The American Bobtail is the result of a genetic mutation. The breed appeared spontaneously, with no human intervention. They are by no means a crossbreed, and have no relation to the Japanese Bobtail. Humans simply selected individuals with the same characteristically shorter tail, in order to define the features of the breed and grant it a pedigree. So while this Lynx-like cat may look like a wild feline, this is only in appearance: they are purely domestic cats at heart.
Key facts about the American Bobtail
Origins and history
The American Bobtail is a very recent natural breed. Legend has it that the patriarch of the breed is a brown tabby kitten with a tiny tail that was wandering around a reserve in Arizona in the late sixties. A young American couple on holiday, the Sanders, fell under his spell. They named him Yodi and brought him home with them in Iowa. Yodi wooed the family's cat, a colour-pointed kitten without a pedigree, who then gave birth to a litter of short-tailed kittens. A friend of the Sanders was intrigued by these peculiar kittens and decided to turn them into an official breed. Domestic cats with the characteristic short tail were found throughout the United States and Canada, and their breeders simply helped nature along by breeding these cats together. Along the way, a long-haired cat was introduced into the lineage, which led to the appearance of a variant of the American Bobtail with mid-length hair.
The breed has been recognised by TICA since 1989.
Physical characteristics of the American Bobtail
Female : Between 14 and 16 in
Male : Between 14 and 16 in
They reach full maturity around the age of 2-3 years.
Female : Between 11 and 18 lb
Male : Between 13 and 20 lb
Black / seal, blue / grey-slate, chocolate, lilac / lilac, cinnamon / cinnamon, fawn / fawn, red, white, tortoiseshell (no restrictions)
Type of coat
Short or mid-length, with a good undercoat.
Blue siamese blue, aquamarine, ice blue, white haloed, tonkinese aqua, green, hazel, golden yellow, lemon yellow, amber, copper, orange, blue eyed albino, lilac eyed albino, pink eyed albino, ojas azules, chinchilla turquoise, dichroic eyes (as long as the colour matches the coat, there are no restrictions)
The American Bobtail is a medium to large, semi-cobby cat. Their sturdy bone structure and well-developed musculature, along with their broad chest and slightly arched back (due to longer hind than front legs), give them the appearance of a small Lynx. Their head is broad with prominent cheeks and a strong chin, and a triangular-shaped muzzle a little wider than it is long. Their eyes are big and slightly almond-shaped. Their ears, which are average sized and sit quite low on the skull, each have a small tuft of fur at the end known as “Lynx tips”. The variety with mid-length fur also have tufts of fur between the toes.
But the main feature of this cat is of course their tail! Never absent, but always short, the maximum length is generally towards the tip of the tarsus (the hock). It is covered with fairly long, thick and shaggy fur. It is also extremely expressive, and will hide nothing about the emotional state of its owner.
Good to know
The tail of the American Bobtail varies in length and shape from one cat to another, since the gene responsible is impossible to control. It is also a dominant gene, but is different from the Manx gene, since they always have at least a small tail.
The American Bobtail will seek to bond with all members of the family and can be very affectionate.
This little house cat loves to play hide and seek or fetch with their human. They won’t hesitate to chase insects that venture into the house either, or play pretend with their own toys.
Although playful when they feel like it, they also enjoy the sofa and the warmth of the fireplace.
As a breed that first appeared in the wild, they have all the cognitive skills to survive and fend for themself. They love learning and can even surprise their humans.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Although this varies from one individual to another, the American Bobtail tends to be the first to show up at the door when someone rings the bell, to find out who has come to the house.
These cats prefer to have the company of their humans.
Behaviour of the American Bobtail
This cat prefers to chirp, click and coo rather than miaow.
Need for exercise / Sporty
The American Bobtail only requires moderate exercise, but they will want to play every day.
Tendency to run away
This cat tends not to run away.
Greedy / Gluttony
These is not greedy cats, but the use of an interactive bowl will only do them good.
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American Bobtail and cats
They have a good temperament and adapts rather well with other cats, but a good introduction is still necessary.
American Bobtail and dogs
Often nicknamed “dog-cat”, they will get along well with dogs, as long as they have been properly introduced to one another.
American Bobtail and children
Despite appearances, this cat is very gentle and appreciates the presence of children, as long as there is supervision to ensure playing doesn’t get too intense.
American Bobtail and the elderly
If good care is taken to select an individual whose character is suited to the elderly person in question, some American Bobtails can become their perfect companion.
The average purchase price varies between £450 and £750. Lineage, age, sex, color, etc. are all factors that can change the price. For the monthly budget, the required spend will be around £25 to £35 per month.
Not very demanding, but they will need a gentle brush once a week, perhaps a little more during seasonal moults.
For both short-haired and long-haired varieties, hair loss is not very heavy, except perhaps during moulting periods.
Nutrition of the American Bobtail
They will be happy with a good quality diet, whether that be dry or wet food, or, even better, a combination of the two!
Health of the American Bobtail
They live on average 15 years or more.
Strong / robust
A true North American cat, they are robust and resistant.
Tendency to put on weight
Being a little on the lazy side, they can be more prone to chubbiness.
Reputed for their iron constitution, American Bobtails are rarely sick. They are not, however, immune to the health problems found in all cats. They have a certain vulnerability to periodontal disease (gingivitis and tartar), so preventative measures and dental care are recommended. There are also certain illnesses associated with this particular breed:
- Hip dysplasia, which causes a lameness of one or more hind legs.
- There is also a slightly higher risk of spine problems due to the genetic mutation that shortened the tail.
There are no unique characteristics about the reproduction of this breed.
Good names for an American Bobtail: Ava, Espresso, Kosmic, Phil