The American Shorthair is known to have a lovely nature and loves to be around people. However, they have kept their instinct to hunt which means you'll never have any mice problems around the home if you share your house with one of these felines. For decades, American Shorthairs have found their way into many people's hearts and homes and today are one of the most popular breeds to own as a family pet on the planet.
The American Shorthair is believed to have arrived on US shores in the seventeenth century when the Mayflower docked at Plymouth in Massachusetts. The breed's strong hunting instinct saw them being valued members of a ship's crew because they proved to be an effective way of keeping the rat population down. Some people think these lovely cats might have even been taken over to America way before when settlers arrived in the New World. There are stories of them being taken to Newfoundland by the Vikings but whenever they arrived on US shores, the American Shorthair we see today is indeed the descendant of these seafaring felines.
As time passed the cats found their place onshore in many different homes and work places including farms and shops all due the fact they were such extraordinarily good "ratters". Their talents are even documented in journals of the period where they were credited for saving crops from pests like chipmunks and squirrels.
Over the next couple of hundred years, the American Shorthair was to become one of the most popular breeds in the US and elsewhere in the world. In 1906, the breed was recognised by the Cat Fanciers Association and by 1966, they were given their name of American Shorthair as a way to differentiate these lovely felines from other breeds which are also known as shorthairs and which originate in the US. Today, all cat registries recognise the American Shorthair.
American Shorthairs are stocky, sturdy looking cats with muscular, strong bodies. They are extremely agile with a build that's perfect for stalking their prey. They are medium sized felines that typically weigh in at anything between 7 to 12 lbs although some cats are quite large but they are always just that little bit longer than they are tall. They have lovely large heads and full-cheeks, traits that give them such a sweet appeal. Ears are rounded and their eyes are large and wide. The breed boasts a short, thick coat and they come in a variety of colours and lovely patterns which includes tabby, calico, tortoiseshell, solid and a lot of others with the silver tabby being one of the most popular around.
The American Shorthair might be one of the best "ratters" on the planet, but the other thing they excel at is their ability to adapt which means they make wonderful family pets. The breed is known to be nice tempered and calm but they enjoy playtime and interacting with the people they love too. However, American Shorthairs are never ultra demanding. They are very clever felines and are sociable even with people they don't know. The one thing they are not particularly fond of is being carried around and they are not very keen on being a "lap cat" although as with most cats, some of them will adore sitting on an owner's lap when they can. An American Shorthair, however, would always be willing to share a cosy spot right next to their owners on a comfy sofa or at the end of a bed.
American Shorthairs are a perfect choice as a family pet because they get on well with children and other animals, including a family dog. They adore playing games but nothing too rough which means they are not the best choice for families with very young toddlers. If you have any small pets whether birds, hamsters or other small pets, you may need to keep an eye on your pussy-cat because they are very keen hunters and the temptation might be a little too much for them.
In general American Shorthairs are healthy felines but you should always make sure you buy your pet from a reputable breeder who takes great care not to breed from any cats that are prone to health issues. One of the health problem the breed is known to suffer from is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is a heart disease. However, nobody knows whether it is genetic health issue or not.
Caring for a American Shorthair
American Shorthairs are relatively easy to take care for when it comes to grooming and typically only need brushing a couple of times a week. When it comes to shedding, the level really does depend on the time of year with cats shedding less over the winter months than they do in the spring and during the summer. If you buy or adopt a young American Shorthair, you should teach them to let you brush their teeth because it's the best way of reducing the risk of periodontal disease. It is also a very good idea to check their ears on a regular basis to make sure there are no mites or infections.
You need to watch their weight because American Shorthairs love their food which means they are prone to put on the pounds very easily. Like all cats, they don't like using dirty litter trays and will not use one if it is placed too near their feed or water bowls. American Shorthairs make wonderful indoor or outdoor pets and become valued members of a family living for anything between 15 to 20 years if well cared for and fed a well balanced diet. Regular visits to the vet are a must for health checks and to have annual vaccinations.
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