If you are looking for a gentle feline companion for your elderly parents or a playmate for your children, the American Shorthair is the perfect family pet. Not only are they known for being affectionate, sweet and friendly, but they also boast strong health, longevity and amiability towards children and other pets.
The American Shorthair is known to have originated from cats who came to North America with settlers from Europe. Moreover, there are records that specify the Mayflower carried many cats to chase the ship’s rodents.
For many centuries, “working cats” have flourished together with their forerunner owners and eventually established themselves as the native North American short haired cats. Their rodent-catching skills combined with their beauty and affectionate nature has made them one of the favourite breeds among cat lovers and enthusiasts.
These friendly cats are one of the most adaptable cat breeds for any type of environment and household. They make excellent companions for senior citizens because of their calm demeanour and devotional nature. They are also ideal for a family with children because of their good-natured, playful characters. The American Shorthair cat thrives in a busy household due to their non-demanding trait and their ability to keep themselves entertained the whole day.
This cat breed makes a charming feline companion. They are easygoing and docile. The American Shorthair is an affectionate cat that will devote herself to all members of the family.
While they love to play, these cats do not need hourly attention. If they are in the mood to play, they will bring their owner a toy, initiating a play session. The American Shorthair also plays well by herself, making them a perfect feline companion for busy professionals.
Because of their intelligence, American Shorthairs can be trained to play fetch. They also thrive with the love and attention of their families. This cat breed makes a great family pet as they are great with young children, cats and other pets. They can also thrive as a lone pet for people who live alone, or as a companion for the elderly and the disabled.
- Grooming: Once a Week 2/10
- Shedding: Low 2/10
- Hypoallergenic: Low 2/10
- Activity Level: Medium 6/10
- Playfulness: Medium 6/10
- 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: High 10/10
While they are not listed on ships registers, The American Shorthair originated from the cats that came with the early settlers to the United States, combining their various backgrounds to develop an "American" cat. They were considered "working cats" protecting the ships' stores on long voyages. These early American cats were robust, hardy cats that got their living status with their hunting skills. Soon, they were noticed for their intelligence and their many varied colours and patterns.
In the 1980’s, these shorthair cats, then known as Domestic Shorthair cats, started to be represented in cat shows, including the first national cat show in Madison Square Garden. As more shorthair cat breeds were imported, dedicated cat breeders of the domestic cats started selective breeding to develop a cat of a definite type. While the American Shorthair is a natural breed, it is the course of selective breeding that has produced the American Shorthair we know today.
The breed was renamed “American Shorthair” in the early 1900s. At the same time, more cats were exhibited not only in the United States but also in countries like the United Kingdom. The American Shorthair gained full recognition from the majority of the international breed organisations, including The International Cat Association. However, as of the moment, this cat breed has not been recognized by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF).
Today, the American Shorthair is still one of the most adored and most popular cat breeds in the United States. Should you wish to bring home an American Shorthair and you reside in the United Kingdom, you need to register your interest with the breeders and enlist your name on their waiting list because there are only a few well-bred kittens available every year.
American Shorthairs do not reach maturity until they are around three or four years old. They are well-balanced, medium-sized, medium-boned cats, with a strong muscular feel to their bodies. They are not as large and as heavy bones as their British cousins but are well-proportioned in all their parts.
The American Shorthair’s head is a little longer than it is wide. Their eyes are wide-set, medium to large in size and proportionate with the size of their head, rounded, which means the upper lid is shaped like half an almond and the lower lid is a fully rounded curve.
Their medium muzzle is short with a full solid chin which gives it a squarish appearance. Their medium ears are a little round at the tip, set twice the length between their eyes. There are several different looks found in the American Shorthairs that are acceptable by the standard.
Their coat is short, shiny, hard in texture, and thick enough to give them a natural protective appearance. Interestingly, their coat’s colour seems to alter the texture of their fur to some degree, with the ideal coat most frequently found in the brown tabbies. Out of the many possible colours and patterns, Tabby and Tabby with white, typically with the classic pattern, have been the most popular for cat shows and exhibitions.
Similar to other breeds, the American Shorthair thrives from having a routine. They don’t particularly like it when something in their environment changes for whatever reason. This cat breed expects to be fed at the same time every day and they want the furniture around the house to stay exactly the same.
If not, they tend to get stressed, which might affect their character and appetite. This cat breed is known to be easy-going and extremely tolerant around children. Because of this trait, American Shorthairs remained one of the top choices of families in the United States.
American Shorthairs are naturally calm, but when the mood strikes, they can be very playful well until their golden years. They are also very inquisitive and want to be part of everything that goes on around them. American Shorthairs thrive on being around their families, yet they are not too clingy or demanding.
Deeply embedded in their DNA, American Shorthairs are curious and expert hunters. They enjoy discovering and exploring the great outdoors to mark their territory and hunt down anything that moves. But remember to keep an eye whenever they go out. Make sure that they are only allowed to wander outside if it is safe for them to do so.
You can keep American Shorthairs as an indoor cat as long as you give them plenty of attention and love, with lots of toys to keep them busy and entertained when they are not napping. It is also worth noting that some American Shorthairs enjoy being lap cats while other cats enjoy just being close to their human companion, following them around the house and watching what they are doing.
These playful felines love to entertain and to be entertained. American Shorthairs can be a little mischievous at times. Because of their cleverness, they can quickly learn how to open cabinets, cupboards and even doors to get their favourite toys or to check if their favourite treat is hidden there. They also love playing a game of fetch, and you can expect them to perch on high areas of the house.
American Shorthairs are not very vocal. They will let their owners know when they are hungry or want to go outside through their sweet, quiet voices. When they are happy and content, they can really purr.
American Shorthairs are very trainable cats. They are willing to learn, and they are clever. Whether it is following commands, solving a puzzle game, or learning new tricks, this smart cat will be engaged and attentive. Therefore, be sure to challenge their clever minds and keep them focused.
To encourage your American Shorthair, you can use their favourite toys and give them small treats and kibbles when they behave during training and play sessions. Consistency is the key for many cat breeds.
These gentle and good-natured cats are social and affectionate and will do everything for human interaction, affection and attention. Remember, when this cat breed is appropriately socialised and trained at kittenhood, they will blossom into a well-rounded and well-mannered family pet.
Coat & Care
This adorable cat's short coat is easy to care for and maintain. Their coats do shed though, so it is recommended to run a comb or brush through their coat once a week or as needed to prevent them from swallowing excess hair. They tend to keep themselves clean and do not usually need a bath unless they get muddy or dirty.
While your American Shorthair needs little grooming, you can help them get familiar with being groomed from an early age. YStart by using a very soft brush so that it won’t pull or break their delicate fur and their skin. Reassure them every grooming session by giving them small rewards if they behaved well. After a while, upgrade your brush into a more appropriate one for their coat needs.
For their dental health, weekly tooth brushing is enough to help avoid tooth and gum diseases. For their nails, trim them twice a month or when needed. For their eyes, wipe the corners weekly with a clean, soft, moist cloth to eliminate any dirt or discharge to keep them clean and healthy. Make sure to use a separate part of the clean cloth for each eye to prevent the spread of any infection.
Check their ears weekly to remove any buildup, preventing infection. You can use a clean cotton ball or soft, damp cloth and a vet-approved ear cleanser to clean their ears. If you smell a foul odour from their ears, immediately contact your vet for care and treatment.
Their litter boxes must be kept clean because American Shorthairs do not like using dirty litter – or else they will do their “business” somewhere else. It is recommended to avoid using litters that are “clumped” because if even a small amount is ingested, it could result in a digestive problem due to the clumping litter swelling up in their abdomen and causing a blockage.
The American Shorthair cat is not known to be prone to any genetic or hereditary health conditions except Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). Regardless, it is still best to schedule regular visits to their veterinarian.
What’s more, despite being a naturally healthy breed, we recommend buying your cat from an ethical and registered breeder. These breeders run DNA health tests on their cats to minimise the risk of health conditions and give you peace of mind.
Children & Other Pets
American Shorthairs are an excellent choice for novice cat owners because they are so docile and people-oriented. They love to entertain the people they love and would do anything to please. They are known to be tolerant of young children, making them a popular choice for families with kids.
However, always supervise younger kids to avoid accidents or any skin scratching incident when they mishandled the cat. They are also a great companion for older people because of their calm and gentle demeanour.
American Shorthairs are content to live with other cats and cat-friendly dogs in the same household. But as always, it is still best to introduce pets gradually and in controlled environments to make sure that they learn to get along well together.
Moreover, remember that they are skilled hunters. Pet birds and other small animals can be their prey. However, they may learn to leave pet birds or other small animals alone if they are introduced to them at kittenhood. When in doubt, separation is best.