Learn more about the American Shorthair
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 years 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.