Japanese Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed

Loving, full of energy, happy and always playful, these are just some of the characteristics of a Japanese Bobtail. They are also people-oriented and desire to be the centre of their families. In fact, when your doorbell rings, this cat will be the first one to greet your visitors. If you are looking for a feline companion who can interact with your family, the Japanese Bobtail is the right breed for your home.

The Japanese Bobtail cat is seen as the good luck cat of Japan. They are named for their unique trait: their pom-pom tail composed of angles, curves, and kinks. These amiable cats are energetic and intelligent. While they will relax on your lap for a nap, they are too busy to stay still for long periods and are hurriedly off on their next adventure. They are devoted and loyal to their family and can adapt well to other pets and children.

These playful cats like to carry things using their mouths and they can play fetch and even soccer. Japanese Bobtails are very entertaining to watch while they play with other cats. They are excellent travellers and love being in hotel rooms, and cat shows. They are amicable and adjust quickly to other animals and get along well with children.

Japanese Bobtail cats are talkative, with “voices” described as almost songlike. They can communicate with a wide array of meows and chirps. These delightful cats are very energetic and intelligent. They enjoy human and animal companionship and have affectionate, outgoing personalities.

When not busy playing, these cats are off exploring and discovering every corner and room. You might find them examining the contents of your kitchen’s cupboard or jumping to the top of your bookcase to get a good view of what is happening in their surroundings.

These loyal cats are very active. So, if you are considering a lap cat, the Japanese Bobtail may not be a match for you. But to compensate for that, they are very loving and desire to be near their human companion. You’ll be surprised by how fond they are of perching on their human’s shoulders to supervise the going on of the household. 

Japanese Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

Breed Information

20-23 cm
3-5 kg
Life Span:
10-15+ years
Active, Intelligent, Loving, Social, Affectionate, Courageous
Various, Tricolour and Mi-Ke is favoured
Energy Level:
Country of Origin:
Japanese Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws
  • Grooming: Twice a Week 6/10
  • Shedding: Medium 6/10
  • Hypoallergenic: Low 2/10
  • Activity Level: High 10/10
  • 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: High 10/10
  • Intelligence: High 10/10
  • Independence: High 10/10


There are paintings and written records that document the existence of the Japanese Bobtail in Japan for at least one thousand years. In fact, a 15th-century painting shows two longhaired bobtail cats with their coats separated down their backs and a feathery pom-pom for their tail in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. There are also drawings of the Japanese Bobtail sitting beside geishas. As with other ancient cat breeds, many legends and traditions are encircling its origin.

The Japanese Bobtail first arrived in the west when cat breeder Judy Crawford sent the first cats to Elizabeth Freret in the United States in 1968. When Judy returned to America, she brought more of these cats with her and worked with Elizabeth Freret to get the charming cat breed recognized.

The Cat Fanciers Association initially recognized the shorthaired variety of the Japanese Bobtail was accepted for Championship status in June 1976. It was not until 1993 that the Long Haired Japanese Bobtail was recognised. 

Japanese Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws


Japanese Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

Japanese Bobtails are named for their distinguishing trait: their unique pom-pom tail composed of angles, curves, and kinks. Their bobtail is the result of a natural genetic mutation, and because of this, no two tails are the same and they may be lithe or firm. However, it is usually no longer than 3 inches long and must be carried close to their body and proportionate to their body.

The hair on their tail is longer than their body resulting in a pom-pom appearance. The bones in their tail are frequently fused or may be kinked in one or two places so that they can wiggle them, but they should only be handled very softly.

But their tail is not their only distinctive characteristic. They have high chiselled cheekbones and large eyes set on a pronounced angle in their triangular head. It is topped with large, high-set ears that highlight their alertness and curious nature.

Japanese Bobtails are very muscular cats with elegant flowing movements. They are medium-sized cats with parallel lines in their long slender body and powerful hind legs made for jumping. Their hindquarters' deep Z shape gives massive power to their leap, permitting the Japanese Bobtail to spring to great heights quickly. Another unique trait of the Japanese Bobtail is that their hind legs are somewhat longer than their front legs, giving their hind legs a very muscular appearance.

The traditional colour of the Japanese Bobtail’s coat is a tri-coloured, combining deep black, rich red, and pristine white in a package which is considered good luck. They can have any colour for their eyes, but those with two different eye colours or blue eyes are particularly prized and are found most frequently in cats with a lot of white.

The Japanese Bobtail’s coat is soft and smooth when you stroke it. They also have a minimal undercoat. These cats have a medium-length coat covering the solid muscular body. Their coat lies flat against their body-accentuating the elegant stylized lines of these cats revealing a structure comparable to a porcelain statue. 


These delightful cats are very energetic and intelligent. They enjoy human and animal companionship and have affectionate, welcoming personalities. What’s more, they love to talk to you with soft meows and chirps.

The Japanese Bobtail cat loves to play whether it is engaging in a game of fetch, splashing in the water, or tackling and dancing with a favourite toy. When not busy playing, these cats are off exploring and discovering every corner and room.

Japanese Bobtails are full of energy and always playful. These active cats are also people-oriented and want to be in the centre of action in their household. They will perch on your shoulder just to see what you are doing or go with you when the doorbell rings to greet your visitors.

Due to their intelligence and attentiveness, they can play a game of fetch, interact with their human companion through toys and play with other cats harmoniously. You can expect to see your Japanese Bobtail carry things using their mouth. They are also remarkable travellers. This cat breed can adapt quickly, so you can bring them to cat shows and hotel rooms without having any difficulty.

Japanese Bobtails naturally excel in feline agility. They are outstanding at jumping hurdles and leaping through hoops. They are also speedy and expert at this sport. In fact, there are records that they can complete this course in less than ten seconds.

They are devoted and loyal to their family and adapt greatly to other pets and children, making them an excellent feline companion to any family. 

Japanese Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws


Japanese Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

Turn your Japanese Bobtail’s high energy into a productive session by teaching them tricks, commands and games. They are intelligent and curious, thus, making each training session an interesting one.

Start them young. You can start by training them to do simple tasks such as using a scratching post and litter box. As they grow and develop their personalities, introduce them to more complex tricks and commands. You can teach them to play a game of fetch, not to open faucets and play with water unsupervised, or not to wander outdoors without a companion.

To keep them mentally stimulated, provide them plenty of interactive toys they can play with alternately. Remember that Japanese Bobtails love attention and interaction with their human companion so take advantage of this while training them. Encourage them during sessions by giving them treats and kibbles.

Like other cat breeds, when Japanese Bobtails are appropriately trained and familiarised with different people, animals and environments at an early stage, they will blossom into a well-behaved and well-bred family pet. 

Coat & Care

The Short Haired Japanese Bobtail’s coat is easy to groom and maintain with once or twice-weekly combing or brushing. However, they tend to shed during the seasons of fall and spring. Because of this, you will need to brush or comb them more often during those seasons.

Get them used to grooming when they are young by starting a regular grooming ritual. Start with a very soft brush that won’t hurt their skin or pull their kitten hairs. As they grow, use a different brush to cater to their coat needs. Don’t forget to reward them with kibbles and treats just for behaving well.

Examine your cat’s ears weekly for dirt or wax buildup. Use a vet-approved ear cleaner and clean cotton balls to remove any dirt, debris and wax to prevent it from getting an infection. Just make sure not to use cotton swabs as this may cause serious damage to their inner ear. If their ears smell funny or are inflamed, contact your vet for treatment and care.

Allocate time each day to check their eyes for discharge and dirt. Use a clean and soft cloth to gently clean the corners of their eyes. Be careful not to poke their eyes and use a separate part of the cloth to prevent eye infection.

Protect your furniture and your skin by trimming your Japanese Bobtail’s nails as needed. This is important as this cat breed is very playful and tends to make the furniture a part of their obstacle course when running around. As you check their nails, make sure to examine their paws for injury and signs of infection. For their dental health, weekly brushing is sufficient to keep your cat’s teeth free from tartar buildup and tooth and gum diseases.

Maintain their litter boxes as Japanese Bobtails are picky with their bathroom hygiene, just like other cats. Dirty litter boxes may cause them to use other areas of the house to do their business. Also, clumped litter can cling to their coat, and if they swallow this, it may cause a blockage in their body and lead to health issues. 

Japanese Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws


Japanese Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

The Japanese Bobtail is considered an overall healthy cat breed with no known medical predispositions. However, although unlikely, there is always a concern that this breed’s shortened tail may cause spinal and/or neurological problems.

To ensure your Japanese Bobtail lives a long and healthy life, we strongly recommend buying from a registered breeder who runs DNA health checks on their cats. It’s also important to schedule regular vet visits to make sure that your cat is in tip-top condition. 

Children & Other Pets

Japanese Bobtails are intelligent cats. They are very friendly and playful. That’s why many families with children choose to bring one into their homes. While they are amicable, keep a watchful eye on your children when interacting with a Japanese Bobtail or any other cat breeds. Because of their high energy, their playfulness may cause mishaps that may be too rough for younger children.

Living with other pets such as other cats and cat-friendly dogs is bliss for a Japanese Bobtail. Because of their adaptability and friendly nature, this breed can live harmoniously with other pets under the same roof. But remember that not all breeds are the same; always socialise them slowly and in controlled areas so they learn to get along well together. 

Japanese Bobtail Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws