Since July is a month where we celebrate our patriotism here in the United States, I thought a truly American breed would be quite suitable. The American Shorthair cat is actually in the top 10 most popular cat breeds!According to my veterinarian, both Cinco and Manna are American Shorthair cats. My guess is that they are actually mixed breed cats that most closely resemble American Shorthair cats. It has become a bit of a generic label meaning “I don’t really know what breed this short haired cat is,” but there actually is a specific American Shorthair breed.

The Making of the American Shorthair

 American Shorthair cats Cinco and Manna

Manna (top) and Cinco (bottom) ; Do you think they are of the American Shorthair breed?

Much like many American humans are descendants of European humans, American Shorthair cats are descendants of European Shorthair cats. By the time that the early settlers came to America, the Europeans had discovered just how handy cats can be.  The shorthair breeds (like the British Shorthair) were very good mousers. Having such a cat around could help save someone’s grain supplies from being ravaged by rodents and it kept the plague at bay. The hunting talents of the shorthair cats gained them the status of a “working cat.”

Having a good mouser on board a ship was absolutely essential . A ship going on a long voyage had to carefully calculate the amount of food and supplies that would be needed. Only amount of supplies could fit on board. If rodents were to eat or destroy any of the supplies in the midst of the journey, it could mean starvation for the people aboard. The ship’s cat(s) had a very important duty to control the rodent population.

When the Pilgrims first came over to America on the Mayflower, there was undoubtedly a cat or two with them. These study working cats would become the basis for the American Shorthair breed (originally known as the Domestic Shorthair). As more cats came over from Europe and breeders bred the cats to be the best working cats possible, the American Shorthair gained it’s own unique style. It was one of the first 5 cat breeds to be accepted by the cat fancier’s associations in the early 1900’s.

An American Beauty

American Shorthair Cats - ASH Russeller’s Cleopatra of Solid Fold

An offical American Shorthair cat from a cat show. Photo Credit: NickolasTitkov

The American Shorthair is a medium-sized, muscular cat. Similar to their British Shorthair relatives, they are very healthy, hardy cats. Many American Shorthair cats even retain their ability to hunt after all these years of being bred as pets. Their faces have a round, wide appearance with wide set eyes and a slightly square jaw. The American Shorthair’s coat is, of course, short, dense, and harder in texture. Their coats are found in a wide variety of colors and patterns.Very little grooming is needed for the American Shorthair’s coat.

The American Shorthair Purrsonality

It’s not really all that surprising that the American Shorthair is one of the most popular cat breeds. They are relatively calm, adaptable cats with very few health problems. The American Shorthair is known for it’s patience with children. They are intelligent, curious, and playful even into their old age. They are interested in everything they come across! Females tend to be busier than the very easy-going males. Overall they make great, devoted, pets and family members.

Do you know any American Shorthair cats?

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