Breed Profile

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 Color:

American Shorthairs come in 80-plus colors and designs.

Grooming:

Relatively low-maintenance, experts say, although regular brushing as much as three times a week can help manage their thick coat. Bathing is optional. Shorthaired cats should not be bathed more often than once every six weeks to keep their skin from drying out.

Best Home:

Their working-class ancestors mostly hunted, and Americans today still prefer being at ground level, where their energy can be put to good use. A scratching post can provide an ideal outlet. Food should be monitored as some cats have a tendency to overeat.

National Breed Club:

National American Shorthair Club www.ashclub.org

Personality:

Sociable and affectionate to quiet and sedate. These powerful cats are widely considered easygoing and able to blend into any living situation. Willing purrers, they spread their love freely.

Appearance:

Ideal American Shorthairs exude symmetry. Females tend to be smaller than males. The breed standard calls for cats to be slightly longer than tall. The face should be full-cheeked with an open expression. Eyes are medium to large in size and mostly round with an almond-like curve at the top.

A pleasant companion, the American Shorthair is a loving cat and will become attached to all members of the family.

AMERICAN SHORTHAIR AT A GLANCE

Weight Range:

  • Male: large: >12 lbs.
  • Female: medium: 8-12 lbs.

Eye Color:

Blue, Copper, Green, Gold, Hazel, Odd-eyed

Expectations:

Tendency to Shed: Moderate

Coat:

  • Length: Short
  • Characteristics: Straightbr
  • Colors: White, Blue, Black, Cream, Red, Silver, Golden, Brown, Cameo, Bluecream, Tortoiseshell, Chinchillabr
  • Pattern: Solid color, Tortoiseshell, Bicolor, Tricolor/Calico, Tabby, Smoke, Shadedbr
  • Less Allergenic: Nobr
  • Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate

 

Club Recognition:

  • Cat Association Recognition : CFA, ACFA , TICA
  • Prevalence: So-So

 

The American Shorthair is a medium-sized cat, but she is a very powerful one. She is heavily muscled and has heavy boning. Her rounded, thick appearance makes you realize that she will be heavy when you pick her up.

The American Shorthair is a powerful cat. All components of this cat should be well developed. She has a broad chest, a muscular neck, strong jaws and a well-developed muzzle. Her legs are thick and strong. She looks like what she was originally meant to be, a cat to keep rodents out of the barn and the house.

The coat of the American Shorthair is thick and dense. Her coat becomes much longer and thicker during the winter. The texture of her coat is relatively hard as it is meant as protection for her.

PERSONALITY:

The American Shorthair is a very pleasant companion cat. She is easy going and placid. The American is a loving cat and will attach herself to all members of the family.

While the American loves to play, she doesn’t need hourly attention. If she is in the mood to play, she will bring her parent a toy. The American also plays well by herself. She is a very good companion for single people.

LIVING WITH:

The American Shorthair is a thick, muscular cat and her nutrition must be carefully controlled. Despite the heavy boning and musculature of the cat, you want to make certain that she keeps a proper weight and does not get out of condition.

The American will play when she wants to play. She will find a toy or create one out of anything she finds if a cat toy is not available. Interactive play may be necessary to keep her in good shape and make certain that she gets adequate exercise.

Daily brushing is important, especially during the change of seasons when her coat is thickening or thinning. Even this Shorthair cat can get knots in her coat if she isn’t brushed regularly.

The American Shorthair tolerates being left alone. She is an affectionate cat, but also spends time just sleeping in the sun. The American is an easy cat to care for and makes a wonderful, quiet companion.

HISTORY:

The American Shorthair is considered to be the shorthaired cat that is native to the United States. However, this breed was bred out of cats that probably originated in Europe. Cats fitting the description of the American Shorthair were probably not native to the United States until the time of Columbus.

The first recorded breeding of the American Shorthair took place around 1904. The British Shorthair was one of the parents of this breed, which was originally known as the Domestic Shorthair.

The American Shorthair cat was a working cat that was used to keep the rodent population under control. Since this cat was meant to work, it was bred to be hardy, healthy and strong. Since most of them lived outdoors, the coat was cultivated to be thick to keep out the elements and keep the cat warm.

American Shorthair Temperament and Personality

The affectionate and friendly American Shorthair is adaptable to the needs of his family, making him an excellent companion for everyone from singles to seniors. Although he doesn’t demand constant affection, the American Shorthair is content to spend time with you and loves being held — just be sure to support his back feet to help him feel comfortable. When he does want attention, he’ll give you a little “Hey, look at me!” love bite.

American Shorthairs are good at entertaining themselves, but they also appreciate interactive play that involves “hunting” the lure at the end of a fishing-pole toy, batting at a big peacock feather or figuring out how to release treats from a puzzle toy. They’re smart, trainable, and willing to learn things — like using a scratching post in place of your couch.

Since they are social cats, American Shorthairs also enjoy the company of other animals, including dogs. But they’re not terribly talkative; their expressions communicate their needs instead. Perhaps their best attribute: Patience — which no doubt contributes to their success as hunters.

Looking for a cat that will be a gentle companion, a playmate for your children, and a full-fledged member of the family? Look no further than the American Shorthair. This breed is known for its longevity, robust health, good looks, sweet personality, and amiability with children, dogs, and other pets.

cat1The American Shorthair breed originated from cats following settlers from Europe to North America. Records indicate that even the Mayflower carried several cats to hunt the ship’s rats. For centuries, “working cats” flourished along with their pioneer owners and eventually established themselves as the native North American shorthaired cat. Their beauty and loving nature came to be valued as much as their rat-catching skills.

Late in the 19th century, there was an interest in developing and showing a shorthair cat representative of the North American working cat. One brown tabby American Shorthair was even offered for sale for $2,500 at the Second Annual Cat Show at Madison Square Garden in 1896. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) chose to officially recognize this lovely cat (then called the Domestic Shorthair) as one of its first five registered breeds in 1906.

cat2Breeders selectively bred North American shorthaired cats by acquiring the finest examples to preserve the all-around working cat’s structure and to refine the beautiful face, the easygoing disposition, and the striking colors present in today’s breed. The breed was renamed “American Shorthair” in 1966 to better represent its “All American” character and to distinguish it from other shorthaired breeds. The name also reinforced that this purpose-bred breed is different from random-bred cats that may be found in streets, neighborhoods, and barnyards today.

By chance, a non-pedigreed shorthair cat might resemble an American Shorthair, just as another random-bred cat might look like a Siamese, Persian, or Maine Coon. The difference, however, is that a pedigreed cat can consistently produce kittens of the same physical conformation, coat quality, and temperament, while a random-bred cat cannot. Years of selective breeding and the careful recording of many generations of cats guarantee that each litter of kittens will have specific qualities.

cat3As pets or for showing, American Shorthairs are low-maintenance cats. These cats are not only beautiful, but healthy, easygoing, and affectionate. Males are usually larger than females, averaging 11 to 15 pounds, while females may weigh 6 to 12 pounds. American Shorthairs often continue to grow until 3 or 4 yeard old and generally require only annual vaccinations and veterinary checkups. With a quality diet and plenty of tender loving care, they can live 15 years or longer. No wonder the American Shorthair is one of the most popular cat breeds!

Usually breeders make kittens available between 12 and 16 weeks of age. After twelve weeks, kittens have had their basic vaccinations and have the physical and social stability needed to for a new home, showing, or being transported by air. Keeping such a rare treasure indoors, neutering or spaying, and providing acceptable surfaces (e.g. scratching posts) for the natural behavior of scratching (CFA discourages declawing or tendonectomy surgery) are essential elements for maintaining a healthy, long, and joyful life.

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