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American Shorthair Cat: Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

Ed Malaker

By Ed Malaker

American Shorthair Cat

Height 12-14 inches
Weight 13-16 pounds
Lifespan 15-20 years
Colors White, black, cream, gold, red, brown, and silver
Suitable for Single people, families, people living in apartments and houses
Temperament Adaptable, friendly, affectionate

The American Shorthair is a pedigreed version of the Domestic Shorthair, which is itself a type of mutt. Breeders didn’t create a standard for the American Shorthair until 1966. Still, since it’s so closely related to the Domestic Shorthair, one of the most common cats in America, you probably have a good idea of how it looks. It has a thick muscular body of about average height and is available in many colors and patterns. If you are thinking about purchasing one of these cats for your home and want to learn more about it, keep reading while we look at cost, dietary requirements, grooming, health, and much more to help you make an educated decision.

hepper cat paw dividerAmerican Shorthair Kittens

American shorthair kitten
Image Credit: Top Photo Engineer, Shutterstock

When you’re looking for an American Shorthair, take your time to look for a reputable and ethical breeder. Cats seem to be more expensive as you go west, and waiting lists, breeding rights, and cats bred for competitions will be more expensive. If you do not purchase breeding rights, you will usually need to get the cat spayed or neutered to fulfill your contract, and you will also need distemper and rabies shots.

Some owners choose to get a microchip inserted into the cat to make it easier to find if it gets lost. You will also need to purchase food and water bowls and a litter box immediately to make your kitten feel welcome in their new home.

3 Little-Known Facts About the American Shorthair

1. The American Shorthair’s ancestors most likely came to America on boats with the earliest pilgrims where they were used to protect grains from rodents.

2. Breeders diligently worked to create the shape of the American Shorthair, including the large head, round face, and muscular body.

3. The Cat Fanciers’ Association named the American Shorthair the 8th most popular breed in the United States.

American shorthair cat
Image Credit: Clement Morin, Shutterstock

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Temperament & Intelligence of the American Shorthair Cat

The American Shorthair is a friendly cat that’s perfect for a single owner or a small family. It’s a gentle cat that enjoys playing with children and will even socialize with dogs as long as they aren’t too aggressive. It’s a hard-working cat that will make an excellent mouser yet remains easy-going around the home and will often sit on your lap. You can find it in several colors, and it’s usually quite healthy, with a lifespan that often exceeds 15 years.

You will likely be impressed with how smart your American Shorthair is. It works out clever schemes to get what it wants, and it will learn your routine so as to be available during your free time.

american shorthair cat lying_Kari Dickinson_Pixabay
Image Credit: Kari Dickinson, Pixabay

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

As we mentioned earlier, the American Shorthair gets along with children, is an amazing mouser, and enjoys sitting on your lap. It enjoys attention but doesn’t mind spending time alone while you go off to work. It’s curious and social, so it will usually be the first one at the door when the company comes over and will usually spend several minutes getting to know them.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

The American Shorthair is extremely friendly and prefers to have more company than none at all. It gets along well with other cats and will even socialize with dogs. Early socialization can help your cat develop the skills required to make new friends earlier. The only pets we recommend avoiding are small rodents like mice and guinea pigs that might trigger their hunting instincts.

Things to Know When Owning an American Shorthair

Food & Diet Requirements

American shorthair cat eating
Image Credit: Apicha Bas, Shutterstock

Your American Shorthair is a carnivore, so it will require a diet high in protein. We recommend choosing a brand with chicken, turkey, or fish listed as the first ingredient. Avoid foods with corn listed as the main ingredient because besides not being a part of the natural diet, corn is mostly empty calories that will only help your cat gain weight. Brands that contain omega fats will nourish the skin and strengthen the coat so it will be shinier with less shedding.

Exercise 🐈

Your cat will get most of the exercise it needs on its own. However, we recommend setting at least 20 minutes aside each day to play with your cat to help it be a little more active, especially if it spends most of its time indoors. Cats love to chase balls, and the laser pen is another way to get even the most reluctant cats to run.

Training 🧶

Most cat breeds don’t train well, and the American Shorthair is no different. Your cat will instinctively know how to use the litter box, but many owners scrape its paws in the litter to reinforce the behavior. It will learn your routine, especially when you feed it, and it has an amazingly accurate internal clock. Cats usually learn their name and will know when they are doing something they shouldn’t.

Grooming ✂️

The American Shorthair is easy to groom. Since the fur is short, you don’t need to worry about tangles, so you will only need to comb or brush your cat about once every week to remove loose hair and prevent it from getting on your furniture and floor. We highly recommend you consider getting your cat used to manual brushing, which will help slow the progression of dental disease, and you may need to trim its nails every few weeks, especially if it is tearing up your furniture.

american shorthair cat
Image Credit: Lalandrew, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions 🏥

Minor Conditions
  • Obesity
Serious Conditions
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Minor Conditions

  • Obesity: We put obesity under minor conditions because it is completely preventable. However, it can pose a substantial health risk to your cat and lead to life-threatening health issues, like heart and kidney disease. Some experts suggest that more than 50% of cats over 5 years old are overweight. The best way to prevent your cat from becoming overweight is to follow the recommended portions of the food you purchase. In addition, setting aside a few minutes each day to play with your cat will help it stay more active, which will burn more calories.

Serious Conditions

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy affects the heart of your cat and reduces its efficiency. Symptoms can include a loss of appetite, a weak pulse, difficulty breathing, and sudden heart failure. Your cat will likely require an EKG to diagnose this condition, and treatment usually involves medication and weight management.

Male vs Female

The male American Shorthair is usually a little larger than the female. It will stand taller and be a little heavier. However, there is no noticeable difference in temperament or behavior between the sexes, particularly after your American Shorthair has been spayed or neutered.

hepper cat paw dividerFinal Thoughts

The American Shorthair is a great choice for most people, and it’s not too hard to find due to it being an American breed. It’s friendly and gets along well with children and other pets, and it rarely scratches or becomes aggressive. It’s curious, so it will want to meet any guests who stop by your home, and it will also be there to inspect any grocery bags you bring home. It’s a healthy cat that often lives more than 15 years.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over our look into this breed and have learned something new. If we have convinced you to purchase one, please share this guide to American Shorthair cats on Facebook and Twitter.

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Featured Image Credit: Thanakorn Kosalakorn, Shutterstock

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