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American Bobtail Cat: Breed Info, Pictures, Care, Traits & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove


Height: 9 to 10 inches
Weight: 12 to 16 pounds (male); 7 to 11 pounds (female)
Lifespan: 13 to 15 years
Colors: Chocolate, brown, sable, cinnamon, lavender, silver, fawn, blue, gray, black, ebony, cream, beige, tan, lilac, red, orange, white, or a combination of these colors
Suitable for: Children, families, seniors, multi-pet homes
Temperament: Affectionate, friendly, bold

American Bobtail cats are well-known for their short-bobbed tails and playful personalities. They are often called the “golden retriever” of the cat world because of their loving and playful nature. These cats love to be around humans, making them fantastic companions. However, the breed is rare, and it can be expensive to adopt one of these lovable creatures.

American Bobtail Kittens

Two American Bobtail
Image Credit: Levgeniia Miroshichenko, Shutterstock

American Bobtail Cats are a fairly uncommon cat breed, which results in them being a more expensive breed.

These cats are friendly and intelligent. They make wonderful family pets and you will love them so much. They are one of the more chattier breeds so if you enjoy talking to your cat, you will enjoy having an American Bobtail Cat as part of your family.

4 Little-Known Facts About the American Bobtail Cat

1. American Bobtail kittens who are born without a tail are called “rumpies.”

This condition is also referred to as Manx syndrome, where the cat is born with a deformity at the end of the spine. It is this deformity that results in them having no tail. In some cases, rumpies will have severe spinal and neurological deficits, while others appear to have no deficits at all, simply a small hollow on their backside where a tail should be.

Rumpy kittens are extremely rare as American Bobtails are bred to maintain healthy tail and spine lengths. While rumpies can still be adopted as pets, they will not be kept for breeding purposes in order to promote the health of future cat generations.

2. American Bobtail cats wag their tails like a dog to express happiness

Much like dogs, American Bobtails express their mood by “wagging” their tail. This expression usually indicates happiness but is also sometimes used to garner attention.

Nicknamed the “golden retriever” of cats, American Bobtails can also be trained to walk on a leash, play fetch, and perform a variety of tricks.

3. The “bobbed” tail of this cat is a result of a genetic mutation

The American Bobtail’s tail is approximately one-third to one-half the length of a normal cat tail. This distinct tail is the result of a cat body type genetic mutation similar to that of a Manx cat. Despite its similar name, the American Bobtail is not related to the Japanese Bobtail, whose bobbed tail results from an entirely different gene.

4. These cats spawned an urban legend

This cat breed has been said to be the result of cross-breeding between domestic tabby cats and wild bobcats. The rumor comes from the fact that wild bobcats also have “bobbed” tails.

There’s no truth to this legend. However, the American Bobtail cat is a distinct purebred cat breed all its own.

American Bobtail
Image Credit: OrangeGroup, Shutterstock

hepper single cat paw dividerTemperament & Intelligence of the American Bobtail Cat

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

The temperament of the American Bobtail cat is docile, sweet, and affectionate. They make great lap cats and companions. Since they’re not territorial or aggressive, they are a fantastic family pet.

This breed is playful but not overly energetic. They are happy to engage in short sessions of one-on-one play but just as happy to lay around and snuggle. Their super laid-back nature means they’re relatively quiet. However, you can expect a certain number of chirps and meows during play sessions.

What an American Bobtail wants more than anything in the world is to love you and receive your love in return. This feline breed is not only ideal family pets; they are sometimes used as therapy animals due to their sensitivity to emotional distress.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

The gentle nature of this cat breed makes them a great addition to multi-pet households. They get along well with both cats and dogs, as well as other cat-friendly playmates.

american bobtail cat standing on grass
Image Credit: yhelfman, Shutterstock

hepper cat paw dividerThings to Know When Owning an American Bobtail Cat

Social Needs

American Bobtail cats have one primary need, and that is to give and receive love. They require a lot of human interaction and won’t do well if left alone for long periods of time. If you live in a busy household, be aware that this cat breed will require constant affection and can become needy at times. They do, however, travel well and enjoy road trips with their families.

Frequent visitors are no problem for the American Bobtail; they get along with pretty much everyone. In fact, they often bolt to the door in greeting, much like dogs do, so it’s important to make sure your cat doesn’t wind up outside unsupervised while greeting guests.

These cats can be leash trained and taken for walks to satisfy their natural curiosity and social needs. While not overly active, American Bobtails have athletic bodies. Their muscular hind legs allow them to jump to heights of up to six feet. Giving your pet a tall cat tree with a soft landing pad can satisfy his jumping and climbing needs while indoors.

Food and Diet Requirements

This is one cat breed that can be finicky when it comes to food. American Bobtails love meat and are known to refuse to eat meals without it.

Consistency is the best practice for these cats. They like to know what to expect in their food bowl, so once you’ve found a food they like, it’s best to stick with it. Wet or dry foods are both acceptable.

A high protein and fat diet are necessary to keep American Bobtails healthy while avoiding excess carbohydrates, which they have difficulty digesting. Carbohydrates will put an American Bobtail cat at high risk of developing obesity and diabetes.

Exercise 🐈

American Bobtails are playful but not particularly high-energy. They enjoy leash walks and active indoor play. A regular supply of cat toys and towers should be kept in their proximity to keep them active on a regular basis.

Their creative nature makes this cat breed expert escape artists. They are known to break out of closed rooms and cat carriers, making them difficult to contain at times. That said, they love to travel and are known as great companion pets for long-haul truck drivers.

Training 🧶

Mental stimulation is important for keeping your American Bobtail happy. They are extremely receptive to puzzle games, trick training, and leash training.

American Bobtail on green background
Image Credit: OrangeGroup, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

American Bobtails are considered a high-shedding cat breed and are not hypoallergenic. For individuals with cat allergies, this breed is highly likely to cause a flare-up.

Grooming is fairly simple given that American Bobtails shed out very well on their own. Brushing once or twice a week is sufficient to keep their coat smooth and healthy.

Cat’s nails should be trimmed regularly, and providing them with a scratching surface will help them maintain them on their own between trims.

This cat breed can be short-haired or longhaired. The short-haired variety of American Bobtail has a medium-length double coat that includes a downy, soft undercoat with hard hair on top. Longhaired Bobtails tend to be scruffier looking and have a distinctive “fringe” around their neck, along with long patches of hair on their upper legs, belly, and tail.

Health and Conditions 🏥

With a lifespan of 13 to 15 years, American Bobtails are a relatively healthy breed. There are, however, some health issues that can arise due to their lack of a tail.

Serious Conditions
  • American Bobtail cats born without a tail can have spinal malformations as well. Most issues that occur due to a lack of tail are balance-related, but severe spine damage can inhibit their ability to be litter trained and control defecation.

hepper cat paw dividerMale vs. Female

As a slow-maturing breed, the American Bobtail cat takes from two to three years to reach its adult size. Females are generally smaller than males overall. Both males and females can be a variety of colors and patterns, with either short or long hair.


The fun-loving, intelligent American Bobtail is an interactive cat that has a great devotion to its human family. They make fantastic travel companions and great playmates for children and other pets alike. Their sensitive and cuddly nature provides owners with a soft, cuddly shoulder to cry on during times of distress, while their love of games and walks provides hours of entertainment. While they are expensive cats to obtain, this breed is one of a kind.

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Featured Image Credit: Ievgeniia Miroshnichenko, Shutterstock

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