American Bobtails are commonly referred to as the “Golden Retrievers of the cat world” because of their affectionate, sweet, and quiet nature despite their wild looks. In addition, American Bobtails are well-known for their shortened tails and fascinating appearances.
American Bobtails originated in the USA. However, nowadays, they are an uncommon cat breed there. They are even rarer in the UK, making them an exclusive and highly sought-after breed amongst cat lovers.
Courageous and sociable, the American Bobtail is a bright breed with a very comical personality. Despite their rugged appearance, this rare cat breed is very loving. Their friendly and adaptable characteristics make this adorable cat breed an ideal fit for any home, whether it’s a big house or a small apartment. In addition, American Bobtails are the perfect feline companions for families with older children or other pets in the household.
These cats are regularly employed as therapy cats due to their amiable personalities and sociability towards guests. What’s more, many American Bobtails serve as much-loved cat companions to long-distance truckers, as they can travel very well.
One of the cat breed’s most unique appearance traits is its shortened tail. In fact, no two tails will match, making this body part each cat’s distinctive trademark and proud possession. Each American Bobtail will walk with their shortened tail held confidently above their back, especially when alert. Another comical and dog-like trait is that they can often be seen wagging their tail to express their mood.
- Grooming: Twice a Week 6/10
- Shedding: Medium 6/10
- Hypoallergenic: Low 2/10
- Activity Level: Medium 6/10
- Playfulness: High 10/10
- Friendliness to other pets: High 10/10
- Friendliness to children: High 10/10
- Affection towards it’s owners: High 10/10
- Vocality: Low 2/10
- Intelligence: High 10/10
- Independence: Medium 6/10
American Bobtails originated from Arizona, USA, in the late 1960s. The breed started when a couple named Brenda and John Sanders discovered a male tabby kitten with a short, upright tail at the side of the road on an Indian Reservation site. They took the kitten home and named him Yodi.
They later bred Yodi with their female cat named Mishi. Yodi and Mishi’s litter had short bobtails. This litter became the foundation of the American Bobtail cat breed. Moreover, the litter were crossed with longhair colourpoint cats. The mating of these kittens produced the first true American Bobtail cats.
It wasn’t until 30 years later, in 1989, when the International Cat Association or TICA officially recognised this cat breed as a breed in its own right. This was later followed by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 2000.
Interestingly, the bobtail attribute was not a newly discovered trait. Before the origin of American Bobtails, some feral cats had similar bobtails, and still do to this day. However, the American Bobtail breed makes a pedigree Bobtail stock favoured by cat owners and breeders.
American Bobtails are medium-sized but mighty cats. They possess heavy bones and muscles, giving them an athletic appearance. This rounded, thick structure combined with their long hair makes you think that they are hefty. However, when you pick them up, you realise this is just an illusion.
All of their body parts are well-developed, and most are proportionate. They have a well-developed muzzle, solid jaws, a muscular neck, and a broad chest. Their robust legs are thick, too. From their appearance, they look like they were initially bred to keep rodents out of the barn and house.
The cat’s shortened tail is one of its most unusual traits. The length generally ranges from one to four inches. This variation is due to a non-controllable mutation gene, leading to various tail lengths of each kitten in a litter.
Long Haired Bobtail cats have thick, shaggy coats with a ruff around their neck and longer hair on specific body parts, such as their upper hind legs, belly and tail. Their fur becomes much denser, bushier and longer during the winter season, which they will gradually shred in the spring. The texture of their coat is pretty hard and coarse, which serves as a protective coat.
Another unique attribute of the American Bobtail is that they mature gradually. It takes them two to three years to reach adult size. Moreover, female American Bobtails are generally smaller than males.
American Bobtails are very devoted to their human companions. They will show you their love and loyalty by following you around, from room to room. Therefore, if you love the Golden Retriever’s character, you will adore this cat breed.
American Bobtails adore being loved and have lots of love to give in return. They make an excellent family pet who will attach themself to their whole family, not just one person. Therefore, they can be an ideal furry friend for homes with multiple children, as your Bobtail will give them all equal love and attention. They get along well with children of all ages and pets, including other cats and cat-friendly dogs.
American Bobtails have a calm personality which is warm and loving rather than demanding. However, these sweet-natured cats require lots of human interaction. While they can stay alone for a few hours, they do not do well if left alone for long periods. So if your family is always busy or rarely home, be aware that your American Bobtail will need more love and attention than some other breeds.
However, If you frequently go away, consider taking your Bobtail with you. Unlike some other cat breeds, American bobtails are comfortable travelling and can make exceptional travelling feline companions.
These friendly felines get along with pretty much everyone. They don't mind being in an environment with frequent guests. They might even bolt to the door to greet your guests before you do.
However, because they desire affection and interaction, they will try to make friends with anyone. Therefore, if your Bobtail is indoor-only, keep an eye on them to ensure they don't go outside and meet less friendly people and animals. To please your cat’s curiosity and social needs, you can try to leash-train them and take them on strolls around your neighbourhood.
Most American Bobtails are moderately active without being either a "couch potato" or in a perpetual motion. However, when American Bobtails decide to play, they seriously enjoy themselves. In fact, Bobtails are well-known for their love of games. They will regularly initiate games with their human companions. Additionally, they will display their hunting instincts by catching flying insects mid-air.
They also enjoy stalking their toys. They will carry them around in their mouths as if it is a mouse, which will provide you with many laughs! It’s also a good idea to get your Bobtail a cat tree, especially if they don’t have access to the outdoors. Because they have particularly muscular hind legs, they can leap up to an impressive six feet high.
American Bobtails are not as loud as some cat breeds. However, they will express their desires with gentle clicking or chirping sounds as well as a soft purr and meow. In fact, they will communicate with you vocally when they want to chat.
As a laid back cat breed, they get along great with most dogs and welcome visitors, whether they are two-legged or four-legged. These cats have also found a place with psychotherapists due to their loving and spontaneous character. That same adaptability and calmness make them a perfect feline companion suited to various lifestyles, from relaxed to playful.
The American Bobtail is a highly intelligent cat breed. Along with being very smart, as they adore the love and attention of training, American Bobtails are one of the easiest cat breeds to clicker-train and teach tricks. Plus, you can effortlessly train them to play fetch and to walk on a leash.
If you decide to train your Bobtail, start while they are young for the highest success rates. When American Bobtails are appropriately socialized and trained during their kittenhood, they will grow up to be well-mannered and well-rounded cats.
You can also challenge your Bobtail and get their brain working by teaching them various games and tricks. For example, give them puzzle toys that reward them with treats or kibbles when they learn to manipulate them.
American Bobtails are low maintenance, and despite being long-haired, their coat is not prone to matting or tangling. In general, you only need to comb or brush their fur a couple of times a week. You may notice your Bobtail shedding more in the spring and fall, so groom them more regularly during these times. You don’t need to bathe your Bobtail unless they get very dirty or muddy.
Start to comb and brush your American Bobtail from an early age so that they get used to it. This will avoid matted fur in the future. There's a wide variety of cat combs and brushes available on the market. It’s advisable to try a few as some will work better for your cat more than others.
To get your Bobtail kitten used to grooming, start with a very soft brush that does not pull at their fine fur or damage their skin. Then, when you finish brushing, give a small treat, so they start to associate grooming as something good. If regular coat care does not cause any issues or problems for you or your cat, you can try more effective combs and brushes when they reach adult age.
It’s also recommended to brush your Bobtail’s teeth at least weekly to prevent periodontal disease. In addition, you can trim their nails twice a month or when needed, as well as wipe their eyes with a damp cotton pad to eliminate any discharge.
Check their ears weekly, too. If their ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a vet-approved ear cleaner. If the ear has a foul odour, it is best to contact your vet for treatment.
Lastly, an American Bobtail’s litter box should always be clean. Like most cat breeds, they are precise about bathroom hygiene. If it is left unclean, they may use other places in the house.
American Bobtails are vigorous, muscular cats. Unlike some cat breeds, they do not have hereditary tendencies to specific health issues. Their life expectancy is between thirteen to fifteen years with proper care, exercise, and a high-quality diet.
However, it is critical to note that American Bobtails with no tail may experience spinal issues. In addition to spinal conditions, American Bobtails may experience other common health conditions like:
- ● Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) – a condition characterized by the development of cysts on one or both kidneys.
- ● Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a form of heart disease which causes the heart muscle to enlarge.
If you are concerned about your cat’s health issues, talk to your veterinarian about preventative procedures you can take to guarantee a long, healthy, happy life. Also, ensure that you provide them with age-appropriate cat food and fresh, clean water every day.
Because the friendly and easy-going American Bobtail enjoys playing, they are an excellent choice for families with children. However, always supervise younger kids as they are more likely to accidentally hurt the cat while playing.
American Bobtails are happy to live with other cats and cat-friendly dogs. But as always, it is best to introduce pets gradually and in controlled environments to ensure that they learn to get along well together.