Thought to have accompanied European settlers onboard ships heading for America at the end of the 19th century for the purpose of vermin management amongst valuable cargo, the American Shorthair made its home and has enjoyed considerable popularity in the States ever since. The Shorthair became one of the Cat Fanciers Association’s five registered breeds in 1906, and it was at the start of the 20th century that a selective program of breeding got underway, intended to develop only the most desirable traits in the breed.
A solid-looking cat with gentle features, the American Shorthair is described as one of the most affectionate and docile breeds of the feline world. With a proportioned frame, a full face and a wide muzzle, the Shorthair is a distinctive and amiable-looking breed that has become a popular family pet. Sometimes referred to as a ‘working cat’ due to its early usage as a pest control animal around the farmstead and onboard ships, the America Shorthair is well suited to active or relaxed domestic living, far from being a lap cat but enjoying the company of its family and acting socially amongst strangers.
Described as an affectionate, gentle and patient breed by enthusiasts and owners, the America Shorthair is highly adaptable to change and is compatible with other house pets, including dogs. Due to its inherent nature, the Shorthair is a recommended breed choice for households with children, as they will complement each other in interaction and play. On average, a healthy American Shorthair at full maturity will weigh 11-15 pounds, with a life expectancy of 15 years. It is not uncommon for the breed to outlive this expectancy, although cats allowed outdoors have a reduced life expectancy due to various threats they may encounter on the outside world.
Although typically healthy, the American Shorthair is susceptible to a number of genetic problems. The most common affliction is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that can have deadly consequences. All cats should be tested for this disease before they are bred from.