The American Shorthair is a robust, well-proportioned cat of fine intelligence and
disposition--the quintessential American breed.
Affectionate and sociable, the American Shorthair adapts well to children and other
animals. It can be playful, romping with the kids, or it may be satisfied just to watch
the action from a distance.
American Shorthairs are the ideal hearth cats, happy to share a cozy spot (next to you, or
at your feet perhaps, rather than on your lap) and communicate their contentment with loud
Shorthairs are medium to large in stature, powerfully built, and athletic. Their faces are
wide and full-cheeked, with large, nearly round eyes. The ears are widely spaced and
slightly rounded at the tips. The American Shorthair's coat is short and very dense. Breed
associations recognize more than eighty colors and patterns; most common is the classic
tabby pattern in silver, brown, or red.
Because of their dense coats, American Shorthairs need to be combed about two or three
times a week to remove loose fur.
Domestic cats first arrived in America aboard the Pilgrims' boats early in the 17th
century and quickly asserted their position as rodent destroyer in both rural areas and
settlements. Over time, the American domestic cat developed characteristics of
temperament, appearance, and constitution that were admired by fanciers.
By the beginning of the 20th century, however, the unique qualities of these shorthaired
American beauties were in danger of being lost due to breeding with popular longhaired and
exotic cats from around the world. Hoping to rescue the breed, fanciers selected the best
specimens for controlled breeding programs.
The first American-bred Domestic Shorthair to be registered as a pedigreed cat was a blue
smoke named Buster Brown, registered in 1904 by Jane Cathcart. Breed standards for the
Domestic Shorthair were eventually developed and improved, and the finest qualities of the
hardy, now pedigreed, cats were preserved. In order to better differentiate these cats
from their nonpedigreed domestic cousins, the breed was renamed the American Shorthair in
A vigorous cat with a hearty appetite, the American Shorthair should be encouraged to
exercise daily, and its diet should be monitored to avoid obesity.