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American Shorthair Cat Breed Temperaments, Traits & Pictures

Height: 12-15 inches
Weight: 7-12 pounds
Lifespan: 15 to 20 years
Colors: White, black, blue, cream, silver, red, brown, cameo, tortoiseshell
Suitable for: Families, singles, seniors
Temperament: Quirky, friendly, lovable

The American Shorthair is a medium-sized cat. They are smaller than some of the more robust species, like Maine Coons, but they are still powerful animals. These cats tend to be heavily muscled with heavy boning, giving them a more rounded, thick appearance. They are not a dainty cat, but instead, they look like a “working” cat.

The American Shorthair is the pedigreed version of the Domestic Shorthair. They are a pleasant companion and can be quite beautiful. Their coat color and pattern can come in many different varieties, but one of the most popular is silver. This version is what you will often see if you conduct an online search for the American Shorthair.

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American Shorthair Kittens — Before You Welcome One Into Your Family

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Image Credit: PxHere

3 cat face divider3 Little-Known Facts About the American Shorthair

1. The American Shorthair probably accompanied the Pilgrims.

Initially, the American Shorthair came to the United States in a similar fashion as the vast majority of immigrants: by ship. These cats most likely accompanied the Pilgrims and were known to have been on hallmark ships, like the Mayflower.

They were brought from England and known only as Domestic Shorthairs, being bred generally with most other cats around. They had an essential mission: to keep the ships and new settlements free of vermin that could infect the population and deplete the valuable food stores.

The cats were quite good at their jobs, so they spread among the other settlements, such as Jamestown, and westward with the new settlers. Even though initial lines hailed from England and across Europe, most of this has been lost to time. Now, the cat has been bred and cultivated in America, and the term American Shorthair has stuck.

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2. The American Shorthair breed was selectively produced and shaped by breeders.

American Shorthairs were originally a sort of mutt cat. They were called a general Domestic Shorthair and weren’t explicitly bred to maintain any kind of line.

However, this changed in the 19th century, when cat shows began to become popular in America. All kinds of cats were suddenly more selectively bred to maintain valuable pedigrees and lines from as far back as breeders could find.

American Shorthairs found their way into this mix. They were taken on by breeders and bred to enhance specific traits that currently define the modern American Shorthair. These traits include a large head and a face with round cheeks. The combination is meant to give them a sweet expression. From there, the traits for a wide muzzle and a powerful jaw were bred into them.

The American Shorthair has many different colors, so they are a versatile cat with many looks. In 1966, the cats were finally given a name to differentiate them from the random-bred Domestic Shorthairs, and they became the American Shorthair.

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3. American Shorthairs are currently the eighth most popular cat registered by the Cat Fanciers Association.

American Shorthair’s overall prevalence started from a common cat. They were already widely popular and owned by many. Their differentiation from Domestic Shorthairs only gave these cats a higher value in most owner’s eyes.

Since they were named in 1966, the cats have only grown in popularity. They can be beautiful and useful, working to rid the property of mice and rats. All of this has made this cat the eighth most popular breed in America.

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Image Credit: PxHere

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Temperament & Intelligence of the American Shorthair

The American Shorthair is a highly adaptable cat that makes a great fit for a wide variety of living situations. They are friendly and tend to be quite affectionate, making them an excellent companion for singles or for people who like to have other visitors around their home.

The American Shorthair likes attention and wants to spend time each day cuddling and being friendly. They are quite content to spend hours snuggled up by your side. Sometimes, they can be nippy, but it is often only to get your attention.

Overall, these cats do a good job of keeping themselves entertained, but because they are so friendly, they often prefer to have another animal around to play with. They also like toys and are quite intelligent when it comes to learning new things. For a cat, they are relatively trainable, particularly with behavioral issues, like using a scratching post instead of your couch.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

These cats are great as family animals. They are relatively docile, need little extra exercise, and simply want someone around to cuddle them. Whenever they are picked up and held, though, they need additional support on their back. Be sure to teach your children how to handle them properly so they don’t develop spinal issues as they age.

One of the best attributes of these cats is their overall patience. This trait has not only made them great hunters, but they also behave well around children.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

The American Shorthair is not a territorial animal, particularly when they are socialized from a young age. Unless they have been alone for many years, they seem to prefer to have other animals around to play with and engage. This can even include dogs that don’t show any kind of aggression toward them.

American Shorthair
Image Credit: Heikki Siltala, litter-robot

yarn ball dividerThings to Know When Owning an American Shorthair

Food & Diet Requirements

American Shorthairs have typical needs for their feline diet. Get food that is complete and balanced, and their diet should help keep them healthy. These cats are bigger boned and more muscular than some other, daintier breeds, so their weight needs to be watched carefully.

Exercise 🐈

The American Shorthair doesn’t need much exercise except daily playtime. Use a toy that your cat is interested in to get them to move around. Get them to jump and run around as much as you can to keep them a bit more active than they might be on their own.

Training 🎾

An American Shorthair is an intelligent cat that can be willing to learn new things. While you probably won’t teach them how to roll over, they do respond well to behavioral training. When they are younger, teach them where to go to the bathroom and the appropriate places for scratching.

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Credit: theskaman306, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Grooming an American Shorthair is relatively easy because they are so sweet and will practically remind you to do it. It is best to use a brush or a comb and groom them weekly. They have a thick coat of hair, and brushing them will reduce the amount of fur that they shed around the home. It also helps spread the natural oils that their skin produces to grow a healthier coat.

Beyond regular grooming, clean their ears at least once a week with a soft cloth. Doing so should remove any dirt or a buildup of moisture and help prevent ear infections. Their nails may need trimming, depending on their lifestyle. Check them every two weeks to ensure that they are not causing the cat any pain.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Conditions that an American Shorthair might suffer from can be avoided if you check the parents’ vet papers before adopting your kitten. These cats can suffer from degenerative diseases that can lead to early fatalities.

For example, if the parents haven’t been tested for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, you shouldn’t purchase the kitten. Breeders should breed only healthy cats that won’t lead to a struggling kitten.

Minor Conditions
  • Obesity
Serious Conditions
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

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Male vs. Female

Males are often quite a bit heavier than females in this breed. The American Shorthair male is normally between 11 and 15 pounds, whereas females often weigh closer to 7 to 12 pounds. Otherwise, there is not much difference between the sexes.

cat + line dividerFinal Thoughts

American Shorthairs are pleasant cats to invest in if you are looking for a feline that isn’t typically so finicky. They are lovable and adaptable, willing to live with dogs, cats, and humans of all kinds. They need your time commitment to give them love and attention but are otherwise a sweet and low-maintenance pet.

Whether you are looking as a single wanting companionship or are trying to find your first family pet, the American Shorthair will not disappoint.

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Featured Image Credit: Lalandrew, Shutterstock