The American shorthair has a history of approximately 400 years. They
were brought to America by the settlers, who sailed from Britain to
North America. They carried these cats on board ship to protect the
stores of food from mice. Evidence indicates that several cats may have
sailed over from England in 1620. These cats were most famous for their
hunting abilities. With the import of foreign breeds in the early 1900s,
the original American Shorthair bloodlines became diluted.
Thus, the group of breeders began a selective breeding program to
preserve the natural beauty, mild temperament, and hardiness of the
American Shorthair and to develop the qualities of these cats. These
cats were originally known as the Domestic Shorthair, and were renamed "American
Shorthair" in 1966 to differentiate it from other shorthaired
breeds. American Shorthair is the title given to the true pedigreed
variety. In 1895, seventy-one "Shorthair" cats and kittens
were displayed at the very first U.S. cat show.
American Shorthair is a strongly built, well-balanced and symmetrical
cat with a powerful look. These cats have long tails and slender bodies.
They are medium to large in size with a solid body and wide chest with
thick back legs. Their heads are square in shape with a wide face, wide
ears and round eyes. Male shorthairs are larger than females with weight
around 11 to 15 pounds when fully matured, while the females weigh 8 to
12 pounds at the age of 3 to 4 years.
American Shorthair is found in more than eighty different colors and
patterns, such as, striking brown patched tabby, glistening blue-eyed
white, the beautiful silvers, smokes, flashy calico van, and many more.
But the most striking and best known color is the silver tabby with
dense black markings set on a sterling silver background. American
Shorthairs generally live around fifteen to twenty years.
American Shorthairs are very gentle and affectionate, and loves making
companions. They are known for their amiability with children and other
pet animals. They are friendly and can be easily trained. They generally
do not like to be picked up as they cherish their freedom. They require
only annual vaccinations, veterinary checkups, a quality diet and tender
care from their owner. American Shorthairs are easy-going and are easily
adjustable with human beings. As American Shorthairs have habit of
overeating, so owners must be careful to give them enough opportunities
to exercise and play.
As other breeds of cats, the American Shorthair also suffers from heart
disease which can be inherited. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) has
also been seen as an autosomal dominant inherited trait in this breed.
Though HCM cannot be cured; early diagnosis and medication can help an
affected cat's life.