The American Shorthair Cat

Are you looking for a cat that will be a mild friend, a buddy for your children, and a full-fledged family member? Look no further; the American Shorthair is what you're looking for! This breed is known for its robust health, pleasant character, good looks, and amiability with children and other pets.
The American Shorthair Cat

Are you looking for a cat that will be a mild friend, a buddy for your children, and a full-fledged family member? Look no further; the American Shorthair is what you're looking for! This breed is known for its robust health, pleasant character, good looks, and amiability with children and other pets.

The American Shorthair is a true working cat breed. It is a strongly built, symmetrical, well-balanced cat that suggests power, endurance, and agility.


silver tabby cat with blue collar against a wall

As a working feline, American Shorthairs have stocky muscles. They have a big head and full face, medium-sized ears, and huge, wide eyes. Their muscled legs offer themselves to dexterity and endurance.

These all-American felines are medium in build, size, and temperament; they are neither too big nor too small, not excessively cuddly nor distant, neither lazy-bones nor hyper. The American Shorthair is the ideal type for those who do not want an in-your-face cat. 

American Shorthairs are also known for their adaptable personalities and peaceful voices. They are relatively easy to train, are sociable, and adapt well to other animals and kids. Apparently, they do not like to be picked up. They value their independence, just like their Explorer ancestors who left England to find freedom. 

Because of their history as working cats, they have terrific overall health, strength, and vitality. American Shorthairs enjoy a good playtime with their favorite people but can also entertain themselves with a ball of paper. They tend to remain energetic and lively right into old age. Also, because of their barn cat background, Shorthairs have solid hunting skills and like capturing feather mice and real ones. Your interior ASH will certainly place presents on your pillow and happily wait on the well-deserved rubs and cuddles.


silver tabby kitten rolling on a white carpet

No one knows exactly when the first domestic cats set paws in America. However, we know that cats got here with the European settlers, considering America has no indigenous cat species from which domestic cats can have evolved. Given that cats were frequently kept aboard ships to protect the grain and other foods items from rodents, it's not surprising that domestic felines initially appeared in The United States and Canada when the Europeans arrived. 

Domestic felines might have been catting around the New World around the 1500s. We know that domestic cats were present in Jamestown, the first permanent British colony in the New World because a record dating from 1609 mentions the colony's cats. On July 4, 1776, when the participants of the Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia to adopt the Declaration of Independence, the American Shorthair's forefathers were around to witness the historic occasion. We are sure they approved.

Cats were working members of American culture, performing that olden service as the best mouser. Function was more important than form, and people paid little attention to the color and pattern of their mousers. With natural selection—given that life in those days was difficult on cats and humans alike—these feline immigrants developed effective muscle mass, solid jaws, and hardy, healthy constitutions. In time, life became simpler, and cats became more than plain mouse-catchers as humans became passionate about the feline kind. 

American Shorthairs were welcomed in the just-formed American Cat Fancy in the late 1800s. At that time, the breed was just called Shorthair and renamed Domestic Shorthair. The first-ever American Shorthair to be registered in this nation was an orange tabby named Belle, who was imported from England in the early 1900s. In 1904, the first American-born American Shorthair named Buster Brown was registered under the breed name of Shorthair.

With the import of international breeds, the familiarity of the ASH no longer worked in its favor. By the early 1900s, fanciers became more interested in the imported types like the Persian and Angora than in the familiar American Shorthair. The imports crossed with the ASH, and the pure bloodlines became diluted.

In the late 1950s, several ASH breeders wishing to "improve" the breed and present new colors started crossbreeding Persians into their American Shorthair lines. Because of this, the American Shorthair body type and head shape started to transform, resulting in a more Persian-looking style. The face expanded and flattened, the eyes became rounder, the ears shorter.

As late as the 1960s, ASHs were still like "strays" of the feline fancy. Nevertheless, many American Shorthair breeders who had promoted the natural appearance of the ASH for years were dismayed at the modifications. The American Shorthair criterion was consequently changed to disqualify any kind of cat that shows proof of hybridization. In September 1965, breeders elected to change the breed's name to "American Shorthair."

With the renaming also came to a new image, and the breed got a little of the esteem it should have. In the same year, CFA named a silver tabby (Shawnee Hallmark) the Best Cat, and the breed finally started to get some hard-earned regard in the cat fancy. Today, the American Shorthair remains popular among shorthairs, a suitable standing for America's hometown Breed.

Physical Qualities

a ginger tabby cat looking far away and looking serious


Solid and powerful, it is a muscular cat with solid shoulders, chest, and hindquarters. The back is broad, straight, and level.


Large, with a full-cheeked face, gives the impression of an oval just slightly longer than wide. Wonderful, open expression. The forehead forms a smooth, moderately convex continuous curve streaming over the top of the head into the neck. No dome in between ears. The nose is medium length, with a proportional width for its length. Gently rounded rise from the bridge of the nose to the temple.


Short, thick, also, and has a hard texture. The coat is thick enough to protect from moisture, cold, and superficial skin injuries. Regional and seasonal variation in coat thickness is permitted.


American Shorthairs are a varied breed with a selection of colors and patterns. To name a few, there are solid, shaded, smoke, particolor, bicolor, tortoiseshell, cameo, van, tabby (classic, mackerel, and patched), tabby, and white. Silver tabby is among the most common and popular, nonetheless.


Your American Shorthair will shed, but combing twice per week removes dead hair and activates skin oils to keep their coat glossy and protect against dry, itchy skin.


The American Shorthair is a hearty and healthy breed. They are genetically predisposed to mouth and periodontal disease, and their laid-back nature increases the possibility of weight problems. Their flat face additionally makes the breed prone to eye and respiratory problems. Some instances of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy have been recorded, but it's unknown if the problem is genetic.

Other Facts About The American Shorthair

a silver tabby cat looking bored

  • The breed was named "American Shorthair" in 1966 to differentiate it from other domestic shorthairs.
  • An American Shorthair was named CFA's "Feline of the Year" in 1965, 1984, and 1996.

Keeping your cat indoors, neutering or spaying, and giving scratching surfaces for their natural habits (CFA discourages declawing or tendonectomy surgical procedure) are essential for a healthy, long, and joyful life. American Shorthairs usually continue to grow until 3 or 4 years of age and typically need only yearly injections and vet appointments. With a high-quality diet and lots of tender loving care, they can live 15 years or longer. 

With its personality, looks, and history, it's not surprising that the American Shorthair is among the most popular cat breeds of today! 

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