American Bobtail

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american bobtail portrait
Step into the world of the American Bobtail - a breed that's all about charm, mystery, and playfulness! With their unique stubby tails and affable personalities, these cats have a knack for stealing hearts.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, care, health concerns, history, and more!


OFFICIAL NAMEAmerican Bobtail
ORIGINUnited States
HEIGHT9-10 inches
WEIGHT7-18 lbs
LIFESPAN13-18 years
COAT LENGTHShort and Long
american bobtail standing
Photo: Jane-Khomi/Getty Images


The American Bobtail is a cat breed that’s brimming with character and charm. These felines are medium to large in size, standing tall at about 9 to 10 inches and weighing between 7 to 18 pounds. But don’t be fooled by their size – they are agile and athletic, thanks to their muscular physique.

Now, let’s talk about the star of the show – the bobtail! This tail, unique to each cat, is a showstopper and can be as short as an inch or a few inches long. Whether it’s straight, slightly curved, or charmingly kinked, it adds a playful twist to their appearance.

Moving on to their body, you’ll notice that their hind legs are subtly longer than their forelegs. This gives them a crouching stance that, combined with their robust build, screams wilderness!

Their heads are a thing of beauty too. Wedge-shaped with cheekbones that stand out and a brow that commands attention, it’s hard not to get lost in their gaze. Speaking of gaze, their almond-shaped eyes come in a variety of mesmerizing colors, adding to their expressive personality.

And then there’s the coat – oh, the glorious coat! It can be short or long, smooth or shaggy, and comes in a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns. It’s like they’re wearing a custom-made suit – always ready for a fancy feline party!

Overall, the American Bobtail is a stunning blend of strength, elegance, and playfulness. Their unique physical features paired with their friendly demeanor make them an irresistible pet. Each one is a masterpiece – a testament to the fascinating world of feline breeds.


The American Bobtail is renowned for its delightful and engaging personality that’s often compared to a dog’s. These cats are known for their sweet, affectionate, and docile nature.

They love to be the center of attention, making excellent companions and lap cats. They enjoy spending time with their human families and will often follow them around the house, contributing to their reputation as “shadow cats.”

But don’t let their calm demeanor fool you. American Bobtails are also playful and intelligent. They adore interactive games and mental stimulation, so don’t be surprised if they show a keen interest in puzzle toys or even fetch!

One of their most endearing traits is their sociability. Not only do they get along well with their human families, but they’re also known to be friendly with strangers. This openness makes them excellent therapy cats, often providing comfort and companionship to those in need.

American Bobtails typically get along great with kids and other pets, including dogs. They form strong bonds with their human families and are known for their loyalty. Interestingly, American Bobtails also exhibit some dog-like behaviors such as greeting their owners at the door and showing an affinity for leash training and walks.

In essence, the American Bobtail is a companionable and charming breed, filled with love and enthusiasm. Their friendly, playful nature combined with their intelligence and affectionate demeanor makes them a wonderful addition to any home.

american bobtail cat playing with a ball
Photo: Jane-Khomi/Getty Images



The American Bobtail is a moderate shedding breed and their coat care depends on its length.

For short-haired Bobtails, a weekly brush should suffice to keep their coat shiny and healthy. However, if your Bobtail has a longer coat, brushing it a couple of times a week will help remove loose hair and prevent matting.

During the spring and fall months, when they tend to shed more, you may need to brush them more frequently. Regular grooming sessions also provide a great opportunity for bonding with your feline friend.

Exercise and Play

American Bobtails are playful and intelligent cats that thrive on interactive games and mental stimulation. They love to play fetch, chase toys, and solve puzzle games.

Providing them with plenty of toys and engaging playtime will help keep them mentally sharp and physically fit. They also enjoy exploring the outdoors, so leash training could be a fun activity for both you and your Bobtail. However, always ensure their safety when venturing outside.

Diet and Nutrition

When it comes to feeding your American Bobtail, a balanced diet is key. High-quality cat food that’s rich in protein is ideal, and the amount should be proportionate to their size, age, and activity level. It’s essential to avoid overfeeding as obesity can lead to health problems. Fresh water should always be available.

For specific dietary needs or concerns, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian.

In conclusion, caring for an American Bobtail involves regular grooming, providing ample opportunities for exercise and play, and ensuring a balanced diet. With proper care and lots of love, your American Bobtail will thrive and bring joy to your home.


The American Bobtail is generally a robust and healthy breed with a life expectancy of 13 to 18 years. However, like any other breed, they can be susceptible to certain health conditions. Here are some common health issues associated with the breed:

Hip Dysplasia: This is a heritable condition where the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. It can cause discomfort and mobility issues in severe cases.

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD): This inherited disease can lead to the growth of cysts on the kidneys, potentially causing kidney dysfunction or failure over time.

Diabetes: American Bobtails can be prone to diabetes, which requires ongoing management and monitoring.

Hyperthyroidism: This condition affects the thyroid gland, causing it to produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. It’s more common in older cats and requires treatment.

Ear Infections: Regular ear checks are important as American Bobtails can be susceptible to infections.

To ensure your American Bobtail stays healthy, maintain a balanced diet rich in high-quality protein. Avoid overfeeding to prevent obesity which can lead to other health complications. Regular exercise and mental stimulation also contribute to their overall well-being.

Routine vet checks are crucial to detect any potential health issues early. Your vet can provide preventative care, including vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, dental check-ups, and more. Regular health screenings can also help identify any underlying genetic conditions.

three american bobtails at home
Photo: Jane-Khomi/Getty Images


The American Bobtail’s history is as intriguing as its appearance. This breed came into existence in the late 1960s, making it a relatively new addition to the feline world. The breed was developed in the United States and its unique ‘bobbed’ tail quickly caught the attention of cat enthusiasts.

The American Bobtail’s development involved a Siamese cat and a short-tailed tabby. The result was a breed with a distinctive tail, robust body, and a remarkable personality. Over time, careful breeding helped establish the American Bobtail’s distinct characteristics and increased its popularity.

The American Bobtail’s recognition as an official breed took some time. It wasn’t until 2000 that the Cat Fanciers’ Association recognized the American Bobtail as a breed. As for the International Cat Association (TICA), the breed was first registered by them in 1989, reinforcing the American Bobtail’s place in the annals of feline history.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines that describes the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential. Breed standards are devised by breed clubs and recognized by various cat registries worldwide.

These standards provide detailed descriptions of the breed’s physical characteristics such as body shape, size, coat type and color, eye color and shape, ear placement, and tail length.


Are American Bobtails good pets?

Yes, American Bobtails make excellent pets. They are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. These cats are social, easygoing, and get along well with children and other pets. Their adaptable and engaging personality makes them a great fit for most families.

Are American Bobtails big cats?

American Bobtails are generally medium to large-sized cats. They have a muscular and athletic build which gives them a somewhat rugged appearance. Despite their size, they are agile and active.

Are American Bobtails smart?

Absolutely! American Bobtails are highly intelligent. These cats are known to be problem solvers and often show curiosity and cleverness in their daily interactions. They enjoy interactive games and mental stimulation.

Are American Bobtails related to bobcats?

Despite the popular myth, American Bobtails are not descended from wild bobcats. Their distinctive ‘bobbed’ tail is the result of a natural genetic mutation within the domestic cat population. Their lineage is fully domestic, even though their tail and muscular build might give them a ‘wild’ look.

What’s the life expectancy of an American Bobtail?

The American Bobtail is a robust breed with a life expectancy of 13 to 18 years. With proper care, a balanced diet, and regular veterinary checks, these cats can lead a healthy and happy life.

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