American Shorthair

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american shorthair portrait
Meet the American Shorthair, the quintessential family cat with a dash of Hollywood glamour. Hailed for their remarkable health, sociable nature, and a dazzling array of coat colors, these cats are the embodiment of feline charm and resilience. Let's unravel the allure of this all-American star!

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 Shorthair
ORIGINUnited States
HEIGHT8-14 inches
WEIGHT8-15 lbs
LIFESPAN15-20 years
american shorthair cat's face up close
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The American Shorthair cat is a picture of feline strength and beauty. With a robust and well-muscled body, this breed is known for its power and endurance. It has a broad chest and a muscular neck that supports a rounded head with a square-shaped muzzle. This breed typically weighs between 8 to 15 pounds, with males being slightly larger than females.

Their medium-sized ears are set wide apart and are rounded at the tips, enhancing their alert and curious expression. The eyes are large and round, coming in a variety of colors that often correspond to their coat color.

Speaking of coats, the American Shorthair boasts a thick, dense coat that comes in a staggering array of over 80 different colors and patterns. From solid to tabby, bicolor, and everything in between, there’s an American Shorthair to suit every aesthetic preference.

Finally, their tail is medium in length, not too long or short, and tapers from a wide base to a rounded tip. It’s a perfect balance of proportion that adds to the overall allure of this charming and hardy breed.


The American Shorthair cat breed is known for its well-rounded personality. These cats are easy-going and placid, making them wonderful companions in a variety of households. They can attach themselves to all members of the family and display a loving and affectionate nature.

While they enjoy attention from their people, including children, they are not overly needy for attention. This makes them moderately independent, capable of entertaining themselves when left alone. They are also known to be quite adaptable, adjusting easily to different environments and situations.

American Shorthairs are moderately active and enjoy a good playtime as much as the next cat. They are intelligent and curious, often showing an interest in their surroundings or in a new toy. However, they are not overly demanding of constant stimulation or new challenges.

These cats are also known for their calm and even temperament. They are neither too aloof nor too clingy, maintaining a nice balance of independence and affection. They can be chatty at times, but not excessively so, often preferring to chirp or make sweet squeak sounds rather than constantly meowing.

In essence, the American Shorthair cat breed offers a perfect blend of affection, playfulness, and tranquility. Their well-balanced character makes them an ideal choice for anyone, whether you’re a first-time cat owner or a seasoned cat lover looking for a new feline friend.

american shorthair cat lying on a table
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The American Shorthair has a thick, dense coat that sheds moderately throughout the year, with peaks during spring and fall.

A routine of weekly brushing is recommended to keep their coat in optimal condition. This not only removes dead hair but also distributes skin oils to keep their coat shiny and prevent dry, flaky skin.

Their short coat is easy to groom and doesn’t require any special tools beyond a good quality comb or brush. Regular teeth brushing and nail trimming are also part of the grooming routine for this breed.

Exercise and Play

While American Shorthairs are not as active as some other breeds, they still benefit from regular play and exercise to maintain their health and happiness.

They enjoy interactive toys, chasing laser pointers, and even fetching small items. Providing a cat tree or scratching post can also offer mental stimulation and physical exercise.

Despite their playful nature, they also appreciate quiet time and are known for their love of lounging in sunny spots around the house.

Diet and Nutrition

Diet plays a crucial role in the health of an American Shorthair. This breed tends to be robust and muscular, so their nutrition must be carefully controlled to prevent obesity.

A high-quality cat food that is certified to be complete and balanced by AAFCO is recommended. A combination of wet and dry food can provide variety in their diet while ensuring they receive all necessary nutrients. Plenty of fresh water should always be available, especially during hot summer months.

Remember, each cat is unique and may have specific dietary needs, so it’s always best to consult with a vet for personalized feeding guidelines. With proper care and attention, your American Shorthair can thrive and bring joy to your home for many years.


The American Shorthair cat breed is known for its robust health and longevity. With an average life expectancy ranging from 15 to 20 years, these cats are generally healthy but can be prone to certain health issues.

Heart Disease: Some American Shorthairs can develop inherited diseases such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that affects the heart muscle.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD): This includes conditions that can affect the cat’s bladder and urethra.

Renal Failure: Also known as kidney failure, this can occur in older cats and may require dietary changes and medical treatment.

Obesity: Like many cat breeds, American Shorthairs are susceptible to obesity, which can lead to other health problems like diabetes and joint issues.

Dental Disease: Without regular dental care, they can develop gum disease and other oral health problems.

Maintaining your American Shorthair’s health involves more than just addressing these potential issues. A balanced diet is crucial to keep them in optimal health.

Obesity is a common issue, so monitoring their food intake and ensuring they get plenty of exercise is important. Feed them high-quality cat food, and avoid overfeeding or giving too many treats.

Regular veterinary check-ups are vital to catch any potential health issues early. Your vet will guide you on necessary vaccinations to protect your cat from various diseases. Dental check-ups are also a part of regular vet visits as dental disease is common in cats.

With proper care, regular vet checks, and a healthy lifestyle, your American Shorthair can live a long, happy life. Remember, each cat is unique, and it’s always best to consult with a vet for personalized healthcare advice.

american shorthair cat sitting in an alley
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The American Shorthair cat breed boasts a rich history that dates back centuries. The breed is believed to have descended from European cats that were brought to North America by early settlers to protect valuable cargo from mice and rats. These working cats proved their worth on the ships, and once they landed on American soil, they continued their duties, protecting homes and barns from rodents.

Over time, these hardy and attractive cats began to be selectively bred for their robust health, strong hunting abilities, and good looks. By 1895, cats resembling the modern American Shorthair were being exhibited at the first cat shows in the United States.

The breed was initially known as the Domestic Shorthair. However, in 1966, it was given the name American Shorthair to reflect its “All American” character and distinct pedigree, differentiating it from other non-pedigree shorthaired cats.

The American Shorthair was one of the first five breeds recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), and it was officially registered in 1906. The International Cat Association (TICA) also recognizes the breed, further cementing the American Shorthair’s status as a beloved and valued member of the feline world.

Today, the American Shorthair is appreciated not just for its historical significance, but also for its affable nature, striking good looks, and overall charm. It’s indeed a breed that carries a piece of American history in its genes.

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.

american shorthair cat with its kitten on the floor
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What’s the difference between an American Shorthair and a Domestic Shorthair?

An American Shorthair is a recognized breed with specific breed standards set by various cat registries. Domestic Shorthair, on the other hand, is a term used to describe cats of mixed ancestry with short coats. They may share similar appearances, but only the American Shorthair has a pedigree and a consistent set of characteristics passed down through generations.

What are some health issues common to American Shorthair cats?

American Shorthairs are generally healthy, but they can be susceptible to certain conditions such as heart disease, feline lower urinary tract disease, renal failure, obesity, and dental disease.

What is the average lifespan of an American Shorthair cat?

The average lifespan of an American Shorthair cat ranges from 15 to 20 years, although some can live even longer with proper care and regular veterinary check-ups.

What was the original purpose of the American Shorthair cat breed?

The American Shorthair breed descends from European cats brought to North America by early settlers to protect valuable cargo from rodents. They continued their role as mousers in homes and farms, thus their initial purpose was pest control.

Are American Shorthair cats good pets?

Absolutely! American Shorthairs are known for their easy-going, friendly nature. They are adaptable, intelligent, and can fit well into families with children and other pets. Their moderate activity level and independent streak make them low-maintenance companions.

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