American shorthair cat
Recognized by the CFA, TICA, AACE, ACFA/CAA, CCA-AFC

An especially famous representative of the breed was the lady short hair blazer “India”, who lived in the White House as “first cat” of US President George W. Bush.

American Shorthair

Content

History

The American shorthair cat, the “British short hair” and the “European short hair” they have common ancestors. All of them, direct descendants of “european domestic cat”.

It is not known with certainty when the latter arrived in the United States, but it is very likely that European settlers brought it between the 16th and 17th centuries; in fact, the domestic cat that we know today in the United States clearly shows the traits of their European ancestors. They were excellent hunters and were brought aboard ships during long Atlantic crossings to help protect grain and other food from rodents.. Although some say he came to America on the Mayflower in 1620, others claim that it was already present a few years before. A document of 1609 mentions his presence in Jamestown, the first permanent British settlement in the New World. Other historians claim that it was already there in the early part of the 16th century, since he arrived with the Spanish in Florida. Last but not least, some consider that it arrived much earlier through the island of Newfoundland, where it was introduced by the Vikings around the year 1000.

American shorthair
American shorthair cat showing the effects of the white spot gene. Dustin Warrington, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In any case, the specimens imported to America fulfilled there the same functions that they had in the ships, protecting farms and barns from rodents. Their morphology and color didn't matter too much, as long as they fulfilled their mission. In fact, the American shorthair cat that we know today is the result of strong natural selection: even before the establishment of breeding programs, I already had a robust constitution, a muscular body and strong jaws. Therefore, the selection work that began in the late 19th century had a very healthy starting point and brought them from the barn to the home as pets. They soon became very popular as pets, so some breeders began to study their case. His goal was to create a more refined model; a breed of cats in its own right.

Already in 1895, when the first cat show in American history was held at Madison Square Garden in New York, the call was exposed to the public “Domestic short hair”.

11 years later, in 1906, the Cat Breeders Association was founded (CFA). The Domestic shorthair cat was one of the first five breeds recognized by what remains the main feline organization in the country. Buster Brown, a smoky male with British shorthair blood, was the first recorded individual and, Therefore, the first official representative of the breed.

At the same time, other breeds began to be imported from Western Europe and Turkey, especially Persian and Angora. With their original features that distinguish them strongly from the more cats “classics”, these cats overshadowed the Domestic Shorthair. Some breeders began to cross these three breeds. However, a group of enthusiasts who didn't want to hear this and who wanted to keep the Domestic Shorthair in its original form, started a breeding program to preserve the breed as it was originally. They imposed themselves: crossbreeding of domestic shorthairs was soon frowned upon and breeders tried to preserve the breed's original pattern and temperament.

Years passed, but in the middle of the 20th century, many continued to blame the Domestic Shorthair for its similarity to stray cats, considering it too common. The race was still struggling to establish itself, especially in the face of the popularity of Persian and Angora. Some breeders and hobbyists then became involved so that the distinction between the domestic shorthair cat and the stray cat was recognized by the general public., while arguing that it was in the interest of the race to maintain its own characteristics. In particular, rightly pointed out that it is not possible to compare them: as the latter has not been subjected to any selection work, the physical and mental traits of kittens at birth are much more random and unpredictable than those of a “true” race like him Domestic Shorthair, whose lines are carefully selected by breeders.

However, their efforts did not bear fruit. Over the years 50, a group of breeders started a new selection job, trying to improve the morphology of the Domestic Shorthair to clearly and definitively differentiate it from the street cat. Some chose to improve and distinguish the breed by crossing it with cats Persians. If the tests carried out in this regard at the beginning of the century did not last long because they were not accepted by the majority of breeders, those of this time met a very different fate, and constituted a decisive turning point for the Domestic Shorthair, that many breeders then tried to develop under new characteristics. In fact, his appearance was profoundly modified: his head widened and flattened, his eyes were rounded and his ears were shortened. In addition, crossbreeding allowed the development of new coat colors.

In 1966, the Domestic Shorthair Happened to be called American Shorthair. This new name was intended to signify even more clearly the departure from the alley cat and the creation of a specifically American breed.. In fact, the metamorphosis of the American shorthair has earned him the appreciation of many cat lovers, to the point that it is now one of the 10 America's Most Popular Cat Breeds.

In addition to the CFA, the American Shorthair is recognized, of course, by the TICA (The International Cat Association), another American reference organization, and has been since 1979.

Outside your home country, the story is different. For example, en el Reino Unido, Not yet recognized by the Cat Fancy Governing Council (GCCF). In France, where it is recognized by the Livre Officiel des Origines Félines (LOOF), still a rare breed and at the bottom of the list. The number of people registered annually in the organization is less than 10, and even zero in some years.

Physical characteristics

American shorthair
American shorthair – Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SomewhereInLife

The American shorthair cat is a medium-sized cat that can reach a shoulder height of 30 - 35 centimeters. The cats can weigh between 3 and 5 kg, the males between 4 and 7 kg.

It is a cat semi-cobby. Natural selection has given you a strong body with a pronounced bone structure. Muscular, Atlético, balanced and powerful, gives an impression of strength and harmony. This is the main criterion for judging this breed in feline shows..

His strong chest and shoulders allow him to take big, quick jumps. In fact, the evolution of this cat over the centuries has allowed it to be better and better at hunting.

The legs they are strong and parallel and the legs are well rounded. The tail is thick at the base, medium length and rounded at the tip.

The mandible of the American shorthair cat is strong. The ears are medium in size, slightly open at the base and wide apart. The head is medium in size and well rounded, with a short, slightly sloping nose and plump cheeks. The eyes are large, round and widely spaced, also slightly inclined. They are usually gold or green in color, but in the case of a white coat they are blue, golden or light brown.

The fur it is short but very dense. All cat coat colors are accepted, except for the colourpoint, the lilac, the fawn and the chocolate. Most cats are tabby, Calico, partial, bicolor and tortoiseshell. The classic silver tabby pattern is the most popular of all.

The American shorthair cat it is also late growing. They end up developing between 3 and 4 years of age. However, puberty is early and the first signs are visible from the 7 u 8 months, with the appearance of the first heat in the cat and the development of the testicles in the male.

Last but not least, the sexual dimorphism is quite pronounced in this breed: males are clearly heavier than females, weighing almost twice as much as these.

Character and skills

The American shorthair cat is known for its great adaptability. They are very sociable and get along well with other cats and dogs, as long as they accept them. Is always fair, relaxed and not very aggressive, and is very close to its owner.

American Shorthair
American Shorthair de 14 years, shaded silver, female – Ocdp, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is also quite a playful animal, who always finds an opportunity to have fun. This makes them a perfect breed for children., and generally have no problems with other people's entry into their home. Exemplary companion for the whole family, they are also very suitable for the elderly, as long as they can satisfy your need for activity. However, although they always enjoy a place on the couch with their owner, some individuals do not like to be worn.

However, but the American shorthair cat is very close to humans, it is also a very independent breed of cats: he likes to have time to be alone, to rest or to escape, and it's not uncommon for it to disappear for a whole day. They remain active well into old age.

In addition, you have to be very careful if you have to live with a rodent or a bird, as you are likely to consider it prey. Therefore, it is advisable to ensure that these animals do not come into contact with each other, or even avoid such coexistence. In effect, even if you are used to rodents and / or birds since you are young, still has a strong hunting instinct.

Due to his ability to take care of himself, prolonged absences of their owners are unlikely (for example, when they are at work) make you unhappy or cause separation anxiety. In fact, it's perfectly possible to go on vacation without your cat without feeling guilty or worried, since he is perfectly capable of taking care of himself. It is only necessary to organize from time to time that a friend, a neighbor or a cat visitation service come check that everything is fine, to fill their bowls and change their litter tray.

On the other hand, although its proximity to its owners makes it unlikely that it will escape, However, is very attracted to the outside world, which can lead you to get a long way from home. For this reason, it is essential that your cat is identified with a microchip or a tattoo, which is mandatory in many countries, like france, Belgium and Switzerland. In addition, It may be wise to invest in a GPS cat collar, that lets you know where your cat is at all times, and thus avoid worrying absences.

Smart and savvy, they understand very quickly the rules imposed by their owners, which makes them an easy breed of cats to train. It is also a silent cat breed, that meows very little.

Care "American shorthair cat"

Indoor or outdoor cat?

It is clearly a breed of cat made to live outdoors, and that is where he exercises his greatest talent, the one that for centuries earned him his popularity in his country of origin: the one of formidable hunter. Even today, still very popular on farms and in barns, both in the United States and in other countries. Even when you don't live in those places, he is likely to return regularly from his walks in the open air with dead prey as a gift for his dear master. In any case, a American shorthair cat living in a dead end apartment would be an unhappy existence, since it would be contrary to their true nature.

How much activity does the "American shorthair cat"?

The American shorthair cat it is a very active cat that needs a lot of exercise. It is advisable to regularly spend time playing with her, as you tend to be overweight so you can feel comfortable. Cat trees and toys are a must for him. He also likes intelligence toys, in which you have to fish for treats from the containers, for example, and that they pose a challenge not only physical but also mental. However, she also needs her rest periods and if she wants to retire, you must take it into account.

Health and nutrition

The majority of the American shorthair cats they are usually healthy, resistant and long-lived.

American Shorthair
American shorthair domestic cream colored kitten – Blueciel8, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

However, since the breed has undergone a certain selection work throughout its history, it's advisable, before buying a kitten from an American shorthair breeder, ask about the possible history of the line to which it belongs.

It is important to know that this cat has a predisposition to feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. (MCH), a heart disease that involves a poor ejection of blood from the heart. It leads to a slow death of the animal, and there is currently no real treatment for it.

Some individuals may also be affected by polycystic kidney disease. (PKD), a disease that causes cysts to form in the kidneys, causing its malfunction. There is no cure for this hereditary and deadly disease.

Last but not least, the fact that he especially likes the outdoors and spends a lot of time in it implies that you have to be very careful with vaccinations and deworming the cat, as well as with your general veterinary care. This is essential to prevent -or, failing that, quickly detect- any form of disease that can be contracted by contact with other cats or the outside world.

Life expectancy

15 years

Food

You will have to be a little careful with your food and watch what you eat, because as already said tends to be overweight. When choosing food, look for a high-quality composition with a lot of protein and few carbohydrates. In no case should food contain sugar. Cats can also get diabetes from too much sugar and, Unfortunately, often used as a flavor enhancer in cat food.

Buy a "American shorthair cat"

A American shorthair cat costs between 600 euros and 1.100 euros in a serious breeder. This may seem like a lot to a kitten at first glance., but it must be borne in mind that responsible breeding involves many costs. A pregnant cat has to go to the vet regularly and, In addition, small cats have already been tested, dewormed and vaccinated when they move in with you. Before the twelfth week, the cat should not be separated from its family.

Characteristics "American shorthair cat"

Coexistence is important that you have with your new friend. Before considering the acquisition of a cat of the breed "American shorthair cat" you know certain factors. You must take into account their character, their need for exercise, their interaction with other pets, your care and if you have young children, their level of tolerance towards them.

Playfulness

Rated 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Activity level

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Friendliness to other pets

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Friendliness to children

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Grooming requirements

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Vocality

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1 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Need for attention

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Affection towards its owners

Rated 3 out of 5
3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Docility

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4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Intelligence

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3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Independence

Rated 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Hardiness

Rated 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Videos "American shorthair cat"

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