About the American Shorthair
Looking for a cat that will be a gentle companion, a playmate
for your children, and a full-fledged member of the family?
Look no further than the American Shorthair. This breed
is known for its longevity, robust health, good looks, sweet
personality, and amiability with children, dogs, and other pets.
The American Shorthair breed originated from cats following
settlers from Europe to North America. Records indicate
that even the Mayflower carried several cats to hunt the ship’s
rats. For centuries, “working cats” flourished along with their
pioneer owners and eventually established themselves as the
native North American shorthaired cat. Their beauty and loving
nature came to be valued as much as their rat-catching skills.
Late in the 19th century, there was an interest in developing
and showing a shorthair cat representative of the North
American working cat. One brown tabby American Shorthair
was even offered for sale for $2,500 at the Second Annual Cat
Show at Madison Square Garden in 1896. The Cat Fanciers’
Association (CFA) chose to officially recognize this lovely cat
(then called the Domestic Shorthair) as one of its first five
registered breeds in 1906.
Breeders selectively bred North American shorthaired cats
by acquiring the finest examples to preserve the all-around
working cat’s structure and to refine the beautiful face, the
easygoing disposition, and the striking colors present in
today’s breed. The breed was renamed “American Shorthair”
in 1966 to better represent its “All American” character and
to distinguish it from other shorthaired breeds. The name
also reinforced that this purpose-bred breed is different
from random-bred cats that may be found in streets,
neighborhoods, and barnyards today.
By chance, a non-pedigreed shorthair cat might resemble
an American Shorthair, just as another random-bred cat
might look like a Siamese, Persian, or Maine Coon. The
difference, however, is that a pedigreed cat can consistently
produce kittens of the same physical conformation, coat
quality, and temperament, while a random-bred cat cannot.
Years of selective breeding and the careful recording of many
generations of cats guarantee that each litter of kittens will
have specific qualities.
As pets or for showing, American Shorthairs are low-maintenance
cats. These cats are not only beautiful, but healthy,
easygoing, and affectionate. Males are usually larger than
females, averaging 11 to 15 pounds, while females may weigh
6 to 12 pounds. American Shorthairs often continue to grow
until 3 or 4 yeard old and generally require only annual
vaccinations and veterinary checkups. With a quality diet
and plenty of tender loving care, they can live 15 years or
longer. No wonder the American Shorthair is one of the most
popular cat breeds!
Usually breeders make kittens available between 12 and 16
weeks of age. After twelve weeks, kittens have had their basic
vaccinations and have the physical and social stability needed
to for a new home, showing, or being transported by air.
Keeping such a rare treasure indoors, neutering or spaying,
and providing acceptable surfaces (e.g. scratching posts)
for the natural behavior of scratching (CFA discourages
declawing or tendonectomy surgery) are essential elements
for maintaining a healthy, long, and joyful life. For more information, please contact the Breed Council Secretary for this breed.