Known as the “Golden Retrievers of the feline world”, American Bobtails are sweet-natured, calm, quiet, sociable and courageous. They are highly intelligent with a funny personality. Despite their wild appearance that is similar to a bobtailed wildcat, this rare breed is very friendly and affectionate.
American Bobtails are best known for their captivating wild look and shortened tails. They are very warm and caring and seldom demanding. They are also playful. You can expect them to play fetch with you and go on walks outdoors as they can be easily trained to walk on a leash or harness. American Bobtails are not very “talkative”, but they express their needs with little chirps, clicks, trills, meows and purrs.
Their shortened tail is one of the American Bobtails’ rare characteristics. It serves as a trademark to this cat breed because no two tails are the same. These adorable cats proudly hold their shortened tail above their back, particularly when they are attentive, alert. They will even wag their tail often to express their mood.
American Bobtails have an adaptable and amicable nature; that’s why they are an excellent fit for any home situation. They are wonderful feline companions for families with older children and other pets in the household. They are often even “hired” as therapy cats because of their amiable personalities and sociability towards people. Also, they are great companions for long-distance travellers such as truckers and RVers because these cats can travel very well.
According to Bobtail breeders, pedigreed cats were not used to develop the American Bobtail and they occurred through natural selection. These muscular cats are active and hardy, with no known genetic tendencies to any specific health conditions.
Up to this day, American Bobtails are a rare cat breed in the United States and the rest of the world.
- Grooming: Once a Week 2/10
- Shedding: Low 2/10
- 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
The American Bobtail’s history started in the late 1960s in Arizona, USA, when the couple John and Brenda Sanders found on an Indian Reservation site a male tabby kitten with a short, upright tail. The couple took this tabby kitten and named him Yodi. He was bred later on with the couple’s female cat named Mishi.
The two cats had a litter with short bobtails. Yodi and Mishi’s litter became the foundation of the American Bobtail breed, making them the cat breed's parents. Their litter was later crossed with longhair colourpoint cats. The mating of these kittens produced the first true American Bobtail cats.
The bobtail characteristic occasionally comes up in feral cats; but, cat breeders favour pedigree American Bobtail standards. Despite Yodi and Mishi's fame and status, the American Bobtail remains a rare cat breed in their native country.
The International Cat Association or TICA officially accepted this cat breed as a breed in its own right in 1989 and by the Cat Fanciers' Association in 2000.
American Bobtails are a medium-sized cat breed with heavy boning and muscles. They have a rounded, thick appearance that makes them look heavy. Their body, including their muzzle and jaws is well-developed,and they have a broad chest and neck. Moreover, they have solid legs, which makes them fast and powerful as they were initially bred to keep the rats out of the house or the barn.
American Bobtails are mostly known for their unusual trait, their shortened tail. The recognized tail length should be a minimum of one inch and a maximum of no longer than their hock. The tail mutation gene is not a controllable gene; hence, there is a variety of tail lengths in a litter of kittens.
Their coat becomes much denser, thicker, and longer during the winter season, creating a protective layer. Their fur can come in various colours and patterns. It has a plush texture, which when touched, reminds people of a rabbit pelt.
The American Bobtail matures slowly, and it takes two to three years to reach their adult size. Female American Bobtails are usually proportionately smaller than their male counterparts.
Because of their calm, warm and affectionate personality, American Bobtails are excellent feline companions. They tend to attach themselves to the entire family, not just one member. What’s great about this cat breed is that they get along well with older children and other pets, including cat-friendly dogs and other cats.
However, because of their strong bond with their families, American Bobtails do best with a companion rather than being alone. This cat breed is moderately active, best described as neither a “couch potato” nor in a “continuous motion”.
American Bobtails are very loyal to their families. They have a habit of following a family member from room to room, checking what they are doing. Together with their calm, warm and affectionate personality, it is surprising to know that they are not demanding compared to other cat breeds. If you happen to love and own a Golden Retriever, you will definitely love this cat breed.
These sweet-natured cats love getting all the affection and attention from their families – and they have lots of love in return. That’s why it is essential to spend quality time with an American Bobtail as they need human interaction and don’t do well when left alone for long periods.
So, if your family is always on the go and always busy, make sure that someone is home to keep them company. If you are always on the road, you can bring your American Bobtail on your travels as they make an exceptional travelling feline companion.
The American Bobtail is so friendly that they can get along with pretty much everyone. With their laidback and easygoing personalities, they don’t mind being in an environment with frequent guests. They might even bolt through the door to greet visitors before you do.
However, they will try to make friends with anyone so keep an eye on your very friendly American Bobtail as they may go outside and try to befriend less friendly people or animals. If you want to please your cat’s curiosity and social needs, try to leash or harness train them and take them on walks around your neighbourhood as you can quickly train them to do this.
As highly intelligent cats, they love playing games. They can play a game of fetch and hide and seek for hours on end. They will even initiate games with any of the family members. While inside your home, they can showcase their hunting skills by catching flying insects mid-air.
They also enjoy stalking their toys and carrying them with their mouths like freshly caught mice. While they are not very active, American Bobtails have athletic bodies. They have muscular hind legs, which makes them excellent leapers. So, it is best to give your cat a tall cat tree to leap onto.
American Bobtails are known to be quiet cats. Still, if they want to express their feelings and get your attention, they will trill, chirp or click.
These affectionate and welcoming cats found a place with psychotherapists because of their spontaneous character. With their calmness and adaptability, American Bobtails are a perfect feline companion and suited to a variety of lifestyles such as country living or apartment dwelling. Their compliant character also makes this cat an ideal feline travel companion, perfect for long-distance truckers and RVers.
The American Bobtail is known to be a highly intelligent cat breed. They can easily be taught to play fetch and walk on a leash. You can also physically and mentally stimulate them by teaching them games and tricks. As people-orientated felines, they will love the time you spend with them as you train them. Give them rewards, like treats and kibbles, when they perform a trick or follow your command.
Consider your American Bobtail’s energy levels though.They are moderately active and neither “always in motion” nor a “couch potato”. So, make sure that the tricks you teach don’t require too little or too much energy.
While they are very welcoming and friendly to other animals, it is still recommended to adequately socialise and train them at an early stage. Like many cat breeds, they will grow up to be well-rounded and well-mannered cats.
Coat & Care
Their coat typically does not mat or tangle and they do not require a high level of grooming. Brushing twice a month is sufficient for short haired American Bobtails. However, like other cat breeds, they usually shed more in Spring and Fall seasons. Because of this, you need to groom them more frequently during these seasons. Bathing them is not necessary unless they get muddy or dirty.
To help your cat get used to combing or brushing, start with a very soft brush that does not pull their fur or damage their skin. It is a good idea to give your cat a small reward every time after brushing or combing. As long as there are no problems, you can switch to a more suitable brush or comb for their coat needs. Note that there are specific brushes and combs that suit every cat breed – whether they are long haired or short haired.
To maintain good dental hygiene and prevent periodontal disease and other gum and teeth problems, brush their teeth twice a week. Keep their nails clean and trimmed twice a month or when needed. To keep their eyes clean and healthy, wipe the corners of their eyes using a damp cloth to remove any eye discharge.
For their ears, check for dirt, debris or wax on a weekly basis. You can use a vet-approved ear cleaner and ask for tips on how to clean your cat’s ear effectively. If you observe foul odour from their ears, it is best to contact your veterinarian for treatment as it may lead to an ear infection.
Lastly, keep their litter boxes clean as dirty litter particles may stick to their coat and cause matting and tangling. Moreover, if it is left unclean for long periods, American Bobtails tend to use different places in the house.
American Bobtails are generally a healthy cat breed with no known hereditary health conditions. Their life expectancy is between thirteen to fifteen years with proper care, exercise, and a good, age-appropriate diet. However, to maximise their life span and ensure they remain healthy throughout their life, it is essential to buy from an ethical and registered breeder. This is important as they run DNA health tests on their cats to minimise the risk of health conditions in that particular breed.
It is also important to note that although rare, there is the chance that an American Bobtail can experience spinal issues due to their shortened spine. This can result in faecal incontinence and/or neurological problems. In addition to their spinal conditions, American Bobtails may experience other common health conditions like:
- Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) – is a condition characterised by the development of cysts on one or both kidneys.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – is a form of heart disease which causes their heart muscle to enlarge.
- Hip dysplasia - Occurs when the hip is loose and can cause lameness and lead to degenerative joint disease. (osteoarthritis)
If you are concerned about your cat's health, make sure to talk to your veterinarian about preventative procedures you can take to guarantee a long, healthy, happy life. Also, it is best to provide them with age-appropriate cat food and fresh, clean water every day.
Children & Other Pets
Because of their loving, trusting and friendly nature, 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.
The sociable and laidback American Bobtail enjoys playing and interacting with humans. That’s why they are an excellent choice for families with older children. For younger kids, always supervise them to avoid accidents that may hurt the cat like pulling their fur or twisting their tail.