While most people are focused on the breed of their dogs, a lot of people do not realize that there are just as many different breeds of cats as well. While there might not be cats that are specifically bred to be guardians of a property, cats have been bred for a variety of purposes over the centuries.
Some cats specialize in “working,” which is usually hunting rodents. Other cats are bred to be show cats, focusing on a specific appearance. If you are planning to adopt a cat, specifically a purebred one, you should make sure that you know what you want in a cat breed. There are several aspects that you should be paying attention to, such as the health of the breed, the care that the breed needs, and the typical behaviors that this breed exhibits.
A great place to start learning about cat breeds is with the American Shorthair cat, one of the most common breeds of cats around. These cats are one of the more adaptable cat breeds, meaning that if you give your cat time, it can adjust to a multi-pet household, families with children, and even apartment living.
What Is the History of the American Shorthair Cat?
Unfortunately, the exact origin of this breed is not well known. Many people believe that it originated from several breeds of cats that were brought over to the United States on the Mayflower in the early 1600s. Some people believe that this breed’s origins date ever farther back than that, to the first settlers in Jamestown. Other people believe that this breed was brought by the Spanish explorers of Florida.
No matter where its exact origins came from, it is known that they were a distinct breed from other cats in 1634, when a publication cites these specific cats for protecting the crop of the area from squirrels.
These cats were classified as a “working” cat for centuries as their main purpose was to hunt down rats and other vermin to protect crops and homes. Curiously enough, despite the fact that they were a recognized breed as far back as 1634, they didn’t earn the official name of “American Shorthair” to distinguish it from other short-haired cats until about 1966.
What Do American Shorthair Cats Look Like?
When you think about a cat without any specifics on breed, there’s a good chance that the cat that pops into your head is going to be the standard shorthair cat. These cats have a solid, muscular build with developed shoulders, chest, and hindquarters. This means that their shape is well defined, especially underneath their characteristically short fur.
Their backs are typically straight and level. As for the face of these cats, they tend to have a slightly larger head with full cheeks and without any other features that set it apart from most mixed breeds. Because these cats were originally bred as working or hunting cats, they have considerably muscular legs with heavy padding on the paws.
Finally, there is the coat of the cat. As the name might suggest, this short-haired cat has fairly short fur. The fur is usually thick, even, and just dense enough to keep the cat protected from moisture and cold. Their coats come in a wide, wide variety of colors and patterns. From solid colors to bicolor, and from tabby cats to tortoiseshell cats, this breed has one of the widest variations of coat patterns among all cat breeds. These cats usually weigh between 10 and 12 pounds with males being larger and weighing more.
What Kind of Care Does the American Shorthair Cat Need?
Thankfully, this breed does not have a maintenance-heavy coat of fur. In fact, many owners can get away with not brushing the coat at all and just letting the cat groom itself.
After all, cats meticulously clean themselves to keep their fur from being matted. However, if you want to make sure that the coat stays in the best condition possible, you might want to consider brushing or combing the fur once or twice a week to keep it lustrous and beautiful. Doing this can also lower the chances that your cat will have dry and itchy skin, since grooming your cat can redistribute skin oils.
Many cats enjoy the sensation of being brushed, meaning that it can even turn into a bonding experience with your cat. With that being said, you will always want to get your cat accustomed to care from a young age. This means introducing the feeling of brushes, combs, nail trimmers, and toothbrushes from a young age so that they adapt to the feeling. They do shed, but not as often as many other cats do. This means that if you have clothes that might show off collected cat hair, you should keep them in a closed closet or wardrobe.
What Kind of Behavior Does the American Shorthair Cat Have?
These cats can be considered the hallmark of family-friendly pets. Of course, any cat is going to lash out if it is not raised right or if it is treated poorly, but with enough time for the cat to adapt to a new home situation, these cats can be happy in just about any environment. These cats are often somewhat open to getting along with dogs (assuming that the dog is also cat-friendly), although you shouldn’t keep pets that are smaller than the cat uncaged.
As long as younger children are supervised when playing with the cat, these kitties will be more than happy to get along with a behaving child. They enjoy exercising, learning new tricks, and playing with interactive toys. If you can get your cat to get used to a harness and a leash, then you might even be able to take your cat on walks.
Many of these cats, especially if they are taught from a young age, can learn an arsenal of tricks much as a dog can, although the number of tricks your cat might be able to perform will not be as vast as the dog’s. Despite the fact that these cats do enjoy being pampered with attention, they do not always like to be coddled and hovered over. This means that they do not enjoy being carried and they are relatively independent, often preferring to sit beside people rather than on people.
What Kind of Health Does the American Shorthair Cat Have?
For being one of the most common breeds of cat that you can find, they are also one of the healthiest.
Of course, when you are purchasing a purebred cat of any type, there will always be the risk of hereditary diseases developing. The main issues that you will want to look out for are mouth and gum diseases, obesity, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Another thing to consider is that this breed’s relatively flat faces mean that the cat is at an increased risk for developing eye and lung issues and may have trouble breathing later on in life. A big problem with these cats is that their sometimes-lazy nature can make them prone to obesity, especially if they free-feed from a dish.
If you adopt one of these cats, you will need to be on the lookout for weight gain and you will need to do what you can to prevent excess. Overall, these cats are surprisingly hardy and can deal with a variety of different temperatures and situations.