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10 Surprising & Fun American Shorthair Facts

Patricia Dickson

By Patricia Dickson

white American shorthair

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting an American Shorthair Cat, you probably know they are incredibly friendly and playful. They have been around for centuries, and still, many people don’t know a lot about them. If you own an American Shorthair or are considering giving one a forever home, here are a few surprising American Shorthair Cat facts you might not have heard about.

The 10 Facts About American Shorthair Cats

1. They Journeyed to America on the Mayflower

While the American Shorthair didn’t strictly cross the ocean on the Mayflower, their ancestors did. They were working cats that were bred to catch mice and rats before they got into the food. Now, of course, they do very little mice catching, but they certainly could if they had to.

After landing on America’s shores, they were put to work as farmhands, keeping the mice and rats out of the barns.

2. They Love Feasting on Rodents and Insects

While this is something that many of us don’t want to know, your American Shorthair loves to eat rodents and insects. As previously mentioned, these cats were bred to hunt rodents. If your cat is allowed outside, you can be sure that you’ll find a few furry presents on the doorstep and even an insect or two.

However, keep an eye on your furry friend, as rodents and insects carry diseases and bacteria that could make your feline sick.

American shorthair cat
Image Credit: Clement Morin, Shutterstock

3. They Have Lived in the White House

American Shorthairs are American royalty since they have lived in the White House. Former President George W. Bush had a black American Shorthair named India. India was named after a Texas Ranger baseball player called Ruben Sierra, nicknamed El Indio. Sadly, after only 8 years of living in the White House, India passed away at the ripe old age of 18.

4. They Come in Over 80 Colors and Patterns

You can pick and choose when it comes to American Shorthair Kitties. They come in over 80 colors and patterns.

  • Tabby
  • Smoke
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Calico
  • Shaded
  • Bicolor
  • Blue Cream
  • Red
  • White
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Silver
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Golden
  • Brown
  • Cameo
  • Chinchilla

This makes for an interesting group of colors and patterns, and you’re likely to find an American Shorthair with a color and pattern that appeals to you.

American shorthair cat
Image Credit: Thanakorn Kosalakorn, Shutterstock

5. They Are Friendly and Self-Sufficient

Some cats are aloof and difficult to bond with, but the American Shorthair isn’t one of those breeds. They are more approachable than other cats and are gentle and loving with children. They need attention from their owners and daily play sessions, but they also enjoy spending time alone. They’re less likely to suffer behavioral problems from being left alone, but they typically form strong bonds with their owners.

6. Mark Twain Loved Shorthair Cats

It is well-documented that Mark Twain loved cats, and many of the photographs of him featured American Shorthair Cats. Since Twain was an admitted cat lover, it stands to reason that the gentle American Shorthair was among his favorites.

American shorthair cat eating
Image Credit: Apicha Bas, Shutterstock

7. They Were in the First National Cat Show

Very few pet lovers know that American Shorthairs were in the first-ever national cat show. The show was held in Madison Square Garden in 1895. There were quite a few shorthair cats, and the Domestic Shorthair was included in the showcase. The Domestic Shorthair later became the American Shorthair we know and love today.

Versatile and intelligent, the American Shorthair has gone on to showcase and win many shows and competitions over the years, and there’s no sign of that stopping anytime soon.

8. They Are Very Intelligent

The American Shorthair has a keen awareness of its surroundings, which caused them to be such great hunters. If you decide to make one of these intelligent felines a pet, make sure that you provide them with plenty of toys that test their intelligence. Any toy that lets them use their pest control instincts should be an instant hit with your furry friend. Feather toys, laser pointers, and toy mice are great options to keep your American Shorthair entertained and sharp.

american shorthair cat in tree
Image Credit: Erik Gettig, Pixabay

9. They Are One of the Most Common Cats in the World

Even though many people don’t know much about American Shorthairs, they are some of the most common cats in the world. In fact, as of 2020, these cats were listed as the 8th most popular cat in the world. Now that’s hard to beat!

10. They Were Domesticated in Egypt

While the American Shorthair Cat came over on the Mayflower to America, they were domesticated in Egypt. Of course, then they were Domestic Shorthair Cats, but they were thought to be domesticated in 2000 BC. The cats traveled around the world with breeders and hunters, then arrived in America, where they quickly became popular pets. If you haven’t owned an American Shorthair Cat, it might be time for you to give one of the storied creatures a forever home with you and your family.

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


As you can see, American Shorthair Cats are very interesting creatures. American Shorthairs have an extraordinary history, from living in the White House to charming Mark Twain. If you’re considering adopting an American Shorthair Cat as your very own, we hope these interesting facts have solidified your decision. While this intelligent breed can be left to its own devices, keeping the cat entertained and challenged with toys is essential. Giving an American Shorthair Cat a forever home is an incredible experience you’ll cherish for several years.

Featured Image Credit: Oleksandr Volchanskyi, Shutterstock

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