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American Bobtail Shorthair at a Glance

American Bobtail Breed Full Body2 copyAmerican Bobtails resemble a wild cat, yet are a loving and affectionate breed. They do not like to be alone and like to attach themselves to their entire family, not just one person. Easy to get along with, they do well with children and other pets, including dogs. They can be either longhair or shorthair, with both being easy to groom. Find out more about this breed and if the American Bobtail is right for you and your family.

  • Temperament: Easygoing, Affectionate, Adaptable

  • Size: Medium-sized cat. The weight should come from the cat being well-muscled and having substantial, large boning, rather than being overweight. Bobtails mature slowly, taking up to three years to reach his full size.
    Adult females: 7-11 pounds
    Adult males: 12-16 pounds

  • Colors: The American Bobtail comes in any color and pattern. This means that they can be any pattern in black, brown, chocolate, cinnamon, blue, lilac, fawn, red, and cream, with or without white. This variety of colors and patterns comes in two hair lengths: short and medium-long. The short hair is plush and reminds people of a rabbit pelt. The longer one is easy to keep with minimal combing.

  • Life Expectancy: 11-15+ years, with proper care.

About the American Bobtail

Confident and friendly, the American Bobtail is a highly intelligent breed with a clown-like personality. Despite their wild expression similar to that of a bobtailed wildcat, this rare and athletic breed is friendly and affectionate. Their subtle personality that is warm and loving rather than demanding or in your face. They are good travelers and make wonderful therapy cats.

One of the breed’s most unusual traits is their shortened tail. No two tails are identical so they are truly the hallmark of the individual and are proudly held above the back when the cat is alert, often wagging to express the cat's mood.

Bobtails aren’t as vocal as some breeds and tend to communicate their pleasure with chirps, clicks and trills, as well as the standard purr and meow.

A devoted family companion, American Bobtails make great family pets. They get along well with older children as well as other pets, including the family dog.

Activity Level:
The American Bobtail is a highly intelligent breed. Most are moderately active without being either a couch potato or constantly in motion. They can easily be taught to walk on a leash and play fetch. Challenge their brain by teaching them tricks and providing puzzle toys that reward with kibble or treats when they learn how to manipulate them.

TICA Regions, Clubs & Rescues

Want to connect with fellow cat lovers and those who love the same breed as you?
TICA is a large resource made up of smaller regions and clubs around the world.
Click here to find a club near you and contact information for your regional director and website.

Wherever you are, you’re in TICA’s world!® 


Find a Kitten: TICA Breeders

The TICA website is the only place where you can find TICA member breeders who have signed the TICA Code of Ethics.
Click here to find American Bobtail Kittens.

American Bobtail Breed Head ShotCare

The American Bobtail’s coat doesn’t usually mat or tangle as long as it is combed or brushed a couple of times a week to remove dead hair and keep his coat healthy and shiny. Bobtails tend to shed more in the spring and fall, so it can be a good idea to groom them more frequently during those times. However, a bath is rarely necessary unless they’ve gotten into something messy.

As with all cats, keep their nails trimmed every couple of weeks and teeth brushed regularly with a vet-approved toothpaste.

Be sure to wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection.

Check their ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.


As with all cats, it is important to give your cat fresh, clean water daily, so cats don’t hesitate to drink. If you worry about your cat drinking enough water each day, here's a tip from some cat behaviorists: place the water bowl at least three feet away from any food. Cats’ noses are sensitive, and an overwhelming smell of food may cause them to drink less. Filtered drinking fountains can also be used in place of a water bowl.


American Bobtails are generally healthy. All cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit diseases.


Although the Bobtail has been in America for many generations, the true development of the breed began in the late 1960's.

Every breeder of the American Bobtail has heard the story of Yodi, the patriarch of the breed. John and Brenda Sanders, a young couple, were vacationing in the southwest. They were driving through an Indian Reservation in Arizona when they discovered a brown tabby kitten with a short tail and decided to take their new pet home to Iowa. When Yodi became of age, he romanced the couple's female cat, Mishi, a non-pedigreed domestic color point. The resulting kittens inherited Yodi's unusual short tail. The kittens soon caught the eye of family friends, Mindy Shultz and Charlotte Bentley, who saw the possibility of a new breed of felines. Using several of these bobtailed kittens and outcrossing to a longhaired color point, they produced the first true American Bobtails.

The foundation stock of this breed comes from feral cats possessing a natural short tail from different regions of the United States and Canada. Most breeders no longer use feral bobtailed cats in their breeding programs.

TICA accepted the American Bobtail breed into championship status in 1989.

Did You Know?

  • The American Bobtail has a naturally short bob tail that can be seen clearly above the back when the cat is alert. No tail is exactly the same, but the average length is 1 to 4 inches.
  • Some psychotherapists have included American Bobtails in their treatment programs as a result of the cats’ sensitivity to human emotions.

The Breed Standard

The American Bobtail, native to North America, is a medium to large, naturally occurring short-tailed cat which is a product of natural selection. It is a hearty breed that has all the intelligence and skill that nature demands of her creatures. The American Bobtail displays the look of an athletic animal, well-muscled and solid, with the appearance of power. The breed should also be noted for an exceptional disposition and adaptability. Breed is slow to mature, taking 2-3 years.

Click here to read the full TICA American Bobtail Breed Standard.

American Bobtail Shorthair Breed

American Bobtail Shorthair Full BodyAccepted For Championship in TICA in 2002

Photos used courtesy of © Helmi Flick Cat Photography. 

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