American Shorthair

American Shorthair
12 to 15
7 to 12
life span
15 to 20
United States
Affectionate with Family
Amount of Shedding
General Health
Potential for Playfulness
Kid Friendly
Friendly Toward Strangers
Easy to Groom
Pet Friendly

The American Shorthair is a domesticated cat breed that originated in Europe, and was brought over by early settlers. This cat breed was a ratter used to protect cargo on ships from mice. This is a pedigreed cat breed that is accepted by all North American cat registries.

Brief History

The American Shorthair sailed with sailors from Europe to North America. Many travelled on the Mayflower with the Pilgrims and interbred. They developed special traits to survive the U.S climate and lifestyle. By the beginning of the 20th century, a selective breeding program stipulated the American Shorthair breed standards. This breed was first named the Domestic Shorthair. This changed in 1966 when it was changed to the American Shorthair. This breed is a working cat breed, since it originally was used to kill mice on board ships.

Physical Description

American Shorthair Lies is lying

The American Shorthair is large and powerful. With a round face and short ears, this cat breed has a well-built body, and a strong chest, powerful shoulders and hindquarters. Males are larger than females. The coat can be one of eighty colors and patterns ranging from brown tabby to a shady silvery coloring. The coat length is short with moderate shedding. During the cold winter months the coat is thicker and longer. Numerous American Shorthairs will have black or brown coloring. Eye color can be green, gold, hazel, blue, copper, or odd-eyed. This breed is not very athletic. By 2012 this cat breed was the seventh most popular cat breed in the U.S.


The American Shorthair breed is a relaxed cat breed that enjoys being pampered. This cuddly cat breed thrives with lots of cuddles and cute cat toys. This cat breed is so laid back, and is low maintenance. The American Shorthair loves to hunt and sunbathe. Early socialization during kittenhood helps all cats get along with guests and other animals. This cat breed is very affectionate, and does well with indoor living.

Leash walking is also popular with the American Shorthair. This cat breed is easy to live with, as they are not overly vocal or quirky. Positive clicker training with rewards works best with the cat to prevent excessive scratching in the wrong places. This breed learns quickly, and is wonderful to live with. Providing your cat with scratching posts, clean litter boxes, stimulating and safe cat toys, help to ensure a well-balanced and happy cat.

Special Needs

American Shorthair Lies is lying on sofa

The American Shorthair does best as an indoor cat. This cat breed thrives on affection, and plenty of cat toys. This cat breed is docile, and does well with apartment living or home living. The American Shorthair needs to be indoors during the hot summer months, as it is may be heat sensitive. It is a wonderfully easy cat breed to live with, but does need mental stimulation. The American Shorthair gets bored when alone for long periods of time. Inactive cats tend to pick up weight, and are prone to more medical conditions, like liver disease. Healthy nutrition needs to be a priority with this cat breed.

Exercising cats is more difficult than with dogs, yet cat parents can do so by purchasing certain cats toys to promote exercise. Litter box training needs to start during kittenhood. All cats are super clean animals, so it is very easy to litter box train. Litter boxes for cats need to be kept clean, or your cat may not use it. All cats will need parasite control and routine health care throughout its life. This means vaccinating your cats. This is an important part of keeping your cats healthy throughout their lives. Your cat will also need to be spayed or neutered. Weight needs to be closely monitored with the American Shorthair to prevent obesity.

Consult with your veterinarian, and consider pet insurance for your cat.

Possible Health Concerns

The American Shorthair is a healthy and moderately active cat breed that may be susceptible to the following health conditions:

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This is a heart muscle disorder where the heart walls of the left ventricle thicken. This results in the walls becoming stiffer. This is a common primary heart disease in cats. It tends to get noticed at around 3 months to 17 years of age. Most cats will be middle aged when this disorder occurs. This disorder tends to affect males more than females, and it is an inherited genetic defect. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, weakness or paralysis of the hind limbs. Fluid may also accumulate in the lungs, and in the space between the lungs and chest wall. Veterinary treatment will aim at improving cardiac function, and reducing blood clots. There is a good longterm outlook for mildly affected cats. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.


The American Shorthair cat breed is moderately active, and is a relaxed cat breed. This breed needs daily exercise combined with plenty of mental stimulation through active play and interaction with people. Cat parents can use cat toys like the Mousr or Cat Dancer to get their cats to play. This will encourage your cat to play. Finding a variety of mentally stimulating cat toys will allow for your cat to lead a well-balanced life, with the right amount of exercise and mental stimulation. Cat harnesses also allow for daily walks.

The American Shorthair is a sedate cat breed, that thrives on attention. That said, this cat breed still needs to play and interact with people. Cat gyms, cat scratchers, and interactive cat toys within a cat friendly home environment work best for this fabulous cat breed.

Look out for the latest cat toys like Ripple rug play mats, the Feather Whirls, pet cube toys, food trees, turbo scratcher toys, cat companion interactive toys, and electronic motion toys. Poly Rattan weaved cat scratchers make for longer lasting cat scratching posts. They are more durable, and built to last. Hemp toys for cats are irresistible. Some come with colorful feathers and hemp cord allowing for longer playtime with your feline. Chasing, hunting, and attacking toys are some of the methods that cats will use when playing with interactive toys.

Look out for safe TPA material that have no toxic BPA or BHT.Cat parents can add in treats so that cats can “hunt” the treats to get their food.


American Shorthair Lies is lying on sofa

The American Shorthair cat breed will need proper nutrition. That said, a high-quality diet that is appropriate for the specific life stage of the cat is necessary. Protein as an ingredient, needs to come first.

Today there are numerous options for cat food. Some cats may prefer a single protein, while others may prefer variety. There are also grain-free and gluten-free cat food options, as well as Kosher. Game meats are also being used for super-premium canned cat foods. These are grain-free and good for cats with food sensitivities or allergies. Pet parents can also opt for combination canned foods that offer salmon, chicken, duck liver, pheasant, and even fruits and veggies. Some brands offer seaweed with ocean crabmeat and tuna with a healthy gravy.

Dry cat food is a popular choice because it promotes healthier gums and teeth. Yet wet food is more often recommended by veterinarians because it provides more moisture to cats. Look for cat treats that are higher in moisture than the norm. Cats don’t drink a lot of water and tend to sometimes get dehydrated. Wet cat food also has its benefits. By choosing a well-known name- brand cat food that has scientific backing, as well as quality control, cat parents can be assured that they are providing a well-balanced diet.

All cat breeds need high- quality fat and protein in their diets. They also need amino acids, including taurine that cannot be found in either human food or dog food. There are also numerous specialty diets for your cat that are formulated specifically for certain medical problems like urinary tract disorder, obesity, or kidney disease.

All cats do well by being fed twice daily. During kittenhood, kittens will need to be fed every few hours. Growing kittens need more calories, nutrients, vitamins, protein, and calories. Your cat should be able to enjoy a peaceful meal in a quiet corner of the house. Some cat parents prefer to leave cat kibble out 24/7. When looking for a high-quality cat food, here’s what to look out for:

  • No low-quality fillers
  • No artificial additives
  • Low grade ingredients or toxic ingredients
  • All cat food has to be meat-based because all cats are carnivores
  • No garlic
  • Plant-based ingredients should be listed after the protein-based ingredients

Consult with your veterinarian for the best dietary advice for your cat.


The American Wirehair needs occasional grooming. This cat breed has a wiry coat which is springy. This coat does best with minimal fuss. The coat may have a tendency towards being oily, so regular bathing is required. This cat breed sheds moderately. With soft tip massagers that reduce shedding, cat parents can easily enjoy grooming their feline. This cat breed is very affectionate, and bonds with people very easily.

Ears should be checked weekly for cleanliness and sensitivity. If there is a build-up of wax and dirt, organisms can lead to an ear infection. Consult with your veterinarian about ear cleaning.

Healthy cats need minimal bathing with a gentle cat shampoo. Your cat will need dental care as well. By feeding a high-quality cat food, and having professional dental cleanings with your veterinarian throughout your cat’s lifetime, your American Shorthair will have less of a chance of developing gingivitis or gum disease. Small and frequent effective hygiene habits will make a big difference in maintaining healthy skin, healthy teeth, and good overall health. Look for environmentally safe pet products that have natural ingredients.

There are so many wonderful feline products like the warming cat mat that makes grooming comfortable for your American Shorthair. It is designed to help aching joints, and increase blood circulation. Rosemary feline shampoo bars have essential oils that also help to improve circulation, all the while moisturizing hair and skin, and preventing hair loss in your cat.

Adopting an American Shorthair

American Shorthair kitten

The American Shorthair is a laid back cat breed that enjoys being indoors, and around family. This cat does well with either apartment living or home living. Feline pet parents can use live pet grasses that offer a blend of barley, oat and rye, as well as wheat grass option for apartment living.

Consider filling your home with crinkle balls, sisal rollers, and plush feline toys before bringing your American Shorthair home. There are also numerous battery-operated toys that function on their own and spin. These are designed to stimulate a cat’s prey movements, and will encourage your American Shorthair to practice his stalking skills. Free-standing cat scratches, and cat condos help to encourage scratching in the right places. Cat condos are perfect for the newly adopted kitty and offer a place to hide, perch, and scratch!

Cat parents often wonder if they should adopt or purchase. With so many cats up for adoption, it’s the only way to go! When choosing your American Shorthair, ask questions, and look for a great temperament! That said, numerous cats can be quirky at shelters, but soon settle down in their new homes, and become very friendly and sociable. In addition, kittens should be playful and curious.

Sickly kittens that have bad odors or plenty of diarrhea stains, and a dull coat need to be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Kittens when ill, can go downhill very quickly. However, the rewards of adopting a sick animal and caring for it are tremendous, provided that good veterinary care is provided right away. Keep in mind that vaccinations and parasite control are an important part of feline health care.

Your cat will also need to be protected from household hazards, most especially electrical cables, poisonous plants, medication, and open windows. The American Shorthair makes for a wonderful adoption! As usual, make sure that children are always gentle and quiet around your cat.

Give your cat time to adjust to his new surroundings. As with any cat adoption, make sure that you have the time and resources to take good care of your American Shorthair.

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