The history of this breed is well documented, and it can be said that the Japanese Bobtail enjoyed a colourful past. Believed to have originated around 600-700 AD when Buddhist monks utilised domestic cats to eradicate vermin in the temples, the Japanese Bobtail found itself in a number of working fulfilments, especially when the silk industry was under threat in the 17th century. This industry was central to many people’s livelihoods, yet rats were jeopardising the silkworms and thus damaging the trade. In order to counteract the problem, Japanese authorities made it illegal to own or sell cats, demanding that they all be released onto the streets to help manage the vermin population. Because of this, the Japanese Bobtail became the unofficial street cats of the country and were increasingly populous. Although the breed is rare today, the Bobtail was granted championship status in 1976.
The Japanese Bobtail is a cat of athletic, medium-sized build, with long legs, a triangular-shaped head, pointed ears and striking ovular eyes. Besides its characteristic bobtail, which varies from cat to cat, the breed is recognised for its oriental appearance, with high cheekbones, longer rear legs than front legs, and its distinctive coat. Typically, the coat of the Japanese Bobtail is short and close-fitting, being exceptionally soft to the touch. The coat is observed in a variety of colours and patternings, from tabby (classic, spotted or mackerel) to calico and solid colours. The Japanese Longhair has a more profuse coat with a soft texture that gets denser as it moves down the body.
A highly intelligent and inquisitive breed, nothing will get past the Japanese Bobtail without notice! Generally speaking, the Bobtail has a pleasant personality and temperament, displaying loyalty, love and affection towards its family. Easier to house-train than some other breeds, the Japanese Bobtail benefits from both physical and mental enrichment in its everyday life. Besides this, the cat is described as highly vocal, communicating loudly when it wants your attention, and on average will weigh 8-10 pounds, with a typical life expectancy of 15 years or more.
No genetic or breed-specific health conditions are identified in the Japanese Bobtail, although due to the breed’s relative rarity, these are difficult to accurately determine.