Harper Jefcoat
Harper Jefcoat

American Shorthair Cat Breed - History, Personality & Care

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10 min read

american shorthair

On This Page

  • American Shorthair History
  • American Shorthair vs. British Shorthair
  • American Shorthair Physical Attributes
  • American Shorthair Personality and Temperament
  • American Shorthair Care and Grooming
  • American Shorthair Health Problems
  • American Shorthair Price
  • American Shorthair Interesting Facts
  • Make American Shorthair Your Emotional Support Animal

If you look for a pet that will be a playmate for your children, and a gentle companion, look no further. Among all cat breeds, American Shorthair is known for its attractive looks, sweet personality, and maintained health. Moreover, this cat is also very amiable with dogs, other pets, and children.

It is a true breed of a working cat where the general appearance indicates a strongly built and well-balanced structure. Refer to this comprehensive guide to know more about the American Shorthair cat breed and its characteristics.

American Shorthair History

The arrival of domestic cats in America is still unclear, but it is evident that they arrived with the European settlers. It is because the United States of America has no species from which domestic cats could have developed. These cats were kept mostly aboard ships to protect the food products from rodents.

Such domestic cats have been found in the world since the 1500s. They were mainly present in Jamestown, the first permanent British colony in the New World.

In 1776, the members of the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to adopt the Declaration of Independence. The ancestors of the American Shorthair were there to witness the historic event. They put their paw print alongside Thomas Jefferson’s signature and happily approved the document.

The cats declared their independence thousands of years ago and became working members of North America’s society. They also perform the age-old service as the perfect mouser cat.

The feline immigrants developed powerful muscles and strong jaws with time. Similarly, they became more than mouse catchers as people started to take an interest in the beauty of this cat.

Firstly, the American Shorthairs were welcomed in the American cat fancy in the late 1800s. At that time, the cat breed was known as Shorthair, but later it was renamed Domestic Shorthair. The first American Shorthair that was registered in this country was an orange tabby male. It was named Belle and was imported from England in the early 1900s.

In the early 1900s, the fanciers got more interested in the imported breeds such as the Persian and Angora. Many foreign breeds were crossed with the black American Shorthair at that time that diluted the bloodlines of the American native.

A group of fanciers began a selective breeding program to preserve the beauty and temperament of the ASH. However, the breed was not accepted completely and was treated as strays even after 20 years till the late 1960s.

Many breeders were also confused between their American Shorthairs and domestic cats. It is because the features and traits of a domestic non-pedigree cat somehow resemble a pedigree American shorthair.

Following this, the breeders began to crossbreed Persians and the American Shorthair to improve the breed and colors. As a result, the body and head type of the ASH was changed and became more Persian in style. Moreover, the face also broadened, the ears became shorter, and the eyes became rounder.

This had disappointed many breeders who were struggling to promote the beauty standards of this cat breed. In return, they made amendments to the declaration that disqualifies any cat that shows evidence of hybridization.

In 1965, breeders voted to change the name of the breed to American Shorthair. With this, they finally received some of the esteem they deserved. Following this, CFA named a silver tabby male the Best Cat and it also received respect in the cat fancy.

Today, the white American Shorthair is the most popular shorthair that became a fitting status for America's hometown breed.

American Shorthair vs. British Shorthair

American Shorthair and British Shorthair often get confused with each other. However, they are similar breeds, both in character and looks. The following are the distinguishing characteristics of both cats.

American Shorthair Physical Attributes

Here are some distinctive physical attributes of the American Shorthair.

  • Body

    The body of the cat is solidly built, powerful, and muscular. It has well-developed shoulders, hindquarters, and chest. However, the back is broad and straight.

  • Head

    The head is large with a full-cheeked but long face, whereas the expressions are sweet and open. Moreover, the forehead forms a smooth curve that flows over the top of the head into the neck. There is no dome between the ears, and the nose is of medium length and width. It is also gently curved from the bridge of the nose to the forehead.

  • Ears

    The ears are of medium size, rounded at tips but open at the base. The distance between the ears is measured from the lower inner corners of the eyes.

  • Eyes

    The eyes are large, wide, clear, and alert with an almond-shaped upper lid and a rounded, lower lid. Furthermore, the outer corners are set slightly higher than the inner corners.

  • Legs & Paws

    The legs are medium in length and are heavily muscled. All four legs are straight and parallel if viewed from the rear. Nevertheless, the paws are firm and rounded with heavy pads. The toes are five in front but four from behind.

  • Tail

    The tail is of medium length, heavy base, and tapering to blunt end in appearance.

  • Coat

    The coat is short, thick, even, and hard in texture. However, the regional and seasonal variations in coats can increase their thickness. It is dense enough to protect from the coat, moisture, and skin injuries.

  • Colors & Patterns

    The patterns are solid and shaded, but they are smoke, bicolor, tabby, and white in color.

American Shorthair Personality and Temperament

The friendly and affectionate American Shorthair is adaptable to his owner’s needs. It makes him the best companion for everyone, either single to seniors. They love to spend time with their owners and love being held by them. However, ensure to support his back to make him feel comfortable.

These cats are good at entertaining themselves, but they also like interactive play with their owners. It includes hunting or playing with puzzle toys. Moreover, they are smart, easy to train, and willing to learn new habits. Their hunting instincts may take over other pet birds and small animals.

As being a social cat, American Shorthair enjoys the company of children and other animals. But they are not that talkative and are patient creatures.

American Shorthair Care and Grooming

The American Shorthair kitten is an easy cat to care for. Here are some tips for grooming your breed.

  • Brushing

    Just because this cat has a short, dense coat, it does not mean that it doesn’t need care and grooming. When the cat is shedding its winter coat, weekly brushing is necessary to eliminate dead hair and dirt. It also helps to distribute the natural skin oil evenly.

  • Bathing

    It is not necessary to take baths very often. Consider bathing your cat when the coat is dirty. You can also schedule the session according to the weather conditions.

    Keep in mind to use safe shampoos, and make sure soapy water doesn’t get in contact with the nose, eyes, or ears.

  • Teeth & Gums

    They generally have good teeth, and gums, but you can keep them healthy by brushing them twice a week. It should be done to avoid periodontal disease.

  • Eyes, Ears & Skin

    Clean around the eyes whenever it is necessary. Also, check the cat’s ears for debris, wax, or any signs of infections weekly. Clean them with a damp cloth. Look for any skin infections, inflammations, and rashes.

    As this cat breed is usually clean, they prefer to have a clean litter box. Therefore, provide at least one box for each cat and throw the waste daily. Other grooming practices like trimming the nails should also be followed.

Ideal Environment

It is favorable to keep your American Shorthairs indoors to protect them from diseases spread by other cats. Moreover, keeping them indoors also protects the small birds and wildlife from this talented hunter. They may also run the risk of being stolen by someone if they go outdoors.

Diet and Nutrition

American Shorthairs are powerful cats that require strict nutritional diets. It is to make sure that they do not get overweight. It is a common trait that this breed is prone to.

Furthermore, their long lifespans are highly dependent on quality diet. It provides them with enough fuel for their muscular structure without leading to excessive weight gain. Most people feed their cats with a commercial diet. However, there are some things that you should look for in a good American Shorthair’s cat food.

  • Meat
  • Low carbs
  • Avoid artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives

It is also important for the cat to drink an adequate amount of water. If she doesn't drink water from the bowl, add ice cubes or a flowing fountain to attract her.

If you are concerned about feeding your cat properly, consult a vet about proper feeding guidelines.

Exercise Needs

American Shorthairs require daily play sessions to stimulate her natural desire for hunting and exploring. This breed usually enjoys socializing with humans, but they have enough of an independent streak to entertain themselves.

The interactive toys help to ensure that American shorthairs get enough exercise. It goes along with one-on-one playtime.

It means you don't have to worry about separation anxiety as these cats can also spend time just sleeping in the sun. Just keep her body and mind active, or the breed may develop some behavior issues.

American Shorthair Health Problems

American Shorthair is also prone to certain health issues like other cat breeds. These are discussed below:

Heart Disease

The American shorthair cat usually suffers from following inherited heart muscle diseases. Look for the symptoms like difficulty breathing and poor appetite to diagnose heart disease.

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

    It refers to the thickening of the heart muscle and occurs because of an overactive thyroid gland.

  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

    This disease occurs due to the deficiency of the amino acid taurine, found in most cat foods.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

If your pet cat is urinating outside the litter box, it may indicate improper nerve function from a spinal defect. This condition is known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases (FLUTD).

The common symptoms include blood in the urine and difficulty in urination. If the situation becomes fatal, it will lead to kidney disease, urine crystals, and diabetes.

Renal Failure

American Shorthair cats also suffer from renal failures where the kidneys don’t cleanse waste from the blood properly. It can lead to dehydration in older cats but can also happen in the younger felines as well.


Many middle-aged American Shorthair cats develop a benign tumor in the thyroid gland that causes hyperthyroidism. The common symptoms are vomiting, weight loss, and increased thirst. If it worsens, it can lead to kidney failure, heart failure, and blood clots.

Diabetes Mellitus

The American Shorthair might suffer from a genetic disease known as diabetes mellitus. It typically occurs when your cat becomes overweight or eats a poor diet. It can lead to pancreatitis, which causes the damage of cells that produce insulin.

Polycystic Kidney Disease

American Shorthairs may suffer from Polycystic Kidney Disease caused by defective genes. It develops cysts inside the kidneys and liver that slowly enlarge with time. Medications can temporarily slow down the progress of the disease, but there is no proper cure.

American Shorthair Price

These cats are usually not allowed to be used for breeding purposes as their prices are quite cheap. Thus, the cost can vary depending on the appearance and health.

It costs around $75-$150 to adopt an American Shorthair. It can be cheap to buy this cat from a breeder offering American Shorthair for sale. However, the price range can be somewhere between $600-$1,200.

If you are looking for a limited registered random-bred cat to raise as a pet, it will cost about $450 – $600. On the other hand, a registered American Shorthair can cost between $850 and $1500 per kitten.

American Shorthair Interesting Facts

Below-given are some interesting facts about the American Shorthair cat breed.

Make American Shorthair Your Emotional Support Animal

An American Shorthair is a family favorite pet cat. It is one of the most popular cat breeds worldwide. This cat is considered an ideal pet for a working family with children and an emotional support animal for the mentally disabled. Their temperament and companionship make them the best support cat.

If you are planning to adopt an American Shorthair as your pet cat, contact a reputable breeder. They abide by a code of ethics and have performed health certifications so that you can identify any diseases before buying a cat.

You have to contact a mental health professional to get a valid ESA letter. It is a prescription that allows you to live with your cat pet without paying any extra charges.

In case you need an authentic letter, contact us at RealESALetter.com. We will provide you with a professionally written letter within 24 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do American Shorthair cats like to be held?

FAQ Icon

Yes, the American Shorthairs love being petted, fondled, or even picked up. They are ideal options for those who enjoy physical affection from their cat pets.

Are American Shorthair cats aggressive?

FAQ Icon

No, this cat breed is not aggressive. Instead, they are known for their calmness and like to make friends with everyone.

Is an American Shorthair cat hypoallergenic?

FAQ Icon

No, American Shorthairs are not hypoallergenic as they shed less fur than long-haired cats. However, they do trigger allergies in cat-sensitive individuals.


Harper Jefcoat


Harper Jefcoat

Harper Jefcoat is a dedicated pet enthusiast and esteemed author at RealESALetter.com. With a profound passion for animals, Harper combines extensive knowledge and personal experience to provide insightful and informative content. Specializing in canine behavior and wellness, he strives to empower pet owners with the tools and understanding they need to nurture and care for their furry friends effectively. Harper’s writings reflect his commitment to enhancing the lives of pets and their owners, making him a trusted voice in the pet community.

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