Let's talk American Bobtails

It’s no wonder the American Bobtail is often referred to as the “Golden Retriever of the Cat World”: they are playful, affectionate, intelligent cats who are extremely interactive and devoted to their human family. Sociable and fond of fetch, hide-and-seek, and many other games, the easy-going American Bobtail is known to initiate playtime with their owners and even other pets. With their large size and shaggy coat, the American Bobtail may have an air of the wildcat. But this outgoing breed is anything but wild: they are highly adaptable and make for a great family companion.

Official name: American Bobtail

Other names: American Bobtail Shorthair, American Bobtail Longhair

Origins: United States

Black and white portrait of an American Bobtail cat

 Shedding level:

Medium

Warm weather?
 Energy level (high, low, medium)*: Medium Family Pet?*  Very high
 Compatibility with other pets: Very high

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.
 
For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).
 
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
 
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
 
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 
Inline Image 15
Illustration of an American Bobtail cat
Male
25 - 35 cm Height
4.5 - 6 kg Weight
Female
22 - 25 cm Height
3.5 - 4.5 kg Weight

 

 Baby cat  Birth to 4 months
 Growing kitten  4 to 12 months
 Adult  1 to 7 years
 Mature  7 to 12 years
 Senior  From 12 years

Tabby American Bobtail kitten stood on a rock

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Get to know the American Bobtail

All you need to know about the breed

While the American Bobtail boasts a distinctive wild appearance, the affectionate and outgoing breed actually thrives indoors, not outdoors, and in close proximity to you. And your lap. Highly interactive and playful, you will often find American Bobtails actively trying to entertain you, from initiating hide-and-seek to rounds of fetch that could go on for hours. But they’re also highly trainable and will enjoy learning new tricks.

When they’re not bonding with you and your family, you might find them showing off their natural hunting instincts: jumping up to six feet off the ground to catch insects in mid-air, thanks to strong hind legs.

The American Bobtail cat has quiet tendencies, seldomly meowing but trilling, chirping, and clicking when delighted. Their other most distinctive feature is their bobbed tail, hence the name, which can be straight, slightly curved or bumpy and anywhere from one to four inches in length. A hunter’s gaze defines their deep set, almost almond-shaped eyes while their shaggy, medium-to-long double coat lends a natural wildness to their look.

Once American Bobtails reach their full size, they are considered medium to large in size with a muscular, rectangular body and strong bones that allow them to do all that jumping, climbing, and playing. In other words, they’re a fun, relaxed breed that make an ideal companion for both humans and pets alike.

Ginger American Bobtail kitten lying on a wooden floor

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2 facts about American Bobtails

1. The perfect companion

Easy-going, social, and affectionate are qualities that make The American Bobtail an ideal companion in nursing homes, hospitals, and schools where they lift spirits and have been known to serve as therapy cats.

2.  A real life “cat burglar”

The American Bobtail cat takes games like hide-and-seek very seriously, to the point where your belongings may occasionally go missing! As a result, it’s important to store your shiniest objects where their paws can’t reach them.

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History of the breed

While the jury is still out on the precise origins of the American Bobtail, it is thought to have first developed as a breed in the late 1960s in the United States, when a short-tailed domestic tabby was crossed with a Siamese. These early bloodlines also included Birman and Himalayan outcrosses. However, there were difficulties and those lines have virtually died out.

Then, in the 1980s, a group of breeders broke away from the original, pointed pattern for the breed and formed the breed as it is known today. These breeders worked with feral domestic cats from different areas of North America, all of which displayed the distinctive bobbed tail that gives the breed its name.

The American Bobtail’s tail, which is about one third to half the length of a normal tail and may be straight, slightly curved or bumpy, is the breed’s most recognisable feature. In combination with its large, almost almond-shaped eyes and hunter’s gaze, the American Bobtail bears a striking resemblance to the bobtailed wildcat of North America (but only in appearance!).

Black and white portrait sitting American Bobtail

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of American Bobtails

1. Ears

Ears with slightly rounded tips.

2. Eyes

Large, almost almond-shaped eyes.

3. Coat

Resilient double coat, medium or long in length.

4. Body

Broad, modified head and athletic, rectangular body.

5. Tail

Bobbed tail around one third to half the length of a normal tail.

Ginger American Bobtail kitten sat looking up into the sky

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your American Bobtail
Ginger American Bobtail cat walking through a vegetable patch

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Caring for your American Bobtail

Grooming, training and exercise tips

They may have a medium-to-long double coat of fur but the American Bobtail cat only requires a moderate amount of grooming and isn’t prone to tangling. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to brush your Bobtail a few times a week to keep the coat shiny and prevent matting. The American Bobtail is particularly adaptable and easy to train, even to play fetch with rolled up wads of paper. The breed’s fondness for games and toys keeps them mentally stimulated indoors while their ability to jump high off the ground keeps them physically active, whether it’s to reach the top of a cat tower or snatch a flying insect.

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All about American Bobtails

By nature of their short history, the American Bobtail cat is one of the most uncommon breeds. It is thought to have first developed as a breed in the late 1960s in the United States, when a short-tailed domestic tabby was crossed with a Siamese. In the 1980s, a group of breeders broke away from the original, pointed pattern for the breed and formed the American Bobtail as it is known today.

American Bobtail cats are fearless, completely at ease jumping high off the ground and adventuring on a leash outdoors in your company should you desire. But they are anything but aggressive. In fact, the outgoing, social, and adaptable breed is known for making a great family companion, suitable for small children and even other pets. The American Bobtail’s temperament is easy-going and friendly which has earned them a reputation of being the “Golden Retriever of the cat world.”

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Cat Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book