The Friendly American Shorthair Cat

The American Shorthair cat breed is a domestic cat that is believed to be a descendant of European cats that were brought to North America by early settlers to protect cargo from mice and rats. It is one of the most popular pedigreed cats in the United States, and it is the pedigreed version of the popular and beloved domestic shorthair. Let us know more about the interesting history and characteristics of the American Shorthair cat breed.


When settlers from Europe sailed to North America, they brought with them cats to protect the stores from mice. These are the cats that came over on the Mayflower with the Pilgrims to hunt rats on the ship and in the colony. Majority of these cats landed in the New World. They were interbred to develop special characteristics for them to adapt to their new life and climate. In the early 20th century, a selective breeding program was established to improve the best qualities of these cats.

By 1985, shorthairs became known and they were exhibited at the first cat show in the United States. The cat fanciers of the breed and the North American cat fancier associations such as The International Cat Association and the Cat Fanciers’ Association set the standard for the American Shorthair as a pedigreed cat breed. It was in 1906 when the Cat Fanciers Association recognized them as a breed, and it is accepted by all North American cat registries.

The American Shorthair was originally known as the Domestic Shorthair but it was renamed in 1966 to the “American Shorthair” to represent its all-American origins and as well as to differentiate it from other shorthaired breeds. Aside from that, the name American Shorthair also reinforces the fact that it is a pedigreed breed distinct from the random-bred non-pedigreed domestic short-haired cats in North America. But both of them were derived from working cats because they were used to control rodent populations on ships and farms.

Characteristics of an American Shorthair Cat

Average weight: 7 – 12 pounds

Life Span: 15 – 20 years

Hypoallergenic: No

The American Shorthair has a large, powerfully-built body but it is not an extremely athletic cat. But its body gives it the agility and endurance it needs as a first-rate stalker, and its heavily muscled legs enables it to pounce. It has a large round and full-cheeked face and short ears, giving it a sweet, open expression.

It has a short, thick coat that is recognized in more than 80 different colors as well as patterns that range from brown-patched tabby to blue-eyed white. The colors in between can be shaded silvers, smokes, and more. There are also some that come in deep tones of black and brown and other blends and combination. But those that are in colors chocolate, sable, lavender and lilac show evidence of crossbreeding and they are disqualified from being shown.

American Shorthairs are adaptable and good-natured. Even though they still have their hunting abilities, they are more likely to be family companions in the present time. They are moderately active cats and they also enjoy a good playtime. But they are not that demanding of activity or attention and are content to spend time with their human and they love to be held as well.

They will definitely love games that involves hunting, and other puzzles as well because they are smart, trainable, and willing to learn things. The American Shorthair cat is also a great choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs because of its friendly personality. However, since it is a skilled hunter, it might not be a great idea to leave them alone with pets like birds and other small pets.

American Shorthair

Caring for an American Shorthair Cat

It’s easy to care for an American Shorthair’s coat. You simply need to comb and brush it a couple of times in a week to distribute skin oils and to remove dead hair as well. Its coat’s thickness and the amount it will shed will depend on the climate and time of year.

Make sure to brush their teeth every day to prevent periodontal disease. To clean their eyes from tears and any discharge, wipe the corners using a soft, damp cloth. You should also check the ears weekly for dirt. You can wipe them using a cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of warm water and cider vinegar. Do not use cotton swabs because that can cause damage to the interior of the ears.

The litter box should always be clean because cats are very particular about bathroom hygiene. If they find that their litter box is dirty, they might start using other places in your home instead.

American Shorthairs love to eat, meaning, they can easily become overweight. Therefore, you should measure their food properly instead of free-feeding them to prevent them from becoming obese. You can visit a vet to know how much food is ideal for your pet.

American Shorthairs are indoor-only type of cats because letting them go outside will make them prone to diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs and other animals, and as well as the danger of being hit by a car. Keeping them indoors will also keep the local birds and other wildlife outdoors safe from this talented hunter.

The American Shorthair is a cat that singles as well as seniors will definitely love. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance, easy-going, and affectionate pet that can accompany you at home, then an American Shorthair might be the perfect cat breed for you.