american shorthair cat looking at the camera meowing

American Shorthairs

The American Shorthair is an independent breed and does not require a great deal of attention. They are considered to be an easygoing type of cat. Although they do love to spend time with their owners and enjoy family time, they are comfortable staying alone for long periods. 

American Shorthairs are considered to be a low-maintenance breed that has medium energy and moderate grooming needs, requiring brushing twice per week. Therefore, American Shorthairs would be excellent pets for busy individuals or active families.

When considering an American Shorthair, you will find that the classic silver tabby is the most popular coloring. This color pattern is marked by a white undercoat with silver fur and black markings. Their traits of calmness and little vocal activity would provide a quiet and steadfast companion. 

Your American Shorthair is an indoor cat who does well in moderate temperatures.

American Shorthair Information

  • Average Height: 8 to 10 inches
  • Average Length: 12 to 15 inches
  • Average Weight: 7 to 15 pounds
  • Coat Type: Short 
  • Coat Appearance: They have a short, dense coat with an even and hard texture
  • Coat Colors: Silver tabby, black, red, cameo, and white.
  • Grooming Needs: Moderate
  • Shedding: Moderate 
  • Brushing Requirements: They need to be brushed twice a week
  • Sensitive to Touch: No
  • Excessive Meow: No
  • Good tolerance to Heat and Cold: Moderate 
  • Good Pet: They are friendly, independent, and confident, so yes.
  • Safe with Children: With training, yes!
  • Good with Other Cats: Yes
  • Good with Other Pets: Yes
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
  • Suitable for First-Time Cat Owners: Yes. 
  • Exercise Needs: Medium
  • Weight Gain: High
  • Health Concerns: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), Hip Dysplasia, and some dental diseases. 
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 15 to 20 years

Physical Appearance of American Shorthairs

The American Shorthair is a medium-sized cat. They have a strong, muscular, and sturdy body which gives them high endurance and agility. The legs are well-built and muscular, allowing the cat to jump and climb with ease. Their jaws are strong which helps them in catching prey. The medium-length tail is thick at the base, tapering gradually and ending abruptly at the tip.

They have a broad chest with a muscular neck. The head is large with a medium-length square snout. They have large eyes that have an almond-like look at the top and rounded at the bottom. The eyes can come in a variety of colors like gold, copper, blue, green, or hazel. The cats have medium-sized ears, rounded at the tips. 

They have a short, thick coat that has a hard and even texture. The coat comes in different patterns – classic, mackerel, and ticked with a variety of color shades.

The different patterns and colors of coat results in producing several variations in the look of the coat. The Cat Fanciers Association, the world’s largest registry of purebred cats recognizes close to 80 different colors of their coat. Silver tabby, black, red, cameo, and white are the most popular colors. 

a cute american shorthair laying on the floor

Temperament of American Shorthairs

The American Shorthair cats are relaxed and easygoing. The cats have medium energy which is somewhat great for busy pet owners. These cats are clever and independent. Unlike most other cats you will not find them following you all the time. They are smart to understand when you are busy and need to be left alone. The cats are not very vocal and stay calm for most of the day.

American Shorthair cats are also friendly and outgoing. They can easily become friends with strangers and other animals. The cats are quiet and can adapt well to any kind of environment, including small apartments. They can stay with singles, couples, or even larger families, and be completely happy with all of them. The cats are also affectionate and pleasing towards their owners. A good amount of family time is what keeps them happy.

The cat loves to play with the family members. Take time to exercise them by playing with the cats for 15 to 20 minutes daily. This will keep them physically fit.

a curious american shorthair looking at the camera

Training an American Shorthair 

These cats are intelligent and easy to train. As long as you have a litter box that gives them some privacy, and is big enough for them to comfortably fit inside you should have no problems with them using it.  Just remember to keep it clean as this is the main reason why a cat may not use the litter box.

You may see a few accidents in the beginning but do not punish them. Give them praise and treats whenever they use the litter box. This will help them to understand what kind of behavior is expected of them. 

To take care of their scratching habits, set up scratching posts around the house. Whenever you see them scratching your furniture or any other object, pick them and take the cat to the nearest scratching post. This will take care of their scratching habits and also prevent damage to your furniture. It may take time for them to get used to it in the beginning but eventually, they will learn.

If you already have pets in your home then there are some basic steps to take to teach the new cat how to interact with the existing pets.  After you’ve introduced the new cat to each pet, observe their behavior.  If the new cat is doing things that the other pets don’t like, you should step in and tell them no.  You want to do this before an existing pet tells the new one for you.

Clicker training is becoming more popular now. Make a noise with the clicker when the cat does something which is considered good behavior. It will let them know that this is something that you like and hopefully will do it more frequently.

This cat loves being around water. This can be both good and bad, depending on if you like giving baths, or enjoy cleaning up water messes. You can expect to find them playing with water flowing out of the facet or splashing with it on the floor. 

To take care of this habit train them not to get wet or play with water frequently. Whenever you see them playing with water, pick them up, and take the cat away from water. After a few instances, the cat will understand when and where they are supposed to play and not play with water.

Their Compatibility with Children

The American Shorthair loves to be around and play with children. They form strong bonds with the children and will spend a great part of the day playing with them or sitting beside them. The cat will behave kindly around the children and they never get rough.

You should always train your children on how to interact with the cats. Do not let them pick up the cat frequently. American Shorthairs are independent and may not like being carried around. Talk to your children about not running fast around the cats as it could scare them.

Best Climate for American Shorthairs

These are indoor cats and love being in a home kept between 70 and 85 degrees. Anything within normal room temperatures is pleasant for the American Shorthair cats. These cats have a weather-resistant coat that is suitable for outdoor living, but they should not be let outside. Most shorthair cats need a warm environment and inside the house is what is best for them.

When it gets cold, you will see the cat enjoying the warmth of your body. They could sit on your lap or go under the covers of your bed. 

The Attention an American Shorthair Needs

an american shorthair laying on some gray towels
a mother and kitten american shorthair cuddling together

The cats require moderate attention from their owners. Though they are affectionate towards the family members, they are not needy. They are not the kind who will run around the house or sit on your shoulder to grab your attention. 

Instead, they will wait for you to take out time for them. Try to play with them a few times a day as they love to spend time with the family members. Besides, being fun and enjoyable for the cat, the play time will also help to take care of their energy needs. You should also play with them before bedtime. 

They can also bond well with other cats and pets. If you have any other pets, the American Shorthair will love to play with them. They also appreciate the respect and love they receive from young children. As these cats are independent they don’t mind being left alone. But it should not be for longer durations as it could turn them anxious.

Health Issues

The American Shorthair cats have very good overall health. There are not many diseases that can affect these cats. Hip Dysplasia is a common hereditary disease found in them. This prevents the thigh bone from properly attaching itself to the hip joint. It can result in the cat walking abnormally.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is another disease that they can have. This happens when the muscles of the heart become thick. Initially, there may not be any visible symptoms but it can gradually become severe. If you see them feeling lethargic or collapsing frequently, take them to a vet to check if they have this disease.

Like most cats, they can also have periodontal disease. It causes plaque to form inside the mouth. Sometimes the plaque can enter the bloodstream and cause liver or kidney diseases. Brushing them regularly and taking them to the vet once every six months to get their teeth cleaned can help to lessen the chances of them having dental diseases.

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

These cats should be brushed two times a week. Though they have a short coat and shed moderately, the hair on the coat is dense. This will keep the coat clean. Use a slicker brush to gently clean the coat. 

They generally don’t require bathing until they are older. However, if their coat gets dirty you can give them a bath. Always use a baby or animal shampoo to bathe the American Shorthair.

Check their body for redness or any other signs of infection. If you find any sores, wrinkles, or patches, take them to the vet. Also, since they are prone to having periodontal disease, brush their teeth regularly using a vet recommended toothpaste to maintain dental health.

The ears should be checked weekly. If there is any dirt or wax buildup, use a cotton cloth to gently remove it. Their eyes can get teary like other cats, inspect the area around the eyes regularly. If there are any stains use a moist cloth to softly wipe them.

american shorthair kittens wrapped up in a white bed sheet
a large pile of multi colored cat food

Feeding An American Shorthair Cat

An adult American Shorthair needs ¼ to ½ cup of high-quality food daily. This should be divided into 2 meals during the day. 

The food that you feed should contain taurine which is an essential nutrient that every cat needs. It is an amino acid that nourishes the brain, eyes, and also helps to improve the immune system of the cats. Consult your vet to find out if the food that you serve has the necessary nutrients.

You should not keep the food out in the open that will allow them to eat anytime. The cat loves to eat and overeating can result in them gaining weight. Serve them only the recommended meal size and avoid giving table scraps. If you want to feed them human food, consult your vet before doing so.

Related Questions:

Are American Shorthair cats Purebred?

Yes. American Shorthair cats were originally brought in from Europe centuries ago. They were taken on the Mayflower ship by European travelers for pest control as they were known to have great hunting skills.. 

Many American breeders developed cats that produced kittens with smaller heads, consistent color patterns, and even temperament. Earlier they were known as the Domestic Shorthair but were recognized as American Shorthair in 1966.

Are they one of the longest living cat breeds?

Yes, the cats have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. They are the sixth longest living cat breed in the world. The longest living cat breed is Balinese which can live between 18 to 22 years. The American Shorthair can live so long because they are healthier than other cats and there is only one major disease that their breed gets.

Can American Shorthair cats help you to control pests?

American Shorthair cats are great at catching rodents. They have been used during previous plagues to kill rodents. Getting an American Shorthair can be of great help to keep different areas of your home free of rodents. But do not take them outside in the garden to get rid of rodents. This could expose them to infections or other animals.

C&R Family Pets logo
Quick Links