Get to know the American Shorthair
All you need to know about the breed
Renowned for their easy-going, relaxed personality, American Shorthairs are also quite a playful breed of cat. As such, they tend to be popular with families, especially as they are known to be good with children. Generally speaking, they also get along fine with other cats and dogs, too.
Originally brought to the US by early settlers in the 1600’s, these seafaring cats were used to protect the ships’ supplies from mice and other rodents. On their arrival in the US, they soon became a fixture in domestic homes – and were eventually adopted by the Americans as their own.
Medium in size, American Shorthairs are known for their beautiful and varied colours and markings. In fact, there are more than 60 variations in the breed. One of the most striking, though, must surely be the sterling silver coat, which can also be flecked with black markings.
As a short-haired breed of cat, the American Shorthair doesn’t require much maintenance from their owners – and are also known for their generally healthy countenance. In fact, the American Shorthair has a longer-than-average lifespan that can easily reach between 15 and 20 years.
This resilience comes in part from their origins as a self-sufficient hunting cat. In short, there’s not much that fazes this plucky puss.
While it’s true that the American Shorthair likes to play, they are also equally happy when curled up on the sofa. They are also just the right mix of independence and affection. Though they like to do their own thing to some extent, they also appreciate the attention and caresses of their owner with whom they can often form a strong bond.
2 facts about American Shorthairs
Things to look out for
From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your American Shorthair
They can potentially suffer from heart disease
Although a generally healthy breed of cat, with an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years, the American Shorthair can be prone to a few possible health problems. One of the most common of these is a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – which is a thickening of the heart muscle. Symptoms can include rapid breathing, general fatigue and a disinterest in their food. While the disease unfortunately has no cure as yet, the good news is that it can be managed. Your vet will be able to advise on a combination of medication and a bespoke diet for your American Shorthair.
It’s important to keep their weight in check
Another thing to be aware of with the American Shorthair is their propensity to put on weight. As this is a trait that the breed is particularly prone to, they can easily become obese without proper exercise and an appropriate diet – and this is especially true for neutered cats. If your American Shorthair seems to be gaining weight, they may need a tailored nutrition programme. Have a chat with your vet who will be able to advise on this – and be sure to avoid any unhealthy treats.
They can also be prone to joint problems
In particular, the American Shorthair can be susceptible to a condition called hip dysplasia, a hereditary disorder where the ball and socket become misaligned. There can be various visible signs of this – for example, if your cat starts moving slowly, limping or avoids jumping. While the condition can’t be cured, it can be managed. Depending on the severity, weight management, medication and surgery can all help to alleviate the symptoms. Choosing a responsible breeder can also reduce the risk, as they will be screening for the condition in the kittens’ parents, and it’s important to keep your cat’s weight in check too.a