The most popular breed of cat in the United States is the American Shorthair, as both its appearance and temperament contribute to it being a wonderful family pet. This feline breed is thought to have ties to British domestic cats, which accompanied America’s earliest settlers as they came arrived by ship. Their presence on ships was utilitarian in nature, as they protected cargo from rodents during the long voyage. In addition to this, they were also found to be great company, paving the way for breeding and domestication in North America.
Once off the ships, the British cats grew acclimated to a new land and climate and soon the American version of this breed became larger and more muscular than its European relatives. The long history and continued popularity of this breed are a testament to its beloved personality and its usefulness in catching rats and mice.
The American Shorthair was once referred to as the Domestic Shorthair. It was renamed in the 1960s to distinguish it from other domestic and shorthair breeds.
The appearance of the American Shorthair cat varies, as there are dozens of colours and multiple colour patterns. Common solid colours include black, blue, cream, silver and white. The coat of this feline may also be a tabby, calico or tortoiseshell patterned. As its name suggests, the fur is short and is also thick and prone to shedding. Its climate may dictate the thickness of the fur as well as its shedding habits.
This breed is medium to large in size with males being generally bigger than females. The average weight is approximately 4-7 kg. The American Shorthair cat has a strong and hardy physique with a broad, muscular body and legs. Its large, round eyes come in a variety of colours, though all cats of this breed wear an intelligent and alert expression. While many cat breeds have ears that are triangular in shape, the American Shorthair’s ears have a rounded tip. Its nose is also slightly inset, further distinguishing its appearance from other types of cats.
In terms of being a family pet, the low-maintenance American Shorthair cat is a wonderful choice. Known for its pleasant and outgoing nature, it is affectionate and loyal to its owner and family. It is generally known to get along well with other household animals and children.
The American Shorthair cat can generally adapt to indoor or outdoor life, though health risks increase dramatically when a cat spends time outside. If it goes outdoors, this breed will likely engage in hunting, with its prey being small birds, mice and baby rabbits. Proper veterinary care is needed to ensure that the American Shorthair cat does not acquire injuries or contract diseases due to time spent outside the home.
It is not uncommon for healthy cats of this breed to live 14-20 years. A healthy lifestyle, including diet, exercise and regular veterinary checkups can help prolong the American Shorthair cat’s life.