American Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed

Known as the “Golden retrievers of the feline world”, American Bobtails are sweet-natured, calm, quiet, sociable and courageous. They are highly intelligent with funny personalities. Despite their wild look 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 never demanding. They are also playful. You can expect them to play fetch 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 purr.

Their shortened tail is one of the American Bobtails’ rare traits. 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, and wags their tail often to express their mood.

American Bobtails have an adaptable and amicable characteristic; that’s why they are an excellent fit for any home situation. They are wonderful feline companions for families with older children and living with other pets in the household. They are 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 an American Bobtail to safeguard their huge gene pool. These muscular cats are active, and they do not have genetic tendencies to any specific health conditions.

Up to this day, American Bobtails are a rare cat breed in the United States, even around the world. 

American Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

Breed Information

23-25 cm
3-8 kg
Life Span:
13-15 years
Sociable, Affectionate, Loyal, Playful, Charming, Curious, Easy-going
Energy Level:
Country of Origin:
United States of America
American Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws
  • 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 parent. Their litter was later crossed with longhair colour point cats, and from 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 standard. 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 Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws


American Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

American Bobtails are a medium-sized cat breed with heavy boning and muscles. They have a rounded, thick appearance that makes them look heavy when held up. Their body is well-developed, as well as their muzzle, jaws, broad chest and neck. Moreover, they have solid legs, which makes them powerful as they were initially bred – to keep the rats out of the house or the barn.

American Bobtails are known for their most unusual trait, which is their shortened tail. The recognized tail length should be a minimum of one inch and a maximum of not 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. Its texture relatively hard to work as a protection for them. Their coat has various colours and patterns; and comes in two lengths: short and medium-long. The short hair is plush, and when touched, it reminds people of a rabbit pelt.

American Bobtail matures slowly, and it takes two to three years to reach their adult size. Female American Bobtail is commonly proportionately smaller than their male counterparts. 


Because of their calm, warm and affectionate personalities, American Bobtails are excellent feline companion. They tend to attach themselves to all the members of the family, not just one. What’s great about this cat breed is that they go well with older children and other pets, including cat-friendly dogs and other cats. However, because of their strong bond with their families, American Bobtail is best to be with a companion rather than being alone. This cat breed is moderately active, which 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 American Bobtail as they need human interaction and don’t take it well when they are left alone for long periods. So, if your family is always on the go and always busy, make sure that someone is left at home to keep them company. If you are always on the road, you can bring your American Bobtail can travel as they make an exceptional travelling feline companion.

American Bobtail is so friendly 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. There are even cats that would bolt through the door to greet visitors before you do. They will try to make friends with anyone so make sure to 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 it.

As highly intelligent cat, they are known to 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 mid-air flying insects. They also enjoy stalking their toys and carry them through their mouths like freshly caught mice. While they are not very active, American Bobtail has 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 into and get some fresh air.

American Bobtails are known to be a quiet cat. If they want to express their feelings and wants to 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, which are perfect for long-distance truckers and Rvers. 

American Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws


American Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

American Bobtail is known to be a highly intelligent cat breed. They can naturally be taught to play fetch and walk on a leash. You can also physically and mentally stimulate them by teaching them games and tricks. 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 followed your command.

Keep in mind, though, the tricks and commands you teach your American Bobtail as they are moderately active. They are neither “always in motion” nor a “couch potato”. So, make sure that the tricks you teach them are suitable for their personality.

While they are very welcoming and friendly to other animals, socialising and training them early adequately is still recommended. Like many cat breeds, they will grow up to be well-rounded and well-mannered cat. 

Coat & Care

Their coat is known to not typically mat or tangle as long as you brush or comb it more than a few times a week. 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.

Note that some specific brushes and combs suit every cat breed – whether they are longhaired or shorthaired. So, to ensure that they get used to combing or brushing, you can start with a very soft brush so as not to pull their fur or damage their skin. It is a good idea to give your cat a small reward every after brushing or combing. When your cat’s regular coat care didn’t cause any problems, you can switch to a more suitable brush or comb for their coat needs.

Daily brushing is best, but weekly brushing will still keep your cat’s dental hygiene good and prevent periodontal disease and other gum and teeth problems. 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, you can check it weekly for dirt, debris or wax. You can use a vet-approved ear cleaner and ask for tips on how to clean your cat’s ear effectively. If you observed 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 dirt and other debris 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 Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws


American Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

American Bobtails are generally healthy cat breed with no tendencies to hereditary health conditions. Their life expectancy is between thirteen to fifteen years with proper care, exercise, and a good, age-appropriate diet.

However, it is important to note that American Bobtails with no tail may experience spinal issues, which can result to fecal incontinence. In addition to their spinal conditions, American Bobtails may experience other common health conditions like:

  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) – is a condition characterized 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. Siberian cats are one of the cat breeds that may be affected by this heart disease.

If you are concerned about your cat's health issues, 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 interact with humans. That’s why they are an excellent choice for families with older children. For younger kids, always supervise them to avoid accidents and won’t hurt the cat by pulling their fur or twisting their tail. 

American Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws