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American Longhair Cat: Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

Ed Malaker

By Ed Malaker

American Longhair side view

Height: 9-16 inches
Weight: 8-15 pounds
Lifespan: 9-15 years
Colors: All colors and patterns
Suitable for: Families, children, apartments
Temperament: Moderately active, playful, loving

The American Longhair is a pedigreed long-haired version of the American Domestic cat, and the breed first became available during the 1960’s, steadily gaining popularity because of its playful yet easy-going temperament.

American Longhair cats also look as nice as other longhair breeds that are much more expensive. If you are thinking about getting one of these cats for your home but would like to learn more about it first, keep reading while we look at cost, temperament, grooming requirements, and more to help you make an informed decision.

American Longhair Kittens


One of the best things about American Longhair cats is that they are not as expensive as other longhair breeds like the Angora or Persian, often costing thousands of dollars. If you are not going to become a breeder, you don’t need breeding rights, but you will usually need to get the cat spayed or neutered to complete the purchasing contract.

Cats also require several shots and booster shots that require several vet visits, and you will need to purchase food, treats, and toys. You don’t need a bed or a leash, but some people like to buy them, and you will need a wide shallow dish they can eat from without bumping their whiskers.

3 Little-Known Facts About the American Longhair

1. American Longhair cats likely first came to America from England with the first settlers. The colonists had them on their ships to protect the grain from mice and other threats.

2. Many owners describe the American Longhair cat as dog-like because it tends to greet you at the door and follow you around your home.

3. Unfortunately, the American Cat Fanciers Association does not yet recognize the American Longhair breed.

Temperament & Intelligence of the American Longhair

You can easily coax the American Longhair into playing. It enjoys chasing after the laser pen and will often bring a ball back to you if you roll it so it can give chase. Many owners report that they wake up to several balls at the bottom of the bet. They are expert hunters and will often watch their prey, whether fit be a fly or a spider, for quite some time before killing it. However, it also likes to lounge around looking out the window and might even sit on your lap while you watch television. It gets along with children better than many other longhair breeds and can even get along with other pets if you socialize it early.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Yes. As we mentioned earlier, The American longhair cat is a great family pet that will usually meet you at the door and follow you around the house. It usually has a high tolerance for children who like to pet it, and it will play games with you when you are ready. It also likes to lounge around a lot, so it’s suitable for a busy family or a small apartment. While it stays underfoot when you are home, it’s not overly needy and won’t suffer from separation anxiety immediately like some cats.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Cats are primarily solitary animals, and the same is true for the American Longhair. It would likely be the happiest in a home without other pets. However, with plenty of early socialization, your cat can form strong bonds with other family pets and may be more open to accepting a new arrival later on.


Things to Know When Owning an American Longhair:

Food & Diet Requirements

The American Longhair is a carnivore that requires a diet high in animal proteins for optimal health. We recommend checking the ingredients list to ensure that chicken, turkey, salmon, or other meat is listed first. Avoid food with many corn and soy products near the top because cats don’t eat it naturally, and they are mostly empty calories. Some fruits and vegetables, like carrots, broccoli, and cranberries, are helpful because they provide vitamins and minerals

Exercise 🐈

You’re American Longhair will usually get the exercise it needs on its own, but you can help by providing plenty of perches it can use. We also recommend setting aside at least 15 minutes each day to help your pet get enough exercise. If you struggle to get your cat motivated, the laser pen is extremely effective at getting even the laziest cats running at top speed.

Training 🧶

Cats are notoriously difficult to train because they are stubborn and aren’t interested in what you’re saying or doing with your hands. However, cats do learn words or at least recognize the way you are talking. While your American Longhair is unlikely to jump through hoops or bring you your car keys, it will come when you call it, use the litterbox instead of the floor, and it will know you are opening a treat no matter how quietly you try to do it.

American Longhair
Image Credit: Alexander Piragis, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Longhair cats don’t need to shed much to make a big mess, so we recommend brushing your cat as frequently as possible to keep it from getting out of hand. The longer hairs are easier to see in your home, and they are also more likely to cause hairballs while the cat grooms. Another reason to brush frequently is to keep the fur from becoming tangled. You will also need to trim the nails occasionally, and we recommend manually brushing the teeth to help keep them clean.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Minor Conditions
  • Kidney Disease: Kidney disease is a common problem for cats, and while other health issues, like high blood pressure or cancer, can cause it, the reason isn’t always clear. Early detection is critical to helping your dog manage it and medication, and a proper diet can help keep it under control.
  • Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is a condition that often affects older cats. It causes the thyroid gland to produce too much insulin, leading to several health problems, including weight loss, increased thirst, and diarrhea. Medication and surgery can sometimes help slow the progression of the disease so your cat can live more comfortably.
Serious Conditions
  • Obesity: Obesity is a major concern, not just for the American Longhair but for all cats in America. Some experts suggest that as many as 50% of cats over 5 are over the recommended weight limit for their size. Paying close attention to the suggested serving size on the package will help you from overfeeding your cat, and the laser pen can help it burn off more energy. It’s also important to limit treats to no more than 10%  of their daily calories.
  • Dental Disease: Dental disease is another widespread disease among cats, and experts suggest more than half of cats older than three already have some form of dental disease that needs attention. We recommend starting while the cat is small to get it used to manual brushing, so it will let you continue to do it into adulthood, and we recommend doing it as frequently as possible. Feeding your cat dry kibble can also help keep the teeth clean because it scrapes away tartar as your cat crunches.

Male vs Female

The male American Longhair is usually slightly larger in height and weight than the female, but there are no other noteworthy differences between the sexes.


The American Longhair makes a great family pet, and it’s inexpensive enough for a single owner. The long hair gives it a fancy appearance, and it likes to play and look out the window at birds. It might even sit on your lap while you read or watch television. It requires regular grooming, but that will give you some great bonding time and it’s fairly healthy, and you shouldn’t need to take too many trips to the vet.

If we have helped answer your questions and convinced you to get one of these cats for your home, please share this guide to the American longhair cat breed on Facebook and Twitter.

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Featured Image Credit: Fotoluminate LLC, Shutterstock

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