American Shorthair: The Ultimate Guide to Their History, Types, Characteristics, Temperament, and Care

If you are on the hunt for a new family feline, you might want to consider the American Shorthair. It’s a friendly and easy-going house cat. Let’s get to it and tell you absolutely everything that you need to know about this cat breed.

What’s the nature of the breed?

The American Shorthair cat is quite mild-mannered in nature. They are great companions and housecats. They tend to be fairly peaceful and have moderate energy levels.

One of their favorite activities is sitting on a window sill in the sun and watching birds. These cats were originally hunters, mainly for rats, so they do have a proclivity for bringing squirrels, rats, birds, and other kills to the door.

They are quite placid, sociable, and all-round good cats to have around the home. They aren’t overly demanding, high maintenance, or playful, making them an easy to care for cat in most respects.

Origin and history of the breed

The American Shorthair cat, although it has the word “American” in it, actually originates from Europe. It is somewhat unclear which other cat breeds went into making this one, and exactly how far back this breed dates is also somewhat unclear.

However, what is clear is that the American Shorthair breed is several hundred years old. Although they are not listed on the Manifest, it is a certainty that this cat breed was on the Mayflower that landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620.

Learn more about American Shorthair cats in the video below:

One of the main reasons they were brought over is because the sailboats were full of disease-ridden rats, and these cats have a proclivity for hunting and killing said rats. There is actually a publication from 1634 which credits these cats with saving several farm crops due to their ability to hunt and kill vermin with maximum efficiency.

By the 1900s, the American Shorthair had made quite the impact and was exhibited in cat shows all throughout the US.

Physical standards of the breed

Health and possible diseases

American shorthair cats tend to be quite healthy cats. They are not known for having many diseases or health issues. One of the only things which one of these cats may suffer from is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a common heart disease found in many cats.

Other than that, they tend to be very healthy and have minimal health concerns to consider.

On a side note, American Shorthairs love to eat and if fed too much will easily become fat and overweight, so this is definitely something to watch out for.


In terms of grooming, thankfully these cats do not require too much of it. As the name implies, they have very short hair, and therefore, there is really no possibility of tangling or matting.

With that being said, you do still want to use a standard cat brush to remove loose hair – about twice per week should do fine.

The American Shorthair should not be bathed often, as it is bad for their coats. More baths than twice per year is not recommended. Other than that, these cats do not require much in the way of grooming.

Height and size

The American Shorthair is known as a medium-small cat breed. They usually do not get too large and are known to be a bit stalky and bulky.

They are not long and slender like some other cat breeds, but a bit boxier; their thick fur makes them look even boxier than they really are. At their shoulders, the males are generally between 12 and 14 inches, with females being a bit smaller and coming in at between 10 to 12 inches in height at the shoulders.

They are not overly large cats.


When it comes to weight, these cats are not super heavy. The males are a bit bigger than the females, with male American Shorthair cats coming in at 14 to 16 pounds, and the slightly smaller females coming in at 10 to 15 pounds.


In terms of energy and activity, the American Shorthair is pretty moderate. They are not overly active, but also not lazy. They enjoy bird watching on window sills and if given the chance, they love to hunt for prey, especially vermin.

They do enjoy a good play for a few minutes as they are natural hunters, but when they are not hunting or watching birds, they aren’t doing much. They love to sit on the couch and just do nothing.


Unfortunately no, the American Shorthair cat is not hypoallergenic. It does have short and thick fur, but they shed quite a bit and that dander and pet hair can get all over the house.

While they are not as bad for people with pet allergies as some other cats, they are by no means ideal if you have a cat allergy.


American Shorthairs are known to be quite long-lived, so be prepared to make quite a commitment when you purchase one of these felines.

They are known to live for 15 years at the least, and they top out at around 20 years of age, with 17 or 18 years old being the average maximum lifespan for these cats.

Caring Difficulty

American Shorthair cats are fairly easy to take care of. Their fairly relaxed and mellow nature means that they do well in homes and around kids.

They don’t require too much grooming, but you will need to wipe their eyes on occasion, clean out their ears regularly, brush them twice per week, and clip their nails on occasion.

In terms of difficulty, they are moderately easy to care for. Just give them some good food, but not too much, some toys, and a window sill to watch birds from.

Where to get a American Shorthair

If you are looking to purchase an American Shorthair cat, it is always recommended that you find a breeder, a real certified breeder that can provide you with papers in regards to pedigree and immunizations.

You will want to avoid breeders which claim that their cats do not involve a lineage which suffers from heart disease, as the vast majority of these cats, their lineages, all have heart disease in some respect.

If a breeder tells you that his kittens are from an HCM-free line, they should be avoided.

How much does a American Shorthair Cat cost?

The cost of these cats really depends on where you buy them and their lineage. Generally speaking, be prepared to spend around $600 at the least, and around $1,200 at the most.

Choosing the right type of American Shorthair Cat

Which American Shorthair you get is up to you. These cats come in over 80 different patterns and colorations, so just get the one which you find the most appealing.

Ask the breeder about the health concerns and personalities of the parent cats to determine, or at least estimate, what the health and personality of the kittens will be like.

Responsibilities to consider in the care of a American Shorthair Cat

What do they require?

American shorthair cats require regular grooming; they like to play and hunt; they need a bed, a scratch post and some toys.

Be prepared to check for heart issues, make sure not to overfeed them due to a tendency to get fat, and give them their space. These cats really do not require too much care or maintenance.

Do they need a certain level of care and attention?

As we have mentioned several times now, American Shorthairs do like to hunt and they like to be on their own at times. In other words, besides taking care of grooming and feeding needs, you don’t have to give them much attention.

While they are peaceful and friendly, they are not fond of being picked up or sitting in laps.

Characteristics of American Shorthair Cats


These cats are fairly friendly, well mannered, calm and docile. They like to play at times, but often also like to be on their own. They are not aggressive and tend to be great house pets.


As we have mentioned above, these cats come in a large variety of patterns and colors, more than 80 variations.


The American Shorthair is moderately affectionate. It does not mind playing with humans or being pet on occasion. However, they don’t like being picked up or sitting in laps. They are not overly affectionate.


While they might ignore kids and dogs, they are not aggressive or mean towards them. They just might not care either way.


The American Shorthair is considered to be one of the smarter cat breeds out there. They are intelligent, skilled hunters, and if done right, they are easily trained as well.


In terms of the energy level of this cat, it’s not overly energetic when just around the home. It enjoys playing, but also enjoys lounging and sleeping.

However, if it sees something that it considers to be prey, its energy level will spike, at least until that rat or bird is dead.


These cats are not too hard to maintain. Besides ensuring a proper diet and avoiding overfeeding, they don’t require much.

Just look after their coat, claws, teeth, and ears, provide with some cat scratch posts and toys, and give them a bit of affection. They are generally quite low-maintenance cats.

Types of American Shorthair

There are no other types of American Shorthair cats per say, but as we mentioned before, they do come in many variations in terms of colors and patterns.

Color and Pattern

American shorthairs come in a variety of colors, patterns, and combinations, over 80 in fact. They can come in pretty much any color and pattern that any other cat breeds come in.

The amount of choice here is great if you are picky in terms of what you want your cat to look like.


When it comes down to it, the American Shorthair is easy to care for, has moderate energy levels, is friendly, yet don’t require too much attention, and have minimal health concerns.

They make for the perfect family pet.