The American Shorthair Cat Breed

an orange tabby american shorthair cat in sphinx pose

The American Shorthair is the perfect breed for those who want a devoted cat but not an overly demanding one. Descended from the domestic shorthair cats in Europe, these cats are extremely friendly and affectionate.

Adopting an American Shorthair can be a delightful experience once you’ve become acquainted with all the essential information regarding the breed.

Luckily, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve assembled all the necessary information about the American Shorthair so that you can be completely prepared before welcoming this fascinating pet into the family.

An Overview of the American Shorthair Cat Breed 

The American Shorthair is a beautiful cat breed with an amicable personality. Cat lovers are always drawn towards this unique cat breed because of its congenial behavior and inquisitive nature. 

But what sets this gorgeous cat breed apart from other breeds? That’s a question you might be curious about if you’re planning to adopt one for your home.

Check out this quick overview of this interesting cat breed:

Height11-14 in.
Weight 11-15 lbs.
Lifespan15-20 years
OriginAmerica
TemperamentActive, affectionate, intelligent, playful
Activity LevelCalm
CompatibilityModerate compatibility with kids and other pets
CoatShort
SheddingMedium
ColorsSilver, smoke, brown, black, white, grey, orange
PatternsTabby, solid, calico, tortoiseshell, bicolor, and particolored 
Allergy-friendly?No
VocalnessQuiet
Prey DriveHigh
a sliver grey tabby american shorthair cat sitting

Characteristics

The American Shorthair is an elegant and refined cat when it comes to physical characteristics.

With large, round and discerning eyes that shape the entire face, these cats are truly beautiful. Their eyes come in shades of green and gold commonly and look astonishingly remarkable. 

You can also find some rare American Shorthair breeds with blue eyes and even with separate colors for two eyes (dichromatic eyes). The upper eyelids are shaped like a half-almond while the lower lids are somewhat rounded.

The American Shorthair comes with a muscular and rounded body that looks strong, graceful, and attractive. They bear long and proportionate tails that are broad towards the base and narrow towards the end.

You can differentiate between a domestic shorthair cat and an American Shorthair by inspecting the shape of the head. American Shorthairs come with bigger and rounder heads than domestic shorthair cats. 

In fact, at times, the head looks slightly larger than the body and may appear as an oblong shape. This is a key differentiating point between American and domestic shorthair cats.

Another distinguishing feature is the ear size. American Shorthair cats have smaller ears compared to domestic ones. Their ears comprise rounded tips and look quite small in comparison to their overly large head.

The American Shorthair cat bears strong and heavily built legs. Compared to other cat breeds, the muscular and athletic build of the cat’s legs leave a long-lasting impression. 

Moreover, the paws are round, wide, and resemble the color of the nose. However, the color of the paw pads may slightly differ according to the actual color and pattern of the cat.

These cats bear short coats just like their name suggests. However, the coats are lustrous and radiant, offering a soft texture. It comes in different colors and patterns that add to the cat’s beauty. 

a white and patchy tabby american shorthair cat reclining on a garden deck

History

The history of American Shorthair cats started from the time when European colonization happened in America. The colonizers brought cats with them all the way from Europe in ships, and these cats led to the evolution of the marvelous breed- American Shorthair.

These cats turned out to be excellent hunters and were adopted mostly by farmers and shopkeepers to guard their food supplies against mice, rats, and different pests. Their skills even made it to a publication of around 1634 where they were highly praised for protecting the New England colony’s crops from small animals. 

They first gained recognition at a cat show in 1895 and later around 1906, they were identified as a separate cat breed by the Cat Fanciers Association. 

However, they were still almost always confused with the domestic shorthairs, which led to their naming as the American Shorthair in 1966. Today, American Shorthair cats are the 8th most loved and popular cat around the world, according to the Cat Fanciers Association. 

Thanks to their extremely loving nature and exceptional traits, these cats have obtained an entirely separate fanbase for themselves.

Personality

American Shorthair cats have a very unique personality. Although they were typically known to be pets with extraordinary hunting skills, today they have gained the recognition of being true family companions. 

You will be amazed to know how well-behaved and affectionate these cats are. Once you get to know them, you won’t be able to let go. 

They are quite active, playful, and at times inquisitive-which is why cat lovers are very fond of this particular breed. These cats are adaptable, so you don’t have to go to extreme lengths to take care of them.

American Shorthair cats enjoy good playtime with all the members of the family and can get friendly with anyone in a short span of time. 

The best thing about them is that they are not challenging to deal with. They are not afraid of strangers and do not avoid new visitors, which gives your guests the scope of getting to know this cat gradually. 

You can groom these cats once every few weeks, and you’ll be good to go. They do not require much maintenance and they do not have any specific nutritional requirements. They are known to be quiet cats, which gives the owners relief from any excessive crying or meowing at night. 

These cats enjoy playing with puzzle toys and even with other pets in the home. They are a perfect choice for families that contain a lot of children and other pets, especially cat-friendly dogs. These cats don’t mind living with dogs if the dogs don’t bother them. 

However, since American Shorthair is known to be a good hunter, you might have a problem with pet birds. You can introduce these cats to birds from an early age and within a controlled environment. 

American Shorthair cats like being active and playful in their own ways. They are even-tempered cats and have very calm personalities. You might not get the “lap cat” behavior from them, but they will always love sticking by your side when they see you around. 

tabby and white american short hair cat rubbing against a fence post on a frosty morning

Size

In terms of size, male American Shorthair cats weigh from 11-15 pounds, while female cats weigh from 7-12 pounds. The height of the cat varies from 11-14 inches and the length varies from 12-17 inches. 

Colors

American Shorthair cats come in a wide range of colors and patterns. Although the most common one is the silver tabby one, there are more fascinating colors and patterns of this amazing cat breed.

From solid, calico, tortoiseshell, bicolor, and particolored patterns to colors like smoke, brown, black, white blue, and even red –- you can find these cats in different patterns and colors. White, blue, and red colors are quite rare, but you can still find them among purebred cats. 

Health Issues

American Shorthair cats are usually healthy cats, but there are still some breeds that suffer from potential health issues. 

Common health issues in this cat breed include hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, heart, and renal diseases. Among the heart problems, the most common issue is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy-a heart muscle disease that occurs in the presence of a thyroid gland disorder. 

Common symptoms of this disease include labored and rapid breathing, poor appetite, and weight imbalance. 

Renal diseases in American Shorthair are quite rare, but you can still find urinary tract infection and polycystic renal disease in some breeds. Changes in urination habits can indicate that your cat is suffering from renal disease.

Hyperthyroidism and diabetes can be evidenced in American Shorthair cats from changes in weight, hyperactivity, thirst, and vomiting. If your cat is going through any of these changes, we recommend consulting a vet as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis and specific treatment.

Price

What do American Shorthair cats cost? The average price varies from $600 to $800. You can find cats for approximately $500 from less-known breeders. Well-known breeders can charge over $1000, and the costs can increase depending on the origin, size, and colors. 

Usually, breeders charge a lot if you’re interested in adopting rare colors like red, white, blue or if you want to adopt a purebred one. The price can exceed $1400-1500 in these cases. However, if you’re fine with adopting a cat of medium size, any available color, and ancestry — you can easily find one within $800.

Final Words

Bringing the discussion to an end, it can be said that American Shorthair cats are wonderful pets to have in the family. Especially if you love cats that are easygoing, social, and have a loving nature-you’re going to be smitten with this particular cat breed.