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American Shorthair

One of the Healthiest and Most Popular of all Cats

American Shorthair

Antonia Cirjak - Last Updated on February 4th, 2021

Things you Should Know about the American Shorthair

The American Shorthair is the typical breed most people imagine when thinking about a cat. 

This very standard-looking cat officially appeared in the breeding records at the beginning of the 20th century.  We now know that at least one of the animals involved in the breeding was a British Shorthair.

The primary purpose behind creating the American Shorthair cat was to help control the rodent population. The cat was strong, hardy, and could withstand harsh outdoor conditions so perfect for the job. 

The breed was initially labeled as the Domestic Shorthair. However, it was later renamed American Shorthair, as we call it today.

American Shorthair cats

Appearance Matters. What does an American Shorthair look like?

American Shorthair kittens grow up to be moderately large cats. They have a wide chest and a powerful jaw that can take on any rodent available for hunting. 

With full cheeks and a charming expression, these cats are incredibly attractive.

As in most breeds, males are larger than females. They peak at 15 pounds when they reach adulthood at three or four years of age. Female cats typically stay at around ten pounds.

Interesting features are the rounded ear tips, and large intense eyes set very widely. They make the American Shorthair even more mesmerizing than it already is.

The eye colors, according to the breed standard, can be one of the following:

  • Gold
  • Hazel
  • Blue
  • Copper
  • Green
  • Odd-eyed (Two different colors)

This cat is extremely well proportioned, and it’s just faintly longer than it is tall.

The tail has a sturdy base and tapers to a blunt tip. It makes for a useful tool for balance and quick movements during hunting. 

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What colors do the American Shorthair cats come in?

The Shorthair cat can have a wide array of coat colors and patterns. There are more than 80 different color combinations. 

The number increases if we add all the possible blends. However, some colors appear more frequently in these cats.

The silver tabby is convincingly the most common coat color you can encounter. A large percentage of the American Shorthair population has this striking color.

Here are some other popular colors and patterns:

  • White
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Cream
  • Red
  • Orange
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Chinchilla silver
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Calico
  • Smoke

The coat itself is short and straight. This is an ideal coat length for a purpose-bred-cat that had to be able to easily clean itself. The coat is also very dense, which protects it from the elements and potential injuries.

What is the difference between American Shorthair and Domestic Shorthair?

These two cats are genetically completely different.

However, the main difference comes from the fact that the pedigreed cat will produce predictable litters. The size, look, temperament, health, and behavior can all be planned for.

American Shorthair

It's all Personal. The American Shorthair Temperament

If you’re wondering about the American Shorthair personality, you’ll not be disappointed. It’s primarily bred to be a very efficient working cat with many other pet qualities. 

This is a very affectionate cat that loves companionship. This includes little children and even friendly dogs. However, this does not mean that they do not appreciate being left alone for the portion of the day to tend to their own catty things without intrusion.

As such, the American Shorthair is an independent cat. It doesn’t vocalize frequently and is, in general, an easy pet to have.

They also enjoy various types of interactive play. Considering they are bred to hunt, the breed typically enjoys chasing toys on a pole or speeding after a shoestring.

Are American Shorthair cats friendly?

These cats are extremely popular as pets for a reason. They are very friendly and adaptable to the everyday life of their family.
The American Shorthair will not follow you around with a constant need for affection. But, they will enjoy a nice cuddle session and time spent in your presence.

Caring for your American Shorthair 

With such a short, dense, and almost coarse coat, you will need to be on top of grooming if you want to avoid having your home covered in tiny hairs. Brushing will also help with potential burrs that can get tangled into the cat and even cut their skin.

Weekly brushing is typically enough to keep your cat’s coat in great shape. But, do increase the frequency during the periods of heavier shedding.

Do American Shorthair cats shed a lot?

The amount of shedding isn’t as high as with some other breeds, so moderate grooming efforts are typically enough. However, the American Shorthair does have a very dense coat. Expect to find the little hairs lodged in the most unexpected places.

As mentioned, regular brushing will take care of most of your problems. There’s no reason to worry about matting with this gorgeous feline.

These are ferocious hunters that will, at times, get into mischief and possibly get dirty. So sometimes you might even consider a bath. Do make sure that you don’t bathe your cat too often, though.

Are American Shorthair cats hypoallergenic?

This breed is definitely NOT hypoallergenic. Any cat that sheds can cause allergies in people sensitive to cat dander.

This also means that you’ll be hard-pressed to find any cat breed in general that is entirely guaranteed not to elicit allergic reactions.

American Shorthair

The Health and Happiness of your American Shorthair

The American Shorthair is a very healthy breed. Thanks to its diversified genetic material, they don’t have any breed-specific diseases or disorders.

However, one disease can pose a problem as it can affect any cat. It is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which is the most frequent heart disease in domestic cats and causes the heart to thicken. 

Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing whether a cat will develop this disease. But, any individual cat that’s meant to be bred should be screened to confirm that it does not suffer from it already.

When it comes to the American Shorthair’s lifespan, they can live up to an impressive 20 years of age. Feed your cat high-quality food and satisfy their need for a gentle touch and abundance of love to get there.

Feline History. Where does the American Shorthair come from?

The history of the American Shorthair is as impressive as the breed itself. The very first cats to arrive in the US did so by a ship with other early settlers. They were brought from Europe to help with mice, other rodents, and vermin.

During the 1800s, the Domestic Shorthair cats participated in cat shows with other breeds. It was quickly gaining popularity among feline aficionados. So much so that the breeders decided to select and reproduce the particular traits that we now recognize in its breed standard. 

It was not until 1966 that this breed got its current official name — American Shorthair.

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