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The Japanese Bobtail Shorthair is a playful and energetic cat breed known for its bunny-style Bobtail. They originate from Japan, where bobtailed street cats have been around since the 1600s. However, they didn’t become known worldwide until the late 1960s and gained Cat Fanciers’ Association registration in 1976.
Today, most Japanese Bobtail Shorthair breeders are in the USA, but there are some throughout Europe. The most common Japanese Bobtail is white with black and red spots, known as tricoloured and considered a lucky charm in their homeland.
Meet the Japanese Bobtail Shorthair
The Japanese Bobtail Shorthair is medium-sized, weighing 5 to 10 pounds, with a muscular body and a long, lean torso. They have slender legs with higher hind legs than front legs, helping them jump high. They have triangular heads with large, upright ears set wide apart and big oval-shaped eyes.
The Japanese Bobtail Shorthair has a short and kinked tail caused by a gene mutation. Moreover, each cat’s tail is unique and can feature tufts of fur or curl or kink to one side. Some may appear as stubs; however, most Japanese Bobtails will have a tail no longer than three inches.
The dominant gene means that only one bobtailed parent is usually required to produce an entire litter of bobtail kittens, making them a genetically diverse breed. In addition, the gene results in a reduction of tail vertebrae, along with the fusion of some. However, there is no link to spinal or bone abnormalities or disorders, like some bobtail breeds, such as the Manx.
The shorthaired Japanese Shorthair has silky smooth short fur with no undercoat. It is water-resistant, low shedding, and easy to groom. Their fur can be various patterns and colours, but they are commonly white with a harlequin pattern, creating a tri-colour coat.
The temperament of a Japanese Bobtail Shorthair
The Japanese Bobtail Shorthair cat is outgoing, social and energetic. Bobtail owners describe them as charming, affectionate, and confident, winning over anyone they meet. Their love of human interaction naturally makes them fabulous family pets, including those with children or other animals, which they quickly accept.
Japanese Bobtail Shorthairs are very active and retain their kitten-like playfulness as adults. However, they need plenty of interactive play sessions. In an unenriched environment with a lack of human interaction, they will get pent-up energy, resulting in mischievous behaviour. Therefore, if bringing a Japanese Bobtail into your home, schedule regular play sessions and provide lots of toys, puzzles, and cat towers to keep them entertained.
This feline’s confidence means they are not easily startled, which is excellent as they won’t dart under the bed at any unfamiliar sound. However, they can be pretty feisty in how they demand your attention and involve themselves in anything and everything you do. They are also very vocal cats with pleasant-sounding voices that they frequently use to chat with you.
Japanese Bobtail Shorthairs show their affection through their need to be near you at all times. While they may be too active to lay on your lap, they will follow you around and stay by your side like the loyal companion they are. They also have a super cute quirk of sitting on their owner’s shoulders like a parrot!
10 reasons to add a Japanese Bobtail Shorthair to your family
- They have been around for centuries - This natural breed has been around in Japan since as early as the 6th century.
- They’re lucky charms - Their long and interesting history involves their use as pest control and their ability to attract good fortune. This is especially true for the tricoloured (Mi-Ke) variation.
- They are social beings - Thanks to their long history of domestication, Japanese Bobtail Shorthairs are naturally people-loving felines that love to be around their owners all the time.
- They are playful and curious - These felines play like kittens for most of their lives, bringing years of entertainment into your home.
- They have cute bunny tails - If you love both cats and rabbits, the Japanese Bobtail Shorthair makes an ideal ‘two-in-one’ pet.
- They’re easy to groom - Their short fur has minimal to zero undercoating, which keeps shedding at a minimum. As a result, you’ll only need to brush them once a week.
- They are not at risk of any skeletal disorders - Unlike some bobtail breeds, the gene mutation that shortens these kitties’ tails does not bring any bone abnormalities. Moreover, they are generally a very healthy breed.
- They like meeting new people - These sociable felines have no fear of strangers and are known to instantly win over and make friends with anyone who enters the home.
- They make friends with other animals - Their amiable nature and fearless personality mean they’ll likely get on well with any existing pets you have.
- Some have odd eyes - Although rare, the Japanese Bobtail is an odd-eyed breed as some are born with heterochromia (different coloured eyes).
Best homes for a Japanese Bobtail Shorthair
The most significant need of a Japanese Bobtail Shorthair is to receive regular attention and interactive play with their owners. As a result, they will be unable to thrive in a home where their owners are never around. Instead, they will do best with humans who work from home or in a household where people work different shifts.
Aside from their neediness, the Japanese Bobtail’s friendly and affectionate nature means they often become wonderful companions with children. Likewise, they typically get on well with other pets, especially those with equally high energy levels. In fact, it’s always a good idea to get two Japanese Bobtail kittens so they can grow up together and keep each other entertained, releasing the strain when life gets busy.