Animals / Cats

American Shorthair

Классификация по федерациям

Federation Internationale Feline World Cat Federation

История возникновения

They aren’t listed on the manifest, but cats were undoubtedly among the passengers and crew that disembarked from the Mayflower when it arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620. Their ratting abilities made cats valued members of ships’ crews, and they may well have made their way to the New World even earlier, on ships that carried settlers to the Jamestown colony in Virginia, Spanish explorers to Florida and Vikings to Newfoundland. Some of the descendants of those seafaring cats, known prosaically as shorthairs, or domestic shorthairs, became what we know today as American Shorthairs.

Cats were valued on land as well as at sea. Farmers, shopkeepers and householders all needed a good cat to protect their stores of food from mice, rats and other vermin. The shorthairs were solid, hardy working stock, well suited to the tough conditions that prevailed on the untamed continent. Such good hunters were they that a publication from 1634 credits them with saving a New England colony’s crops from squirrels and chipmunks. From their coastal arrival points, they went west with settlers, and thrived.

By 1895, shorthairs had made enough of a mark that they were exhibited at the first cat show in the United States. The Cat Fanciers Association recognized them as a breed in 1906. To differentiate them from randombred cats, also known as domestic shorthairs, the pedigreed felines were given the name American Shorthair in 1966. The cats are recognized by all registries.

Общий вид

The American Shorthair is a true breed of working cat. The conformation should be adapted for this with no part of the anatomy so exaggerated as to foster weakness. The general effect should be that of a strongly built, well balanced, symmetrical cat with conformation indicating power, endurance, and agility.


Head: large, with full-cheeked face giving the impression of an oblong just slightly longer than wide. Sweet, open expression. Viewed from front, head can be divided in two equal parts; from base of ears to middle of eyes and from middle of eyes to chin tip.

Ears: medium size, slightly rounded at tips and not unduly open at base. Distance between ears, measured from lower inner corners, twice distance between eyes.

Forehead: viewed in profile, forehead forms smooth, moderately convex continuous curve flowing over top of head into neck. Viewed from front, there is no dome between ears.

Eyes: large and wide with upper lid shaped like half an almond (cut lengthwise) and lower lid shaped in a fully rounded curve. At least width of one eye between eyes. Outer corners set very slightly higher than inner corners. Bright, clear and alert.

Nose: medium length, same width for entire length. Viewed in profile, gentle concavely curved rise from bridge of nose to forehead.

Muzzle: squared. Definite jowls in mature males.

Jaws: strong and long enough to successfully grasp prey. Both level and scissors bites considered equally correct. (In level bite, top and bottom front teeth meet evenly. In scissors bite, inside edge of top front teeth touch outside edge of lower front teeth).

Chin: firm and well-developed, forming perpendicular line with upper lip.


Neck: medium in length, muscular and strong.

Body: solidly built, powerful, and muscular with well-developed shoulders, chest, and hindquarters. Back broad, straight and level. Viewed in profile, slight slope down from hip bone to base of tail. Viewed from above, outer lines of body parallel.


Legs: medium in length and bone, heavily muscled. Viewed from rear, all four legs straight and parallel with paws facing forward.

Paws: firm, full and rounded, with heavy pads. Toes: five in front, four behind.


Tail: medium long, heavy at base, tapering to abrupt blunt end in appearance but with normal tapering final vertebrae.


Coat: short, thick, even and hard in texture. Regional and seasonal variation in coat thickness allowed. Coat dense enough to protect from moisture, cold, and superficial skin injuries.


Prefers the deliberate movement, than spontaneous run.


Weight — 3-7 kg.


The adaptable and good-natured American Shorthair retains his hunting ability, but these days he is more likely to be a family companion, a job at which he excels. He has a middle-of-the-road temperament, being calm but not comatose. The American Shorthair is moderately active and enjoys a good playtime as much as the next cat, but he’s not overly demanding of attention or activity. As befits a working class cat who has made good, he is smart and enjoys playing with puzzle toys and interactive toys. He has a sociable nature and isn’t the type to hide under the bed when visitors arrive. This is a placid cat but one that doesn’t especially like being carried around. Let him stand on his own four feet. He may or may not be a lap cat, but he will always appreciate having a spot next to you on the sofa or at the end of the bed.

Содержание и уход

The American Shorthair’s coat is easily cared for by combing or brushing it a couple of times a week to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils. The thickness of the cat’s coat and the amount it sheds vary based on climate and time of year.

Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Trim the nails every couple of weeks. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection. Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.

American Shorthairs like their meals, so they can easily become overweight. To prevent obesity, measure their food instead of free-feeding them.

Keep the litter box spotlessly clean. Cats are very particular about bathroom hygiene, and a dirty box may cause them to start using other places in the house instead.

It’s a good idea to keep an American Shorthair as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs or coyotes, and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Keeping him indoors also protects local birds and wildlife from this talented hunter. American Shorthairs who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a beautiful cat without paying for it.

Lifespan — 15-20 years.


Good with children, good with household cats and dogs, high sociability with strangers.

Сложность содержания

A lack of exercise can lead to weight problems that in turn can result in major health problems such as heart disease, osteoarthritis and diabetes. 


Both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. American Shorthairs are generally healthy, but be sure to ask a breeder about the incidence of health problems in her lines and what testing has been done for any that are genetic in nature.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a type of heart disease, has been seen in the breed, but it is not yet known to be genetic.

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