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Formerly used to keep rodents and vermin away from food stores, the American Shorthair still enjoys exercising her hunting skills on unsuspecting insects. As a smart, moderately active feline, she enjoys learning tricks and challenging her intelligence with puzzles and interactive toys.


She’s adaptable and good-natured, which makes her the ideal family companion. Although she loves attention from her people, including children, the American Shorthair does not like being carried and is fairly independent. She may curl up in your lap on occasion, but she may prefer to sit alongside you instead. She’ll get along fine with a cat-friendly dog, but her hunting instincts may take over with pet birds and other small animals.


As a working cat, American Shorthairs have a stocky, muscular build. Their muscular legs lend themselves to the American’s agility and endurance. They have a large head and full face, medium-sized ears and large, wide eyes.


15 to 20 years


American Shorthairs are a diverse breed with an array of colors and patterns. Silver tabby is one of the most common and popular, however.


Your American Shorthair will shed but combing a couple times per week removes dead hair and redistributes skin oils to keep her coat shiny and prevent dry, itchy skin.


The American Shorthair is a hearty and healthy breed. Some instances of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy have been recorded, but it’s unknown if the condition is hereditary. Their flat face also makes the breed more susceptible to ocular and respiratory issues. They are genetically predisposed to mouth and gum disease and their laid-back nature increases their risk of obesity. Reputable breeders test thoroughly to avoid breeding cats with genetic diseases.

Choosing the Best Food for American Shorthair Cats

Because American Shorthairs are generally healthy, a complete and balanced cat food should be sufficient for their needs. If your American puts on weight due to inactivity, however, you may want to consider a healthy weight formula like Focus Adult Weight Management Formula or Healthy Metabolism, and if she regularly develops hairballs, consider a specially formulated cat food to help control them, such as Focus Hairball Management Chicken & Rice Formula.

To explore other products for your American Shorthair.

Choosing the Best Food for American Shorthair Kittens

Like several other breeds, American Shorthairs are slow to mature, with many not reaching their full size until 3 or 4 years of age. To support your American kitten’s growth and development, select a complete and balanced kitten food during her first year or so of life. Switch her to a complete and balanced adult cat food after her first birthday.


American Shorthairs may have descended from other domestic shorthairs brought over on the Mayflower in 1620, or even earlier by the first settlers of Jamestown or even Spanish explorers in Florida. A 1634 publication credits these domestic shorthairs with saving New England crops from squirrels and chipmunks. They were exhibited at the first U.S. cat show in 1895 and Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) recognized them as a founding breed in 1906.


  • The breed wasn’t called “American Shorthair until 1966, when it was given the name to distinguish it from other domestic shorthairs and random-bred shorthairs.
  • Because they resemble so many other domestic shorthair cats, the only way to know yours is American is with certified breed papers.
  • An American Shorthair was named CFA’s “Cat of the Year” in 1965, 1984 and 1996.