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American Shorthair Breed Description

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Breed Organization

TICA Executive Office

The Cat Fanciers' Association

Native Country
United States Of America

Other Names

Coat Length

Life Expectancy
Approximately 15+ Years

General Description

Although it is not an extremely athletic cat, the American Shorthair has a large, powerfully-built body. According to the breed standard of the Cat Fanciers' Association, the American Shorthair is a true breed of working cat. They have round faces and short ears.

According to the CFA, American Shorthairs are low-maintenance cats that are generally healthy, easy-going, affectionate with owners and social with strangers. Males are significantly larger than females, weighing eleven to fifteen pounds when fully grown. Mature females weigh six to twelve pounds when they achieve full growth at three to four years of age. With a quality diet and plenty of attention, love, and care, they can live 15 years or longer, requiring annual vaccinations and veterinary checkups. These cats have solidly built, powerful, and muscular bodies with well-developed shoulders, chests, and hindquarters.

The American Shorthair is recognized in more than eighty different colors and patterns ranging from the brown-patched tabby to the blue-eyed white, the shaded silvers, smokes and cameos to the calico van, and many colors in between. Some even come in deep tones of black, brown, or other blends and combinations. Generally, only cats showing evidence of crossbreeding resulting in the colors chocolate, sable, lavender, lilac, or the point-restricted pattern of the Siamese family are disqualified from being shown.

Breed Standard

Head: Broad and rounded; medium in size. Moderately convex rise from the bridge of the nose to the forehead. Definite jowls in mature males. Square, not overly short muzzle. Medium length nose. Square, firm chin. Strong jaws.
Eyes: Medium to large, round and set well apart. Outer corners set slightly higher than inner corners. Color appropriate to coat color.
Neck: Medium in length, muscular and strong.
Body: Medium to large in size. Slightly longer than tall, not elongated. Broad chest, particularly in mature males. Well-developed shoulders. Medium boned and powerfully built.
Paw: Medium in length and heavily muscled. Paws are medium in size and rounded.
Tail: Medium in length, heavy at the base and tapering to a rounded tip. Carried nearly in line with the back.
Coat: Short, thick, and glossy, lying close to the body. Thick undercoat in winter. All colors permissible except chocolate, lilac and colorpoint.


This even-tempered European immigrant is an excellent hunter The American Shorthair's counterpart is the British Shorthair and the European Shorthair. Early immigrants arrived in the United States with cats that adapted well to the harsh climate of the northern states. This breed is the result of selectively breeding common "alley cats" with other imported breeds, such as the British Shorthair, Burmese, and Persian. In 1904, the C.F.A. registered the first American Shorthair - Buster Brown, a male smoke descended from a British Shorthair. This breed was called American Shorthair until the 1960s, when the breed was officially recognized as the American Shorthair in 1966. The F.I.Fe. does not recognize the breed. The American Shorthair is rare in Europe. The breed is highly prized in Japan and very popular in the United States.


This calm, easygoing cat adores its owner. The American Shorthair is playful, athletic, and very social. This hardy, solidly built cat reaches puberty early (around seven or eight months of age). Care is simple. Weekly brushing is sufficient, but should increase to daily during shedding season. An American Shorthair should be bathed three to seven days prior to a show.


American Shorthair's are known as a very hearty breed "low maintenance".

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