American Shorthairs are some of the most popular cats on the planet. This breed is the pedigree of the domestic shorthair. Thanks to careful breeding program recordings, each American kitty consistently comes out with his or her own unique quality. The variety of physical features of the American cat is mind-boggling- they come in a bevy of colors, patterns and eye color, set atop large eyes and a short, straight coat.
The American is well-mannered, which borders on sweet when it comes to their owners, has some good looks and is capable of adapting to any home environment. Its history is that of a rags-to-riches story. Breeders chose only the finest North American shorthairs to preserve the American’s striking coat, its beautiful face and easygoing nature.
Getting an American Shorthair means having a sweet companion in the long-term. You’ll be blessed with a loving cat who really knows how to make his or her owners feel like they’re the luckiest cat owners in the world!
- 1 History of American Shorthair Cats
- 2 Size of the American Shorthair
- 3 Personality of the American Shorthair
- 4 American Shorthair Kittens
- 5 Breeding
- 6 American Shorthair Health
- 7 Care of the American Shorthair
- 8 Litter Box Training
- 9 American Shorthair Nutrition
- 10 Coat and Eye Colors
- 11 American Shorthair Grooming
- 12 Children and Other Pets
History of American Shorthair Cats
Despite what the name suggests, Americans don’t really come from the U.S.- they started out in the other continent, Europe! Through migration, early settlers, pilgrims and sailors brought Americans along the Mayflower as pets or as mousers. Americans were commonly seen side-by-side with owners and eventually, they were given the title of “North America’s native shorthaired cat”.
By the turn of the 19th century, breeders started extracting the finest qualities of the American. The CFA officially recognized the breed in 1906, along with a name change from Domestic Shorthair to American Shorthair in 1966. A pedigreed American will consistently produce litters that have the same temperament, coat quality and physical conformation as compared to random-bred cats.
Shawnee Trademark, a silver-coated tabby won the CFA Best Cat of the Year in 1965. Two other Americans followed- Hedgewood’s Greatest American Hero in 1984 and in 1996, Sol-Mer Sharif.
Size of the American Shorthair
Male Americans are quite larger than their female counterparts and weigh somewhere between 11 to 15 lbs, while the females weigh somewhere between 6 to 12 lbs. The breed’s size is medium and well-muscled, which makes the feline physically capable of exerting considerable strength. The thick coat helps the cat in keeping warm. Rounding out the aspect of the American are strong jaws, a brawny muzzle, muscular necks, a broad chest and equally strong legs.
Personality of the American Shorthair
Americans are generally likeable because they are affectionate, laid back and make for pleasant companions. It’s not too reserved, too demonstrative and it doesn’t crave for attention. Cat lovers who want a relaxed cat who sits on their lap and settles in should get an American.
All this cat needs is a bit of sunlight, a warm porch and plenty of scenery. They especially love watching birds and can while away hours just by watching birds build nests or sing their songs. A well-socialized American kitten will grow up to be a delight to both family members and guests alike.
American Shorthair Kittens
Responsible American owners should not consider giving their kittens to new homes until they’re properly vaccinated, inoculated and socialized. A good timeframe for selling should be after 12 to 16 weeks, or when the kitten displays social and physical stability for transport or for showing. Interested owners of the American should always ask for parental histories and medical records.
Moreover, they won’t reach full maturity until they’re about 3 or 4 years old. It will be best to create a safe, secure and loving environment for your American until they reach this age. Block off hazards and watch over your American as if he or she were a young child.
Picking out an American breeder should be done with care and thorough research. This means you shouldn’t simply get a cat from the nearest pet store or cattery. The American Shorthair breed is officially a pedigree, recognized by cat associations all over the world, so if you see an incredibly cheap one for sale, then chances are that it’s a mixed feline or a street variety, or worse, comes with various health conditions and diseases. Reputable breeders can provide you with health and pedigree certifications along with initial vaccination records.
You can also consider adopting one from local shelters and rescues. Visit nearby clinics or online and see if there’s one awaiting a loving home.
American Shorthair Health
An American is a true, working-class cat and therefore should be hale, hearty and possess considerable strength and agility. With a well-balanced diet and adequate exercise, Americans are easy to care for and keep healthy. Don’t forget to include regular check-ups with the vet and yearly vaccinations. This hardy breed can bring close companionship that can last 15 years or more!
Regular cat maintenance and upkeep is still a necessity, though. You will need to pay attention to your American’s eyes, ears, teeth and coat. Some kitties may experience a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, so it’s best to ask your breeder about the cat’s history line and if there have been any genetic testing done.
Care of the American Shorthair
American owners will be delighted to know that this cat variety doesn’t need a lot of brushing and attention. An American will show interest if you want to play, but more often than not it will bring you a toy if they’re ready and in the mood.
These cats can be left for a few hours without worrying about coming home to a wrecked sofa, furniture or torn pillows. A weekly interaction, preferably with a toy or puzzle should keep your pet in good shape. The daily sessions should include activities that appeal to your cat’s base nature, notably exploration and hunting. Scratch posts, toy fishing rods and puzzles that reward with treats should suffice.
Provide areas where there’s even surface, a litter box, fresh water and your American will be happy and content.
Litter Box Training
All cat varieties regardless of breed will need a consistently clean litter box. It’s one of the main responsibilities of a cat owner and something that must be done everyday. The rule of thumb is that one litter box should be alloted to each cat in the house.
Americans are easily housebroken, so don’t expect a lot of accidents on your carpet or your favorite shoes. If you cat starts having accidents and they avoid the litter box, then it could be time to visit a professional vet for a health check-up.
American Shorthair Nutrition
Make sure your beloved cat gets the nutrition it needs. A well-balanced diet may constitute a mix of both dry and wet food containing nutrients that are age-appropriate. Americans are muscular and may act like lazybones sometimes but you should keep an eye out on his or her weight.
If possible, initiate an exercise routine each day to keep your cat in tip-top shape. Go for laser-chasing sessions, balls, yarn or interactive cat trees to keep your cat occupied throughout the day. Also, it’s important to keep your pet hydrated with clean, fresh water. If you have the budget, install a flowing fountain or add ice cubes in the drinking bowl.
Coat and Eye Colors
The American’s coat can come in more than 80 different kinds and varieties! Moreover, they can be bred to assume any pattern-color combination. Some of the more common ones include orange, cameo, brown, cream, red, blue, black, white and silver. Patterns can be smoke, bi-colored, shaded, tortoiseshell, tabby, etc. For example, a popular coat combination of an American Shorthair is that of sterling silver with black markings.
The eyes can be hazel, gold, green, copper, blue or have two different colors (called odd-eyed).
American Shorthair Grooming
Understandably, an American’s coat should get thicker come winter time, so it’s in your best interest to maintain a daily brushing regimen. Owners must understand that brushing is especially important when a cat’s coat is thickening or thinning to untangle knots and prevent matting.
An American may not be suitable for individuals who have allergies. Though they have a relatively short coat and don’t shed as much as others, the breed still has a tendency to release a lot of Fel-d1 allergens, which can cause discomfort in a sensitive household.
Brush your American’s teeth twice a week, then check for buildup of debris and wax in her ears. Clean them out as necessary.
Children and Other Pets
The good news is that American Shorthairs are capable pets that complement children and other animals in your household. They can grow up to be full-fledged members, playmates and gentle companions with the right amount of care.
Americans are genial and act calmly around dogs, children and other cats. Seniors, singles, empty nesters, small and large families can count on the American to enrich their lives. In just a short time this breed will become quite attached to you or your family. They learn tricks easily and can spend time by themselves with minimal supervision. Remember to keep an eye out when small children and your American interact and play together to prevent injuries and accidents.
Gradually introduce a new pet to the family in a controlled environment. Add new feeding bowls and litter boxes as needed.