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American Shorthair Cat

This American Shorthair Cat Article is Listed in American Shorthair Cat Breed Information

American Shorthair Cat

American Shorthair Cat | Breed Profile | Breed History

The American Shorthair is the most popular and most prevalent breed of American cat, American Shorthairs are medium to large sized cats, with powerful legs and strong paws. Their muzzle is squarish. Their coat is short, with the fur being thick, dense, and stiff to protect them from cold, moisture, and superficial skin injuries. Their coat thickens up in the winter and sheds in the spring but still remains lighter and slimmer than its close cousin, the British Shorthair. American Shorthairs are very affectionate, long-living, and disinclined to behavioral problems; they get along well with other family members, including dogs.

The American Shorthair is also an excellent hunter, but its sunny and gentle disposition make it ideal for families with small children. Shorthairs tend to get overweight very easily. An American Shorthair is not considered fully grown until 3-4 years old, when it attains the true strong athletic proportion of its breed. Males are usually larger than females and have definite jowls. It is perfectly happy as an indoor or outdoor cat.

  

American Shorthairs come in over a 100 different varieties of colors (blacks, whites, silvers, creams, reds, browns, greys, and tabby mixes), but their eyes, pad color, and nose will always match their coloring. Their tail tapers to a blunt tip and has no kinks. Grooming for an American Shorthair is extremely easy, all they require is regular brushing and a wipe over with a damp chamois will make the coat shine.

The American Shorthair is the 8th most popular breed of cat in the United States according the Cat Fancier’s Association for 2006-2007. The breed is believed to be descended from English cats (the forebears of today’s British Shorthairs) brought to North America by early European settlers to protect valuable cargo from mice and rats.

When settlers sailed from Europe to North America they carried cats on board ship to protect the stores from mice. Most of these cats “settled” in the New World, interbred, and developed special characteristics to help them cope with their new life and climate. Early this century a selective breeding program was established to develop the best qualities of these cats. A very athletic cat, the American Shorthair has a larger, leaner, and more powerfully built body than its relation, the British Shorthair.

American Shorthairs are a pedigreed cat with strict standards and a distinctive appearance as set by the various Cat Fanciers Associations worldwide. Originally known as the Domestic Shorthair, the breed was renamed in 1966 to the “American Shorthair” to better represent its “All American” character and to differentiate it other shorthaired breeds. The name “American Shorthair” also reinforces the notion that the American shorthair is unique and distinct from cats found in streets, neighborhoods and barnyards.

A non-pedigreed shorthaired cat (called a Domestic shorthair cat) might resemble an American Shorthair, just as another random-bred cat might look like a Siamese, Persian or Maine Coon. The difference, however, is that American shorthairs are a pedigreed cat and are recognized as such by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA).

According to the CFA, American Shorthairs are low-maintenance cats that are generally healthy, easy-going and affectionate. Males are significantly larger than females, weighing eleven to fifteen pounds when fully grown. Mature females weigh eight to twelve pounds when they achieve full growth at three to four years of age. American Shorthairs can live fifteen to twenty years, like most felines, and often only requiring only annual vaccinations, veterinary checkups, a quality diet and plenty of tender loving care.

The American Shorthair is recognized in more than eighty different colors and patterns ranging from the striking brown patched tabby to the glistening blue-eyed white, the beautiful shaded silvers, smokes and cameos to the flashy calico van, and many colors in between. The most well-known American Shorthair color today is the silver tabby, with dense black markings set on a sterling silver background. You probably have seen an example of this striking variety in television and magazine advertising or in recent movie roles.

In the American Shorthair and other breeds of cats, heart disease can be inherited. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy(HCM) has been confirmed as an autosomal dominant inherited trait. While there is no cure for HCM, early diagnosis and medication can help significantly prolong an affected cat’s life.