According to the Cat Fanciers' Association's Top 10 Cat Breeds of 2019, the American Shorthair is the seventh most popular cat breed in the world. Their playful and sweet purr-sonality make them the perfect feline confidant.

Origins of the American Shorthair

Although many of the Shorthair breeds share similar ancestry, the American Shorthair is believed to originate from cats who were brought along with European settlers to North America. At the time, they were carried along on ships to protect the settlers' cargo from rodents. Legend has it that the ancestors of the American Shorthair sailed on the Mayflower with their pilgrim companions in 1620.

These Shorthairs thrived as "working cats" and were valued for their hunting skills. A publication from 1634 in New England even went as far as to say that these cats saved an early colony's crops from chipmunks and other rodents. These felines helped not only to keep the food storage away from rodents but also to prevent rats from spreading diseases throughout the settlers' villages.

The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) formally recognized the American Shorthair as a breed in 1906, making them one of the first five breeds to be recognized by the CFA. However, they were not given the name American Shorthair until 1966. This was done to distinguish them from the Domestic Shorthair, an umbrella term used to describe a Shorthair of unknown pedigree.

Physical characteristics

The American Shorthair is a stocky and muscular cat breed, usually ranging from medium to large in size. They typically grow to around 6-15 pounds (or 3-7 kilograms) and the average cat measures around 8-10 inches (or 20-25 centimeters) tall.

Their muscular legs are designed to give them the endurance and agility to be good hunters. They have maintained their "working cat" build and will not hesitate to pounce or climb to capture a mouse or rat.

As its name suggests, the American Shorthair has a short, thick, and lustrous coat. They come in a bevy of different patterns, such as tabby, calico, tortoiseshell, and bicolor, and come in upwards of 80 color variations.

Americans Shorthairs, similar to other Shorthair breeds, have slightly rounded faces and short, widely spaced ears. They also have rounded and expressive eyes. The most popular American Shorthair eye color is yellow, but their eye color tends to depend on their coat. For example, silver Shorthairs usually have green eyes while a white Shorthair could have blue eyes or odd eyes (a genetic anomaly that causes one eye color to be different from the other).

American shorthair cat breed lying on porch

The American Shorthair's purr-sonality

American Shorthairs are one of the most popular cat breeds out there, not just because of their looks, but for their affectionate and easygoing personality. These laidback felines are known to be one of the most adaptable cat breeds.

Although they were originally bred to hunt down rats and other vermin, today's American Shorthairs have a relaxed and quiet temperament. They are great for households with children because they are easy to train. They are also known to get along well with dogs, as long as they are not given any trouble.

While they are independent and tend to not be fond of being held, American Shorthairs are very adoring. They enjoy spending hours cuddling with their humans. They are also very smart and playful cats. To ensure that they stay stimulated, they should be provided with cat puzzles and interactive toys. However, even without toys this breed can find amusement out of anything.

Health and grooming

Thanks to its short coat, the American Shorthair is self-sufficient when it comes to grooming and requires little maintenance.

Although they are very active and generally a healthy breed, the American Shorthair is prone to obesity and digestive sensitivities. It is important to measure out their food to prevent them from overeating.

If an American Shorthair is given proper care and has a healthy lifestyle, it could live up to 15-20 years.

The American Shorthair in pop culture

Many famous actors and singers are American Shorthair owners. Some of these celebrities include Morgan Freeman, Drew Barrymore, Lea Michele, Macklemore, and Russell Brand.


    American Shorthairs who have appeared in pop culture:
  • Salem from the Sabrina the Teenage Witch and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina sitcoms
  • The cat from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Keanu the kitty from the movie Keanu


If you would like to know more about this breed, take a look at the Yummypets American Shorthair cat breed page. There you'll find hundreds of photos of this breed posted by our fellow Yummypals, as well as a list of American Shorthair owners on Yummypets. It's a great way to get to know fellow American Shorthair owners or to learn more about the breed by people who own them themselves.

Do you have this fabulous feline breed? Share your pictures down below!

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