American Shorthair Cat: Breed Information, Characteristics, and Facts

American Shorthair Cat: Breed Information, Characteristics, and Facts

Maybe you’re reading this article because you’re looking for a well-rounded feline. A cat that is menacing, adorable, friendly, and has a fast eye for prey. Look no further as we introduce you to one of the most versatile pets in the world. The American Shorthair cat is affectionate, adaptable to new environments, and will protect your home from rats and mice occupation. This breed of cat are also laid back and are easy to maintain. Their beautiful and colorful coat makes them stand out from their peers. Curious to know more? Read along to learn more about this intriguing breed of cat.

American shorthair cat lying on the floor

History of the American Shorthair Cat

Europeans who moved to North America in 1620 brought with them the forebears of the American Shorthair. These seafaring felines were known for their hunting as well as their abilities to catch rodents, especially mice. These qualities were useful to the European settlers on their rats-laden vessels and, as such, made them valued and esteem members of the crew. Many scholars believe that these felines sneaked on board the Mayflower into the New World much earlier. They were on ships that transported the migrants to Virginia, the Spanish discoverers to Florida, and the Vikings to the then Newfoundland. Once they arrived in America, they started to breed, and over the period developed characteristics that differentiated the felines as original American cats. The title ‘’American Shorthair’’ was used in 1966 as a way of distinguishing these cats from other domestic shorthair felines. The American Shorthairs are ranked sixth on the list of the most well-known feline breed.

Quick Facts About the American Shorthair Cat

Now that we know the origin of this famous breed of feline let’s get to know some quick facts about this outstanding pet.

  • Personality: They’re smart, calm, and easy-going. The cats are not vocal or too loud. These attributes make them a perfect fit for homes or families with other pets and a great companion for people who stay alone.
  • Varieties: We have eighty different known types. The very popular ones are tabby, tortoiseshell, calico, and solid.
  • Weight: The weight of the American Shorthair varies. However, the male cat can weigh from eleven to fifteen pounds while the female weighs between six to twelve pounds.
  • Life expectancy: The life span of the American shorthair calico is between fifteen to twenty years.
  • Coat color: The American shorthair tabby has a thick and short coat. Also, these cats have different patterns and have more than sixty colors, including cream, silver, brown, black, cameo, golden, and white.
  • Appearance: The black American shorthair has a muscular body, full cheeks, big head, and thick leg. Again, they have powerfully built jaws, which scares away most rodents.
  • Birth: On average, they give birth to five to six kittens. After delivery, the American shorthair kitten should be correctly fed with meals that contain the right nutrients to enable them to develop and stay healthy.

American shorthair kitten

Things You Should Know


They’re generally energetic and healthy, but they are vulnerable to certain diseases just like any other hearty breed. Some American Shorthair felines have, over the years, developed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is the unusual thickening of the walls of the cat’s heart. If this condition is left untreated, it can lead to limb paralysis and heart failure. Aside from this, the flat face of this breed makes them defenseless against respiratory and ocular issues. Genetically, they’re prone to gum and mouth disease. Some are vulnerable to viral or bacterial infestations such as calicivirus, rabies, panleukopenia, and rhinotracheitis. This is avoidable through vaccination.


Cats can be picky eaters; as such, it is crucial to carefully choose the right food that will suit their taste as well as meet their nutritional requirements. The America Shorthair calico is a carnivore; thus, they need a meal that is rich in protein to help build their lean muscles. Therefore, the diet for America Shorthair felines should contain at least seventy percent high-quality protein, and it should be from natural sources. Also, avoid feeding this breed with too many carbohydrates. American Shorthair cats are laid back; as such, they hardly move around, and this increases the risk of them becoming obese. So, cut down on carbs. Apart from this, pick products from the shelves that have plenty of moisture.

American shorthair cat lying and looking


They have a dense coat that requires frequent brushing to get rid of dead hair. Regular combing also helps to dispense skin oils, which is vital in keeping their pattern shiny as well as prevent itchy, dry skin. The nails of these felines should be trimmed twice in a month. Use a clean cloth to wipe, especially the corners of their eyes, to do away with any dry or wet discharge. The ears should be rubbed weekly with a soft towel moistened and mixed with water and cider vinegar. Also, ensure that the litter box is in good condition and always clean. Lastly, wash the water and food bowls every day. Give your feline fresh and clean water to keep them hydrated throughout the day.


American Shorthair cats love to be treated like royals. They normally groom themselves very well as such no need to bath them often. However, when you bath them, use a feline-grade shampoo. This is necessary because human-grade shampoo has chemicals that cause damage to feline’s hair coat and skin. Cats have a much lower pH level, unlike humans. Their teeth should be brushed gently and daily to avert periodontal disease. Avoid using human-grade toothbrushes or toothpaste since cleaning your cat’s teeth with these will harm them. Furthermore, it is advisable to keep your American Shorthair tabby indoors. In case, you do want to go out with your feline, use a light sunblock to cover up the bald spot on his hair coat to prevent him from getting sunburned.

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They’re affectionate, friendly, and quickly bond with their human family. The American shorthair cats are not attention seekers. Also, they rarely feel bored as they can cope with being alone and love entertaining themselves. These breed of cats are trainable, fast learners, and ready to adapt to new environments. They are sociable and love to play with other pets. Moreover, they’re very curious, and because of their origin as hunters, they love to explore new surroundings until they are sure that there are safe or they are no rodents around.

Take a look at our First Time Cat Owner Checklist.

American shorthair cat lying

To Summarize

In conclusion, the American Shorthair cat has a vibrant history. It had to stow away on the explorer’s ship. When onboard, they had to fight off mice to survive and catch rats to gain the respect of the Europeans. Once in America, they had to fit in, protect the homes of the settlers from rodent invasion, and develop new traits to distinguish them from other domestic felines. Every step of the way, they have shown to be determined, thoughtful, resilient, and loyal. Attributes which makes them ideal for any household.


  1. American Shorthair, PetMD
  2. American Shorthair, Vetstreet
  3. American Shorthair, VCA Hospitals

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