Some cats are meant to stand out! The American Bobtail cat breed is known for its unique, short tail. These kitties are in high demand because of their wild looks and homegrown hearts. Could your family fall in love with one of these cats?
Title Photo Credit: torbakhopper via Flickr
American Bobtail Beauty
At first glance, an American Bobtail cat can look a lot like a wild bobcat! These medium to large cats have a very muscular, athletic build with a broad chest and rectangular body shape. Their long hind legs and prominent shoulder blades along with their rolling gait give them that wildcat type of motion. Those almond-shaped eyes give them the gaze of a true hunter.
While any coat color or pattern is accepted on the American Bobtail, there are only 2 coat lengths. First is a dense, shorthaired coat. The other is a medium-longhaired coat that is still very dense and plush.
The most prominent feature of the American Bobtail cat is the distinctly shortened tail. These tails are not cut or cropped, they are the product of genetics. This dominant gene is probably the same gene that causes the shortened tail in Manx cats. On average, the tail is between 1 and 4 inches (2.54 – 10.16 cm). Each American Bobtail cat’s tail is different. They can be straight, curved, kinked, or even have bumps throughout the length. Despite its shorter length, these tails are still quite expressive!
There are no medical issues related to these shortened tails unless the cat has no tail at all. Rumpies (cats with no tails) may have an underdeveloped spine that can lead to incontinence and other medical issues. This is called Manx Syndrome. It is important to have a rumpy examined by a veterinarian to fully understand and treat their condition. These can still make great pets!
The Bobtail Tale
No one is certain how long the American Bobtail breed has been in existence. It appears to be a naturally occurring breed that is native to North America. Rumors have swirled that they are the result of domestic cats and wild Bobcats mating, but this is unlikely to be true. In all likelihood, the hybrid kittens would be sterile (particularly males) and unable to continue the breed.
The official start of the American Bobtail cat breed was in the 1960’s. While vacationing at a Native American reservation in Arizona in the 1960’s, the Sanders’ spotted a unique stray cat with a short tail. They decided to adopt the cat, named him Yodi, and brought him home with them to Iowa. Once at home, Yodi mated with their Siamese female cat and produced a litter of kittens with short tails.
Friends of the Sanders’, Mindy Shultz and Charlotte Bentley, took a liking to the bobtail kittens. They decided to begin an official effort to create a new cat breed. At first, they attempted to keep the Himalayan-like look of the cats as a part of the breed standard. However, this led to an inbred breeding stock. Changes had to be made to the breed in order for the cats to be healthy.
Later, cat breeder from across the US and Canada joined in the attempt to create and official American Bobtail breed with hearty genetics. They began using feral cats that had the bobtail feature in their breeding stock. This is how the coat colors and combinations got to be so diverse in the breed. Now they had a healthy, gorgeous cat breed.
Currently, most breeders have stopped using feral cats in their breeding stock. Cat fancier groups also do not allow the use of Japanese Bobtail cats or Manx cats in the American Bobtail breed. These cats have become very popular with cat lovers!
Wild Look, Domestic Personality
An American Bobtail may look like a wild hunter, but they love to be around their human family! Rather than attaching to just one person, these cats will fall in love with a whole family. They are super sweet and attentive to their human’s moods. The American Bobtail is a great choice for an emotional support cat.
The American Bobtail has plenty of energy without being demanding of yours. They love to hang out with and initiate games with their favorite people. Fetch and Hide and Go Seek are some of their favorite games. They will get along great with children, dogs, and other pets. Don’t mistake these cats for dummies, though! They are known for their intelligence and ability to pull off Houdini-like escapes.
Do you like to travel? American Bobtail cats make great travel companions. Just get them used to the car at an early age! Over-the-road truck drivers love having these kitties as companions. These cats also don’t mind being leash trained at taken for walks around the neighborhood.
If you are considering adding an American Bobtail cat to your family, check out these adoptable kitties on PetFinder!