What Is an American Bobtail Cat? (History, Appearance, Temperament)

A short-tailed or tailless cat is called a bobtail, so what about the American Bobtail? The difference between the two is that bobtails are born without any tail at all, whereas an American Bobtail has a short tail.

In fact, the American Bobtail is a breed of cat that comes from the United States. It was first introduced to the world in 1966 and it has a wild appearance which sometimes causes people to think of them as a lynx rather than a housecat.

Their unique look typically gives their owners quite an advantage because of their mysterious personalities.

American Bobtail Cat History

The American Bobtail cat breed is a fairly new one and began with the discovery of a 5-month-old kitten in late 1965. It was during this time that the cat’s owner, Mary Richardson, found that her black and white American Shorthair cat had given birth to a deformed kitten with short legs, a plumed tail, and coloration that was not seen in any of the four other kittens.

The kitten had just enough form to suggest the stocky build hidden under the long fur. The owners were persuaded by their children to keep it as a pet which they named “Tally.” They enjoyed having him around so Mary decided to find out about this breed.

The origin of the American Bobtail is still in mystery, but it is believed that Taily was probably one of the earlier cats to be known as an American Bobtail. He was mated with his mother and other domesticated females in order to create more kittens that had similar characteristics.

Later it became evident that the American Bobtail Cat has a dominant gene that causes the short tail but in order to make sure that this kitten would be born with the normal bobbed tail an outcrossing is required.

American Bobtail Appearance

The American Bobtail can have short or long hair. It all depends on their genetics. They are easily identifiable by their spectacled faces and stout bodies. They appear to be in proportion and are neither long nor short-legged.

They usually weigh between 12 and 22 pounds (5.4–10 kg), but some breeds actually range from 8 to 18 pounds (3.6–8 kg). The American Bobtail has a spectacled (mask-like) face that sets it apart from the other cats. They have a flat forehead, distinct cheeks, and an undershot jaw which gives them a stubborn expression.

Their short tails are slightly curved upwards and they have furry feet with tufted toes. Their bushy tails could be bobbed or full length and their ears have a unique fold going over the top of their head.

The kittens are spotted, but as they grow some of the spots disappear and only a few remain on their legs and tails. They come in all colors and patterns such as tabby, solid, tortoiseshell, or bi-color which is broadening their appeal with many people.

American Bobtail Temperament

The American Bobtail cat breed is a loyal and loving family pet. They do not run and hide when strangers come to the house, but they will give you their own space if you let them. Giving them love and attention will make sure that your cat will shower you with warmth and affection in return.

They like to hunt for their prey and they will be delighted to give you a show of how agile their bodies can be with jumps and flips. They also like to climb up high in order to get a good view of their surroundings.

They are very intelligent, but will not respond well if you try shouting at them or force them to do anything that they don’t want to do. They will not be happy if you try this approach.

American Bobtail Care

American Bobtails are short-haired cats, but they do need weekly grooming with a good brush. They have no odor and shed very little so it will not be a chore to take care of them. Their friendly and pleasant personalities make sure that you want to play and groom them all the time which is something they enjoy.

Their intelligence makes it easier for you to train them and they learn quickly. The American Bobtail cat breed loves to be around children and will happily play games with them all day long.

They are very adaptable cats that can live in both an apartment or a house with yards, but they do need some sort of feline company so if you are out for most of the day you might want to get two American Bobtails.

American Bobtail Health

The lifespan of an American Bobtail Cat is about 14 years, but some have lived up to 20 years. They are generally healthy cats that do not suffer from any major health conditions that run in their breed.

If you buy a kitten from a breeder make sure you get a written health guarantee and ask to see the results of the genetic testing that has been done on them.

They are not susceptible to any particular illness or disease, but they can have some minor issues such as obesity, patellar luxation, and hip dysplasia.

They are large cats and this might make them less agile, but it also makes them perfectly capable of defending themselves against any potential threats.

American Bobtail Fee and Price

You can buy an American Bobtail kitten for about $400-1000. The price varies depending on where you get your cat from, naturally, the more expensive ones will come from breeders that have taken great care of their cats and tested them before selling them.

If you are hoping to rescue a Bobcat then your chances are slim because there are less than 100 American Bobtails in the US according to the Cat Fanciers’ Association.

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