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American Bobtail

Wildcat Looks with the Temperament and Intelligence of a Domestic Cat

American Bobtail

Jon Crimes - Last Updated on February 4th, 2021

Things you Should Know about the American Bobtail

The American Bobtail is a breed of cat that has come into existence in the late 1960s. Since it is a new breed, it is still relatively rare, so you’ve probably never seen one in real life unless you frequent cat shows.
The most recognizable feature this cat has is its little, stubby tail that’s also the reason for the breed’s name. The shortness of the tail is due to a genetic mutation.  

The ‘’bobbed’’ tail is shorter than a regular cat’s tail by more than 50%, and in some cases, it’s just a third of the length.

The American Bobtail is just now starting to take over the hearts of cat lovers. This is not surprising considering that its debut in the sixties went under the radar.

Appearance Matters. What does an American Bobtail look like?

The breed is characterized by a large build and a short tail produced naturally. It’s also very athletic, with solid muscle development and powerful hunting instincts.

The looks might deceive you into thinking that you’ll share your home with a wild animal. The American Bobtail is, however, a wholly domestic cat with an appropriate temperament.

You’ll notice that this short tail cat has a fairly rectangular posture and broad chest. The forelegs are shorter than the hind legs, with impressively sizable, roundish feet. The head is proportional to the body without any flat planes.

According to the breed standard, the tail should never extend below the hock, but you’ll never find two tails that look the same. The Bobtail will also wag its tail like a dog almost, to indicate its feelings, which is amazingly endearing.

Do note that while bumps, curves, or even knots on the tail are acceptable, having no tail is not. The absence of a tail points to a short spine, leading to many different health issues. Avoid breeders that breed American Bobtails without a tail.

There are some other cats with a short tail that often get confused for an American, but these breeds have no connection to one another:

The coat of this mesmerizing cat comes in two varieties; short hair and long hair.

The short hair version isn’t typical as it’s actually medium length when compared to standard, domestic cat breeds. It has a soft undercoat with rougher hairs lying on top of it.

Longhair cats will have frills of long hair along the hind legs as well as around the neck. This is what makes it look almost like a wild feline, in addition to the American Bobtail size. The coat is also weather-resistant and doesn’t mat.

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What colors do the American Bobtail cats come in?

The American Bobtail comes in all color combinations that are genetically possible. However, breeders and fanciers do prioritize the colors that amplify the resemblance to wild cats.

Here are some of the more popular colors and patterns:

  • White
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Red
  • Lavender
  • Cinnamon
  • Chinchilla
  • Cream smoke

Are American Bobtail cats rare?

Yes, the breed is still fairly rare

This is mostly due to the fact that most of the major organizations have accepted this breed just recently. Even though it has been around for several decades, it took awhile for the breed to get the proper appreciation.

It's all Personal. The American Bobtail Temperament

One of the more endearing aspects of the American Bobtail’s personality is that they make for excellent travel companions. So much, so that long-distance truckers have been known to purchase them to keep them company.

The domestic bobcat has also been used as an emotional support animal in psychotherapeutic sessions. The calm demeanor and friendliness have earned it the label of the perfect companion cat.

Are American Bobtail cats friendly?

The American Bobtail is a very friendly cat.

The breed is extraordinarily intelligent and playful, but not overbearingly so. Great for households with smaller children as they are known to be tolerant of being picked up, and some will even play fetch like a dog.

Caring for your American Bobtail

It’s really easy to take care of your delightfully playful pet, even if you do have a longhaired variety.

The coat isn’t prone to matting, which means that you can get away with just a few weekly brushings.

It’s strongly recommended to keep the American Bobtail indoors at all times unless you’re able to do walks on a leash. This is meant to prevent possible diseases from other roaming cats, as well as being stolen.

Remember, this is a rare, expensive breed, and it’s definitely a theft target if left unsupervised.

Do American Bobtails shed a lot?

Even though the coat doesn’t mat, it does indeed shed quite a bit.

You’ll need to be diligent with brushing if you don’t want to end up with a home loaded with cat hairs. Obviously, during the shedding season in fall and spring, the brushing should be more frequent. 

Are American Bobtail cats hypoallergenic?

No, these cats aren’t hypoallergenic.

American Bobtails are not suitable for people with moderate or severe allergies as they can easily trigger them. This is true for most cat breeds as the majority will shed or produce allergens in their saliva.

The Health and Happiness of your American Bobtail

American Bobtail’s lifespan is between 11 and 15 years. This seems in line with cat breed in general, but surprisingly, this cat takes a while to even mature.

The Bobtail is considered fully grown when it reaches 2 to 3 years of age, depending on the individual. This means that a one-year-old American Bobtail cat is technically still a kitten.

This is a healthy breed overall and doesn’t suffer from any major health problems. However, there is one issue connected to the genetic material used for breeding.

The issue is a mutation that results in American Bobtail kittens without a tail. This can cause the ‘’rumpies’’, as they are called, to have issues with their spine and hips, among others. Bobtail cats without tails should not be bred, and any breeder that does should be avoided.

Feline History. Where does the American Bobtail come from?

The domestic bobcat came about when a male tabby with a short tail was crossed with a Siamese. The resulting kittens had a bobbed tail like the one these cats have today.

The original litter that started the breed clearly wasn’t exactly the same as the American Bobtail of the present. The breeders spent decades improving the genetic material. This led to many different colors and patterns.

The personality also became more tempered and sweet, which contributed to the popularity among cat fanciers.

Historically, only the longhaired bobtail was recognized as the actual breed. But in 1989 the breed received a championship status and its due respect.

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