American Bobtail Cat

Best known for a shorter tail, shaggy coat and wild appearance, the American Bobtail cat has a mild nature, dog-like personality and affinity to be leash trained. This is a quiet, intuitive and very adaptable breed that makes one of the best travel companions.
American Bobtail Cat

American Bobtail Cat Characteristics (Quick Facts)

Size: Medium. Chubby body.

Intelligence: High.

Exercise Needs: Needs decent exercise.

Ability to Adapt: High. Adjusts quickly.

Shedding: Moderate shedding.

Average Lifespan: From 11-15 years.

Price: From $600 to $1000.

Weight: From 7-16 lbs.

Playfulness: Ideal playmate.

Social Skills: Good with children & other pets.

Need for Grooming: Thrice a week.

Health: Very good. Minor health issues.

Hypoallergenic?: No.

The main feature of the American Bobtail Cat is its shorter tail. That combined with a shaggy coat and muscular body gives these cats a distinctive wild look. However, this breed is anything but wild.

Due to its loyal and devoted nature, this breed is nicknamed the Golden Retriever of the cat world.

The American Bobtail adapts well to almost any environment. So, it’s a great choice for seniors, singles, and families with young children. It’s an intelligent, active, and affectionate breed that enjoys playing and hunting.

You can easily train these cats to walk on a leash!

The bobtail is a low maintenance cat that doesn’t have any known hereditary health problems. This breed of cat can live up to 20 years if cared for properly.

Where Did American Bobtail Cat Breed Originate?

The origins of American Bobtail are covered in mystery. But one thing is for sure, they have appeared in various places in America long before the breed was discovered.

The first real effort to create a new breed occurred in the 1960s.

John and Brenda Sanders found a bob-tailed kitten during a vacation in Arizona. They were captivated by the wild looks and short tail of this tabby kitten.

So, they brought him home to Iowa and named him Yodi. The story says that, in his new home Yodi met Mishi, a seal point Siamese. They had a bob-tailed litter together.

Unfortunately, the original bloodlines of this breed have died out. But a new one emerged thanks to the efforts of Mindy Schoultz and Charlotte Bentley. They, along with other breeders in the U.S., used feral domestic bobtails and were able to create the breed as we know it today.

In 1989 The International Cat Association gave the American Bobtail Cat a new breed status. And in 2002, full recognition as a separate breed.

Today, this breed is recognized worldwide and has full championship status.

What Does the American Bobtail Cat Look Like?

They have a robustly built body, broad head and chest, wide stance, and high hips. But their most notable feature is their tail.

The tail is one-third or one-half the length of a normal tail and can be straight, curved, slightly knotted, or bumpy. Every cat has a different tail, and some are born with a full-length tail which excludes them from show rings.

As far as the size standards are concerned, the American Bobtail should be a muscular and well boned, medium-large size cat. The body must be moderately long and stocky with substantial boning.

This is a slow maturing breed and can take 2 to 3 years to reach its full size.

American Bobtail Cat Colors

The American Bobtail comes in a variety of colors. The most common being black, blue, chocolate, brown, cream, cinnamon, lilac and white.

Coat patterns also vary, but ones that enhance the breed’s wild look are preferred.

American Bobtail Cat Personality Traits

The American Bobtail’s wild look is a complete opposite to their mild, affectionate, loyal, and loving personality. This breed is known to be a Golden Retriever of a cat world. It likes to follow its owner’s every step and be involved in his daily duties.

This breed isn’t overbearing and will ask the same amount of attention that it is willing to give.

This is a social and moderately active breed that likes to interact with everyone. It will greet you and your guest by the front door.

They are highly intelligent cats that love to play fetch and can spend time with something like a food maze. They can very easily be trained to walk on a leash.

The interesting thing about this breed is its affinity towards shiny and sparkle objects. Owners are advised to keep jewelry and valuables away from their cat’s paws!

This isn’t particularly vocal breed. Instead of loud meows, it will communicate its thoughts with chirps, trills, clicks, and purrs.


Both female and male Bobtails have laid-back, mellow, and self-confident temperaments. However, they are fierce when it comes to their families and form strong emotional bonds with their owners.

This breed has an uncanny ability to understand human emotions. They can put on a show and entertain you for hours with their antics. But they will also offer a shoulder to cry on in times of distress.

Since they are so attuned to human emotions, Bobtails are often used in psychotherapy programs.

American Bobtail Cat Behavior

Generally, these cats rarely develop any behavioral issues. They have hearts of gold and will keep on giving without expecting much in return.

To avoid any problems, socialize your Bobtail kitten from a young age.

They, generally love the company and become fast friends with other people, children, or pets.

Like any other breed, the American Bobtail can become depressed and destructive if constantly ignored or left alone.

However, this is unlikely to happen if you interact with your cat and care for her properly.

Are American Bobtail Cats Adaptable to New Surroundings?

This is a highly adaptable breed that adjusts well to new environment, people, and situation. This trait makes the American Bobtail a perfect travel buddy.

Many truck drivers choose this breed as their travel companion! This is a great breed for all who like to travel and want to keep vacation memories with their cats in a scrapbook album.

Being a moderately active breed, they can benefit from added activities. But this doesn’t mean that these cats don’t like to play. They just need some extra motivation and exercise to stay in shape.

Teach your cat to play fetch or tease her with a wand to get her moving and burning off energy and extra calories.

Does It Get Along with Children and Other Pets?

This is an amiable and laid-back breed that enjoys spending time with people and other pets.

American Bobtails are moderately active and get along best with children who are older than six and can be engaged in various activities.

It is best to supervise any play sessions to avoid injuries on both sides.

This is not an attention seeking breed. It’s quiet, calm personality and good nature makes it perfect for quiet individuals of any age. Because of a dog-like personality, they get along just fine with dogs provided they are introduced properly.

Unlike the Abyssinian cat, the bobtail won’t feel the urge to reinforce its domain and will get along nicely with other cats, or cat-friendly dogs.

Even though this is a moderately active breed, these cats love to play and interact with other family members. You can engage your cat in a game of fetch or let her entertain herself by playing with an activity center.

Even though they are more mellow than some cat breeds, the American Bobtail will partake in play sessions with children and other pets.

General Health and Potential Risks

Thanks to the diversity in its bloodline, the American Bobtail is generally healthy and doesn’t have any known hereditary health conditions.

They have a long lifespan and can live up to 20 years if they are properly taken care of. Still, they can develop the following health conditions:

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is an uncommon health problem in cats. It causes an abnormal development and degeneration of a hip joint.
  • Shortened Spine: This is a congenital disorder which causes a cat to be born without a tail. These cats suffer from many health problems which are the result of a shortened spine.
  • Obesity: This is one of the most common health problems seen in American Bobtail Cat today. It can impact their overall health. Use less calorie dense foods and exercise your cat properly.

American Bobtail Cat Lifespan

Since they are a healthy breed, their average lifespan is 11-15 years. But some can live up to 20 years if properly taken care of.

Even though it doesn’t look like it, obesity is a serious health problem with this breed. To prevent weight gain, try to keep your cat exercised and on a high-quality protein rich diet.

Grooming Needs

The thick and shaggy looking double coat comes in two lengths, short and long, and needs to be properly maintained.

The coat is soft to the touch. Short-haired American Bobtail Cat is easy to groom and can be brushed once a week.

Long-haired American Bobtail Cats, on the other hand, have a ruff around the neck, and longer hair on back legs, belly, and tail. They need to be brushed three times a week to prevent hairballs from developing.

American Bobtail Cat Shedding

The American Bobtail is a moderate shedder and must be brushed regularly. Long-haired Bobtails shed more and need to be groomed frequently.

Both shorthair and longhair American Bobtail Cats will shed more during shedding season and leave clumps of hair around the house. If you are diligent in your grooming routine, bathing will not be necessary.

However, a proper bath can help loosen up the hair and make grooming easier during the shedding season. If you plan to bathe your cat, introduce this routine from a young age to give a cat time to get used to it.

Listed below are the answers to the most common question about the American Bobtail Cat breed.

How Much is American Bobtail Cat Price?

The exact cost of the American Bobtail can range from one breeder to the next and depends on a lot of factors. Since Bobtails are rare, they are a bit on the expensive side. You can expect to pay anywhere from $600 to over $1000 for them.

If you are looking for a purebred pet quality American Bobtail kitten, you can probably find one cheaper. However, show quality Bobtails are quite expensive and don’t be surprised if there is a waiting list of some sort.

How Big Do American Bobtail Cats Get?

Due to substantial boning and athletic appearance, these are deceptively heavy cats. Males are slightly larger and weigh from 12-16 pounds. Females are smaller and weigh from 7-11 pounds.

This breed is prone to obesity. So, it is important that a cat is properly exercised and fed with weight control foods.

Are American Bobtail Cats Hypoallergenic?

There isn’t a completely hypoallergenic cat breed, but some cats produce fewer allergens.

Unfortunately, the American Bobtail isn’t one of those breeds. If you suffer from allergies, you may need to rethink about getting an America Bobtail as a companion.

What Causes Bobtail Cats?

Their short tail is the result of a cat body type genetic mutation affecting the tail development.

Despite similar names American Bobtail and Japanese Bobtail Cats are unrelated and mutation causing the American Bobtail’s tail is dominant.

How Can American Bobtail Cat Survive Without a Tail?

Cats can live without their tails. Even though felines use their tales for balance, if a cat’s tail is amputated for some reason, she will quickly learn how to balance without it.

American Bobtails are in no way affected by their shorter tails and are no less agile than cats with normal length tails.

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