American Shorthair

Breed standards: CFA, TICA, ACFA/CAA, CCA-AFC, AACE | Size: Medium | Life expectancy: 13+ years | Temperament: Calm and sociable | Coat: Short | Origin: Europe/North America

The American Shorthair charms people with its innocent appearance and tremendous hunting skills. In colonial times, this breed was charged with guarding grain reserves against rodents. Today, the American Shorthair is an excellent guardian and companion.

The origins of the American Shorthair

The American Shorthair is a very popular cat breed in the United States. Its lineage traces back to the colonial era in the United States, to the time of the Mayflower.

From Europe to North America

The ancestors of the American Shorthair are alley cats that came to the United States with the first American settlers. This cat breed was highly sought after at the time because of its incredible hunting ability. They were able to keep rodents at bay during long voyages. They were therefore brought on ships across the Atlantic to protect food, especially grain, from rodents. On land, these cats were responsible for guarding the grain stores.

A breed resulting from multiple crosses

The American Shorthairs known today are the result of selective breeding. The crossbreeding by breeders began around the 1900s between alley cats and other cat breeds. These breeders aimed to improve the species known until then to make it less rustic and more refined. The Domestic Shorthair was officially recognized in 1906 by the CAT Fanciers’ Association (CFA).

However, people reproached the Domestic Shorthair for its strong resemblance with the alley cat. The breeders then started to work towards differentiating the Domestic Shorthair from its ancestor. They proceeded to crossbreed the breed with other cat breeds such as the Persian. This resulted in the appearance of new traits and the diversification of the coat color. It was not until 1966 that the Domestic Shorthair was renamed American Shorthair. The purpose was to show the difference between the cats from Europe.

Recognition of the breed

This new breed is recognized in America by the CFA and the TICA (The International Cat Association). This breed is widespread in America and even in Asia, but rare in Europe.

Cousins with the same ancestor

The British Shorthair and European Shorthair also have the alley cat as their ancestor. As a result, they are considered related to the American Shorthair. The American Shorthair is still a very popular hunter but is now considered a popular household pet.

The ancestors of the American Shorthair are alley cats that came to the United States with the first American settlers.

The American Shorthair’s personality

This adventurous cat is generally good-natured. They are easy to live with and adapt to all types of families.

The American Shorthair’s qualities

The American Shorthair is calm, gentle, sociable, and docile. There are easy to train, not very aggressive, and love to cuddle. They do not meow much and quickly understand their owner’s rules.

The American Shorthair is a formidable hunter and is both intelligent and agile. They are very active and love to explore the outdoors. However, this breed can also live in an apartment. They are very faithful to their owners and they love to live with their families. This breed is fond of games and is suitable for families with children. They are also very tolerant of guests and live in harmony with other pets.

Does the American Shorthair have any downsides?

This cat likes to roam outside, walk around climb trees. It can therefore come home with pests. It can also disappear for a whole day because of its need to wander. It is therefore advisable to have it identified with a microchip. Another solution is to opt for an adapted GPS collar in order to know its position at any time.

The physical characteristics of the American Shorthair

This cat has physical characteristics that make ir the star of cats in the United States.

General appearance

The American Shorthair has a physique that goes hand in hand with its hunting qualities. As an adult, they weigh between 3 and 5 kg (5 and 11 lbs). They start puberty early (around 7-8 months) but they grow a little slower than their feline counterparts. These cats finish their maturity around 3 to 4 years. Finally, the males can weigh twice as much as the females.


The head of this feline is neither too big nor too small. Well rounded, it has large, round and luminous eyes, a medium-long nose, and strong jaws. It also has a square and well-marked muzzle. Its medium-sized ears are slightly open and spaced. Its well-developed cheeks are also rounded with a square chin.


This breed has a fairly muscular, slender, and athletic body with round hips and shoulders. Its legs, which are also muscular and of medium size, extend the rest of its body and support its broad chest. Its long tail is thick at the base and tapers to a pointed tip. This cat is a medium-sized cat breed.

This cat has physical characteristics that make him the star of cats in the United States.

Coat, color, and care


The American Shorthair has a short, dense, glossy coat, the length, and texture of which is reminiscent of the European Shorthair’s coat. These hairs protect them against extreme weather conditions. They allow them to keep warm, to resist the cold outside, but also to fight scratches.

Its coat can be of several colors. The most common color is the silver tabby with a silver tint. The coat can be of any color except cinnamon, fawn, and lilac. The Cat Fanciers’ Association recognizes the following colors: white, black, blue, red, cream, bi-color, chinchilla, shaded, smoke, calico, and tabby.


This breed of cat does not require any special maintenance, they are generally very clean cats. All that is required is a weekly brushing and daily brushing during the molting season. Because of their love for outdoor activities, American Shorthairs need to have their ears and coat inspected. This will be an opportunity to check for pests, but also for any scratches.

This cat is a real foody and does not know how to stop during its meal. It will be necessary to provide him or her with a well-measured portion (80 to 175 g / 2 to 6 oz of kibbles daily) to avoid obesity.

With a life expectancy of 13 to 20 years, the American Shorthair does not get sick often. However, don’t forget to get the necessary vaccinations.

Did you know?

The ancestor of the American Shorthair was present on the Mayflower and thus in a way colonized America.

Up to 60 different coat colors can be found in this breed.

The American Shorthair at a glance

Size: 30 cm.

Weight: between 4 and 8 kg (8 to 16 lbs).

Health: It is a very robust cat, with excellent health. Nevertheless, since they like to go out regularly, it is necessary to inspect their fur daily to detect possible pests.

Is the American Shorthair good with children? Faithful and cuddly, this cat gets along very well with children.

Is the American Shorthair easy to live with? The only thing they want is to be able to walk outside during the day and then return to their home to enjoy the caresses of their owners.