About the Japanese Bobtail
Full of energy, always playful, loving, endearing, and happy
best describe the Japanese Bobtail’s personality. They are
very people-oriented and want to be the center of family life.
The will watch TV with you, help you read the newspaper
or a book, and they love to help you send emails on the
computer! When your front doorbell rings, they will go with
you to greet your guests. If you want a cat that will interact
with you and your family, then the Japanese Bobtail is the
breed for you! They like to carry things in their mouths, and
most enjoy a good game of fetch or soccer. Masters of the
pounce, these cats love to play tag with their cat friends. They
are excellent travelers and enjoy cat shows and hotel rooms.
They adjust to dogs and other animals and are especially good
with children. They are naturals at Feline Agility. They love
to jump hurdles and leap through hoops and are speedy and
proficient at this sport. They have been known to run the
course in less than 10 seconds!
The tail is unique not only to the breed, but to each individual
cat. Like out finger prints, no two tails are ever alike. The
tail must be clearly visible and is composed of one or more
curves, angles, or kinks, or any combination. The furthest
extension of the tailbone from the body should be no longer
than three inches. The direction in which the tail is carried is
not important. The tail may be flexible or rigid and should be
of a size or shape to harmonize with the rest of the cat. The
genetic factor which created the Japanese Bobtail is due to
dominant genes and breeds true.
The other unique feature that distinguishes this breed from
other breeds is that the back legs are slightly longer than the
front legs, giving the back legs a very muscular appearance.
The head of the Japanese Bobtail is triangular, and their ears
are upright and at right angles to the head. Their eyes appear
oval rather than round, giving an oriental cast to the face.
They are a medium-sized cat, with males being slightly larger
than the females.
Japanese Bobtails come in many colors: solid colors, mi-ke
(calico), vans, and bi-colors. They can have a tabby pattern
which is either spotted, mackerel, or classic. They also come
in two different coat lengths – longhair and shorthair - and
are known for their soft and silky coats. The United States
has more van colored and bi-colored cats registered than solid
colored cats. Probably one of the most recognizable colors is
the mi-ke (calico).
The Japanese Bobtail is one of the oldest naturally occurring
breeds of cat and is native to the islands of Japan. From written
records it seems certain that the domestic cat first arrived in
Japan from China or Korea at least one thousand years ago.
It is believed that the original domestic cats came with the
Buddhist monks in 600-700 A.D. and were brought to keep
the rats out of the rice paper scrolls in the temples. In the
1600s, the silk trade found itself in jeopardy due to rats, and
the Japanese Bobtail was pressed into service and thus became
the street cat that it is today in Japan. All CFA registered cats
can be traced back to the original and current imported cats.
The Japanese Bobtail has certainly existed in Japan for many
centuries; it is featured in many ancient prints and paintings.
Elizabeth Freret imported the first Japanese Bobtails to the
United States in 1968. The Shorthair Japanese Bobtail was
accepted for championship status in 1976, followed by the
Longhair Japanese Bobtail in 1993.
Japanese Bobtails are very strong and healthy cats. They
usually have litters of three to four kittens that are large for
newborns. Compared to other breeds, the kittens are active
earlier, walk earlier, and start getting into trouble earlier!
This breed has a low kitten mortality rate and a high disease
resistance rate. Kittens are never born tailless, nor are they
born with full tails. They are active, intelligent, talkative cats.
Their soft voices are capable of nearly a whole scale of tones;
some people say they sing. Since they adore their human’s
companionship, they almost always speak when spoken to.
Choosing a new kitten is an important decision for the
entire family. It will be a commitment for the life of the cat.
Usually breeders make kittens available between the ages
of 3 and 4 months. Japanese Bobtail babies are continually
learning life experiences from their parents and their people,
which helps to produce well-balanced, loving kittens. After
12 weeks, kittens have had their basic inoculations and have
developed the physical and social stability needed for a new
environment. Keeping such a rare treasure indoors, neutering/
spaying, and providing acceptable toys and scratching posts
all help to keep your new kitten happy and healthy. The care
and grooming of the Japanese Bobtail is very easy. Since the
cat has no undercoat, combing once a week will remove any
dead hairs; because of this feature, neither long nor short coat
lengths will mat.
The Japanese Bobtail is a delightful animal and will bring
much pleasure and happiness to your home and family.
For more information, please contact the Breed Council Secretary for this breed.