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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The tail is of medium length, heavy base, and tapering to blunt end in appearance.
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
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
- 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.
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
The interactive toys help to ensure that American shorthairs get enough exercise. It goes along with
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:
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.
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.
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?
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?
No, this cat breed is not aggressive. Instead, they are known for their calmness and like to make friends
Is an American Shorthair cat hypoallergenic?
No, American Shorthairs are not hypoallergenic as they shed less fur than long-haired cats. However, they
do trigger allergies in cat-sensitive individuals.