eighth most popular type of cat registered by the CFA.