The Japanese Bobtail has been a favourite cat of Japan for centuries, and can be seen depicted in ancient art, as well as the ceramic ‘maneki-neko’ -beckoning cat -with one raised paw. These little ceramic cats are often seen outside Japanese homes or shops or in restaurants and are believed to be a good-luck charm.

Physical features

The eyes of this cat are slightly slanted and the cat itself is sleek and elegant in appearance.

Coat: The coat is soft and silky, and may be short or semi-long, the short-haired variety being much more common. It can come in a variety of solid or mixed colours. The favourite is the tri-colour bright calico or ‘mi-ke’, meaning ‘three-fur’. The long-haired cat may develop a ruff in the colder months and has a distinctly fluffy little tail.

Tail: One of the really unique features of this breed is the tail. It is naturally very small and is never docked. The interesting thing about the tail is that each one is totally unique in the way that fingerprints are on humans. Some cats have a tail like a pom-pom, while others have one which is like a little brush, or even a corkscrew. Some bobtails can wag their tails while others cannot. In the long-hair the tail is usually very fluffy and its fur may fan outwards.

Body: This is a medium-sized cat, being between 2.3 and 4.5kgs. The head of the cat is of a triangular shape, with long cheekbones and a chiselled appearance. It has large ears and slightly slanted eyes. The body is long and lean, but strong and quite muscular and its legs are long with small oval paws.

Eyes: These cats tend towards silver-blue or gold eyes, but some may have two differently coloured eyes and this is quite acceptable in the Breed Standard.

Nature and temperament: Japanese Bobtails are not a timid or nervous cat, rather they are quite fearless, active and strong-willed, as well as affectionate and playful. They adapt well to their surroundings and may even learn dog-like behaviours such as fetching things and walking on a lead. They are very social and like the company of other cats and are not easily intimidated by dogs, or children, with whom they can play happily. They are trainable and intelligent, but it can be hard to deter them from doing something they really want to do, since they tend to be little bothered by their owner’s disciplinary measures!

Health and grooming: This breed appears to have little in the way of hereditary disease. The shortened tail is a natural mutation but there is no spinal abnormality as in the Manx. The long-haired variety will need regular grooming of its coat, particularly when shedding.

Suitability as a pet: Being an active playful breed, prone to mischief, and not a lap-pet, these cats would probably not be ideal for a single-person household, but better suited to family living where they will have plenty of company to keep them entertained and happy.