American Shorthairs

A beautiful American Shorthair laying on a bed

Are you looking for a new family pet? If so, the American Shorthair may be just what you’re looking for! This breed is known for their intelligence, loyalty and affection.

The American Shorthair is a medium-sized cat with a muscular body and short legs. They have a broad chest and strong hindquarters, giving them an athletic look. Their coat is short and dense, with a variety of colors and patterns available.

The American Shorthair is an independent cat breed and doesn’t need a great deal of attention. They are considered to be an easy going breed. Although they do love to spend time with their owners and enjoy family time, they are comfortable being alone for long periods of time. 

The American Shorthairs are a medium-sized domestic cat breed native to North America. They are a short haired breed, meaning they have short hair on their body. Their coat is often described as soft and silky.

The American Shorthair cat is an excellent choice as a pet. They are extremely loyal and loving, making them a great companion. They are also very playful and energetic, and will enjoy playing games with you.

American Shorthairs are considered to be a low-maintenance breed that has medium energy and moderate grooming needs. The major grooming they need is being brushed twice a week. American Shorthairs would be excellent pets for busy individuals or active families without a ton of time for pets.

When considering an American Shorthair, many families go after the most popular color, the classic silver tabby. This color pattern has a white undercoat with silver fur and black markings. Their traits of calmness and quiet will be a peaceful and loving companion for your family. 

American Shorthairs are an indoor cat that does well in moderate temperatures.

If you’re looking for a loyal, affectionate and intelligent cat to join your family, the American Shorthair may be just what you need! With their low-maintenance grooming needs and friendly nature, they make great pets for first-time owners. So why not consider an American Shorthair today?

The American Shorthair is a great choice for a family pet. They’re intelligent, loyal and affectionate cats who get along well with children and other pets. They require minimal grooming and have few health issues. If you’re looking for a new family pet, the American Shorthair may be just what you need!

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
  • 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
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet 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

An American Shorthair standing in front of a purple background.

American Shorthairs are 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 them to jump and climb with ease. Their jaws are strong which helps them catch prey. Their medium-length tail is thick at the base, tapering gradually to 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 are shaped like almonds. The eyes can be a variety of different colors like gold, copper, blue, green, or hazel. American Shorthairs have medium-sized ears, rounded at the tips.

They have a short, thick coat that has a hard and even texture. Their coat can be a number of different patterns – classic, mackerel, and ticked with a variety of color shades.

The different patterns and colors possible create a huge range of combinations that helps them have their own appearance. 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 common colors.

Temperament of American Shorthairs

American Shorthairs are relaxed and easygoing cats. These cats have medium energy which is somewhat great for busy pet owners. American Shorthairs are clever and independent and unlike most other cats they won’t be following you all the time at home. They are smart and can understand when you are busy and need to be left alone. These cats are not very vocal and stay calm for most of the day.

American Shorthair cats are friendly and outgoing. They tend to become friends with strangers and other animals without even trying. 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 very affectionate and love to be with and play with their owners. A good amount of family time is what will keep them happy.

The cat loves to play with the family members. Take time to exercise them by playing with the cats for at least 15 to 20 minutes a day. Regular play time will keep them physically fit.

Training an American Shorthair

A gray American Shorthair looking at something with a curious expression

These cats are intelligent and easy to litter box train. You’ll want to have a litter box that gives them some privacy, and is big enough for them to comfortably fit inside. As long as you can do that you should have no problems getting them to use it. Just remember to keep it clean because this is the main reason why cats stop using the litter box.

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

Like most cats, they do enjoy scratching their nails on things. If you like your furniture looking new it’s a good idea to set up one or two scratching posts around the house. Whenever you see them scratching your furniture or anything else, pick them and take the cat to the nearest scratching post. A scratching post will give them a place they can scratch anytime they have the urge and prevent damage to your furniture. Like teaching them anything, it may take time for them to understand the purpose of the scratching post. If you stick with it 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, watch their behavior. If the new cat is doing things that the other pets don’t like, you should step in to interrupt the behavior. If you want your current pets to accept the new one it’s best to do this before an existing pet gets too annoyed.

Clicker training is becoming more popular now. We have an entire article that shows you how to train your pets with clicker sounds. Basically you make a noise with the clicker when your cat does something which is considered good behavior. It will let them know that this is something that you like and hopefully they will continue to do it.

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. You can expect to see them playing with water flowing out of the facet or splashing with it on the floor.

It can be difficult to break their desire to play with water. 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, hopefully your cat will understand when and where they are supposed to play and not play with water.

Their Compatibility with Children

An American Shorthair looking up and meowing for attention

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. American Shorthairs will generally behave well around the children and not get rough with them unless they’re being abused by the children.

Always train your children on how to interact with your cats. Don’t let them pick up your cat frequently, most cats have limits to how much they like to be picked up. American Shorthairs are independent and may not like being carried around. Talk to your children about not running fast around the cats because it can 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 love to sit on your lap or go under the covers of your bed to keep warm.

The Attention an American Shorthair Needs

These cats only need moderate attention from their owners. Though they can be very affectionate towards the family members, they are not needy. They are not the kind of cats that will run around the house or sit on your shoulder to get your attention.

Instead, they will wait for you to take out time for them. Try to play with them a few times a day because they love to spend time with their family members. Besides being fun and enjoyable for the cat, the play time will also help them burn off excess energy. If you play with them before you go to sleep, you shouldn’t hear them running around the house while you are sleeping.

They can also bond well with other cats and pets you have. 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. Because these cats are independent they don’t mind being left alone. But try not to leave them alone for too long or they might feel neglected.

Health Issues

The American Shorthair cats have very good overall health. There are not many diseases or problems that these cats need to worry about.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

An image of a heart with a pulse in the background to demonstrate Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a common heart disease that affects cats. It’s associated with the heart muscle thickening, which can result in impaired cardiac function and potentially life-threatening complications such as congestive heart failure, blood clots, arrhythmias, and sudden death.

HCM is a disease inherited in some cat breeds, including the Maine Coon , Ragdoll, and British Shorthair. It can also occur in cats without any known genetic predisposition. Male cats and older cats are also more commonly affected.

Hip Dysplasia

Feline hip dysplasia is a condition that affects a cat’s hip joint. It’s associated with an abnormal formation in their hip joint, which can lead to instability and pain.

The causes of hip dysplasia are not fully understood, but it’s believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some breeds, such as Persians and Maine Coons, are more susceptible to developing hip dysplasia than others.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease in cats is a common problem affecting their gums and teeth. It’s caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on their teeth, which leads to bacterial infection in the surrounding gum tissue. The condition can result in pain, inflammation, tooth loss, and other serious health complications if left untreated.

Symptoms of Feline Periodontal Disease

The symptoms of periodontal disease can be subtle and could go unnoticed until the condition has progressed to a more advanced stage. Some common signs to look out for include:

  • Bad breath
  • Red, swollen or bleeding gums
  • Drooling or excessive salivation
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Difficulty eating or reluctance to eat – Pawing at their mouth or face
  • Swelling in their face or jaw

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian for a dental examination.

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

An American Shorthair cat with her kitten as she cleans her baby

These cats should be brushed two times a week. Though they have a short coat and shed moderately, they have a dense coat with a lot of hair. Regular brushings will keep the coat clean, and your house from having cat hair everywhere. Slicker brushes work well to gently clean their coat.

They generally don’t require bathing until they are older. If their coat gets dirty you can give them a bath. Always use a baby or animal shampoo to bathe your American Shorthair so that it doesn’t irritate their skin.

Since they are prone to having periodontal disease, brush their teeth regularly using a vet recommended toothpaste to maintain dental health.

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

Every week it is important to check their nose, paws, and other areas of your cat while brushing them for signs of redness or other infections. If you see any signs of infection, call your vet immediately.

Feeding An American Shorthair Cat

an image of cat food spread out

We recommend that you feed your American Shorthair between ¼ to ½ cup of high-quality cat food that is split between two meals.

The exact meal size will depend upon the activities that your cat does during the day. A high energy cat who spends a lot of time playing will need more food than a low energy cat who prefers to relax. American Shorthairs have a high tendency to gain weight. Monitor their activity level and how much you feed them and don’t feed them table scraps or people food.

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 feed them has the necessary nutrients.

Related Questions:

Are American Shorthairs 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 because 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 officially as American Shorthairs in 1966.

Are American Shorthairs One of the Longest Living Cat Breeds?

Yes, they 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 on average lives 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 has to worry about.

Can American Shorthairs Help 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 a great help keeping your home free of rodents. Don’t let them outside in the yard to catch any rodents. They may wander off and get lost or they could end up fighting with another animal they find.

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Contributing Author & Social Media Expert

Maryna is an animal expert that has had dozens of animals in her life over the years. She has never found an animal that she didn't love immediately. It seems like every year she finds kittens that have been abandoned by their mom and she nurses them to health and finds homes for them. She contributes her vast knowledge about animals and family pets to our website and we're forever grateful to have her working with us. She's also an amazing graphics designer and has designed all of the social media images that we use across all platforms.