When the word “cat” comes to mind, many of us picture the well-proportioned tabby kitty with a short coat, round head and long sleek tail. Though most of us are familiar with the American Shorthair Cat, it is fascinating to consider how this particular breed was shaped, and how it has become of the most iconic cat breeds in this country. For many of the reasons listed below, it is clear how this cat’s name is attributed to this country not only because of its breeding history, but also because of many characteristics that are indicative of what makes this country great.
Facts About the American Shorthair Breed
- American Shorthair cats are similar to many of their American owners, in that they descended from the resilient felines that traveled from Europe to settle the great expanse of this country. Whether they settled in the early New England colonies, of ventured further west, these pioneer cats worked alongside their owners, earning their keep by keeping the kitchen floors, homesteads and farms rodent free.
- Because of the harsh lifestyle of the prairies, scorching western desserts, sweltering humidity of the south, and the harsh winters in the north and east, factors such as climate challenges and diseases weeded out the weaker felines, leaving only the strongest survivors. The result has strengthened the American Shorthair breed, which now has few health issues, high endurance, and enjoys a long life of typically between 15-20 years.
- The breed was first recognized in 1906 by the Cat Fanciers’ Association. Though the American Shorthair cats were called the Domestic Shorthair at that time, the breed was one of the first five breeds to be acknowledged in the nation. The cats as we know them today took on the title “American Shorthair” in 1966, shortly after the first cat of the breed was awarded the honor “Cat of The Year” title in 1965.
- The confusion persists: “Domestic Shorthair” cats do exist, bearing a close resemblance to the American Shorthair. However, the Domestic cats are considered mixed-breeds of unclear lineage, and the only way to tell if a cat is an actual American Shorthair is if your breeder had the paperwork to prove it.
- American Shorthair cats have placed at the Cat Fancier’s Association, when a silver tabby cat named Mr. H (1984), and a brown tabby named Sol-Mer Sharif (1996) won the “Cat of the Year” award.
- Though they are most commonly found in the form of a tabby coloring (the silvery gray coat with black stripes/markings), the American Shorthair cat comes in over 60 shades of fur. Though that might seem to provide extensive possibilities, there are colors that are not accepted as “purebred” coloring. Among these are: chocolate, sable, lavender/lilac, or markings that resemble a Siamese cat.
- The American Shorthair is a more diplomatic breed than others. They get along well with children and other domestic pets, and typically have fewer behavioral issues (such as separation anxiety, hyper vocalization, or destructive streaks) than other breeds.
- These cats are also low maintenance, possessing mild manners, short coats, and personalities that perfectly balance of playfulness without ever being needy. A good mix of all the best qualities, this breed truly is an all-American cat!