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American Shorthair
Characteristics, History, and Health

American Shorthair

Western Breeds

American Shorthairs are easy-going kitties known for their loyal and loving character. A perfect family cat who enjoys companionship and doesn’t mind busy households with children and other pets.

Main Info
Coat Pattern
Variety of patterns
Coat Length
Health Issues
  • Inherited craniofacial defectsInherited craniofacial defects
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Main Characteristics of the American Shorthair

The American Shorthair (ASH) has all the characteristics of a skilled hunter. It is a sturdy, powerful, and agile breed that is full of endurance. These beauties are defined by their large heads, powerful jaws, and full cheeks. American Shorthairs have short, dense coats that come in various colors and patterns including gold, brown, cameo, calico, and silver tabby. Their eyes are large and distinctive, and range in color from blue and green to copper, hazel, and gold.

American Shorthair Origin

The first American Shorthairs were believed to have accompanied European settlers who set their sails for North America. They were brought onboard to protect the ship's cargo from rodents. In 1906, the Cat Fanciers' Association officially recognized the ASH breed, which was at the time called the Domestic Shorthair, as one of its five registered breeds. These hardy companions received their American Shorthair name in 1966 to differentiate them from regular random-bred, domestic shorthair cats.

American Shorthair Personality Traits

The American Shorthair is the ideal family cat for its social, easygoing, and affectionate nature. Though not typical lap cats, they will certainly appreciate a spot next to you on the sofa. As a moderately active breed, American Shorthairs are not overly demanding of attention and tend to be good at keeping themselves entertained. When not hunting for insects and other small critters, the American Shorthair is often found spending its time lounging in the sun.

American Shorthair Common Health Issues

Although the American Shorthair is considered a healthy breed with very few health problems, they can be affected by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the most common form of feline heart disease. They are also prone to inherited craniofacial defects, which can range from mild dermoid cysts to more serious conditions such as cleft palates and crooked jaws (the latter results in the development of misaligned teeth).

American Shorthair Fun Facts

  • They're often called working cats. Historically, American Shorthairs were prized for their ability to control the rodent populations on ships and farms. Along with their natural instincts, their robust, muscular build, exceptional hunting skills, and jaw strength all contributed to successfully taking on this initial "job". These days, the American Shorthair is known as a wonderful companion pet!

  • They are prone to weight gain. It is very important to carefully monitor their food dosage and ensure that they get plenty of exercise, as they love to eat and are prone to obesity.

  • The silver tabby is very popular. Silver tabbies tend to be one of the favorite  American Shorthair coat patterns, followed by the brown tabby. 

  • They bond with all family members, but are not known to be clingy. As mentioned above, unlike most other kitties, American Shorthair cats often bond with more than just one of their favorite humans, yet are rarely needy. They love attention, playing and snuggling, but don't get too lonely if left alone for a while. 

American Shorthair Characteristics

15-20 years
Good with
Children, Dogs, Cats, Families
Shedding amount
Affection level
Activity level
Tendency to vocalize
Exercise needs


The International Cat Association (TICA) “The American Shorthair At A Glance”

Cat Fanciers' Association "About the American Shorthair"