Japanese Bobtail Cat

The Japanese Bobtail Cat is best known for its unusual 'bunny' like tail. This is an energetic, playful and intelligent cat that is best suited for families with children. The Japanese Bobtail loves its people, likes to chat and be around them and doesn’t like being left alone.
Japanese Bobtail Cat

Japanese Bobtail Cat Characteristics (Quick Facts)

Size: Medium. Average body.

Intelligence: High.

Exercise Needs: Needs no exercise.

Ability to Adapt: High. Adjusts quickly.

Shedding: Moderate shedding.

Average Lifespan: From 9-15 years.

Price: From $600 to $1600.

Weight: From 6-10 lbs.

Playfulness: Through the roof!

Social Skills: Great with children & other pets.

Need for Grooming: Twice a week.

Health: Excellent. No health issues.

Hypoallergenic?: No.

The Japanese Bobtail Cat is known for his short, bobbed tail. Every tail is unique and can be either flexible or rigid, with one or more curves.

This is a medium-sized breed with a muscular but slender body and long legs. The Japanese Bobtail can have either a short or long coat in a variety of different colors. Cats with a tricolor calico pattern, called “mi-ke”, are the most desirable and sought after by breeders.

These cats are intelligent, people-oriented, playful, and energetic. The Japanese Bobtail is the happiest when he is around his family.

This is a confident cat that isn’t afraid of anything and will happily greet guests by the front door.

They love to play and jump and are much easier to train than other cat breeds. These cats learn to respond to their names quickly and can be trained to do various tricks.

Where Did Japanese Bobtail Cat Breed Originate?

It is believed that the Japanese Bobtail arrived in Japan as a gift from the emperor of China to the emperor of Japan. They have been known in Japanese art and writing for at least a millennium.

A tricolor cat with a bobbed tail and a beckoning paw is considered a symbol of good fortune.

In 1602, the Japanese silk industry was in jeopardy because of the rodent population threatening the silkworm population.

This caused the Japanese authorities to order that all cats should be set free, to deal with the pest infestation. From then on, these cats lived on farms and city streets, keeping away rodents.

This is how the breed became known as the ‘Street Cat of Japan’.

Around 1701, a German doctor Engelberth Kaempfer wrote a book ‘Kaempfer’s Japan’. While describing the flora and fauna of the island, he noted that the Japanese Bobtail is the only breed of cat that is domesticated.

The Japanese Bobtail is a natural breed. This means that the breed originally began as a landrace but became recognized as a formal breed over time. The bobbed tail is the result of a natural mutation, caused by a dominant gene.

In 1968, Elizabeth Feret was the first person to import these cats from Japan.

In 1976, the Cat Fanciers Association accepted the short-haired Japanese Bobtail for Championship status. The long-haired variety of the Japanese Bobtail had not been recognized until 1993.

This breed is rare but widely recognized by all North American cat associations. The Japanese Bobtail is considered a lucky breed which brings its owners happiness and prosperity.

What Does the Japanese Bobtail Cat Look Like?

This is a medium-sized cat with a sturdy and muscular, yet slender body. This breed’s hind legs are longer than their forelegs so that the body is leveled.

The triangular-shaped head is topped with large, upright ears which are set at a right angle. This gives these cats an alert look.

The most notable feature of the Japanese Bobtail is his short ‘bunny’ tail. Every tail is unique and no two are alike.

The tail can be either flexible or rigid, with different curves and angles. Ideally, according to the breed’s standard, the tail shouldn’t be more than three inches long.

According to size standards, an ideal Japanese Bobtail should be medium in size. The body should be well-balanced and should show well-developed muscular strength.

Japanese Bobtail Cat Colors

The Japanese Bobtail comes in a variety of different colors and patterns.

The most famous being ‘mi-ke’, a tricolor calico pattern. The van pattern (a white body and colored head and tail) and completely white cats are also prized by breeders.

The Japanese Bobtail is also found in black, white, cream, blue, red, brown, and silver. The various patterns found in this breed include solid, bicolor, tricolor (calico), tortoiseshell, tabby, ticking, and shaded.

Japanese Bobtail Cat Personality Traits

This is a happy, intelligent, energetic, and people-oriented breed. These cats are the happiest when surrounded by people.

The Japanese Bobtail isn’t a lap cat, but forms a close bond with its owners. The Bobtail will nap close to you on the sofa and sleep in your bed at night.

The confident Bobtail isn’t afraid of strangers and will even greet guests at the front door.

This breed likes to jump and requires perching surfaces. Furthermore, this breed likes to play and needs a lot of toys. If not provided with an array of different toys, the Bobtail can become bored and destructive.

This energetic and playful cat is a perfect companion for active families. These cats seek company and get along with children who have the energy to keep up with them.

This breed does not like to be left alone. Therefore, get your cat a companion if you spend most of your time away from home.

The Bobtail is an intelligent breed that loves solving puzzles. They can learn how to walk on a leash and to perform various tricks.

These cats also like to play with water, so be prepared for puddles around the water bowl! Furthermore, they will learn how to open taps and splash water all around.


This breed has a playful, energetic, and endearing temperament. Being a highly-people oriented cat, your Japanese Bobtail will want to be the center of your family.

However, they tend to be headstrong. Thus, it will be hard changing your cat’s mind about what is acceptable and what isn’t.

The affectionate Japanese Bobtail likes to chat and communicates in a soft and chirpy voice. And since they have a wide pitch range, it may almost seem like your cat is singing to you!

Japanese Bobtail Cat Behavior

The playful Bobtail is generally a well-behaved cat, but it is prone to boredom and destructive behavior.

Invest in a lot of toys and play with your cat every day to keep her entertained and occupied.

Otherwise, your cat will start playing with your belongings and destroy them soon enough!

Are Japanese Bobtail Cats Adaptable to New Surroundings?

The Japanese Bobtail is a highly adaptable breed. These cats adapt well to changes, if they can play and cuddle with their owners.

Because of their adaptable nature, these cats make excellent travel companions. Taking your cat on vacation in an RV or a car won’t be a problem.

Your cat will stay in great shape if provided with toys. They love to carry toys in their mouths and to play hunting games.

This breed can play alone, but it also likes to play with its owner. Hence, you should spend some quality time every day interacting with your cat.

Does It Get Along with Children and Other Pets?

The highly energetic and playful Japanese Bobtail is an excellent pet for families with children. This breed likes to play with kids that can match its energy levels.

Teach your cat to play fetch, tug or get a cat teaser and have your cat and your child play for hours!

This social breed likes to have company. Thus, they get along well with both cats and dogs.

Still, the Japanese Bobtail bonds deeply with its littermates during the early days. So, consider getting two cats instead of one.

This cheerful cat enjoys playing with its owner and can spend hours chasing after toys.

While they also can play alone you should try and spend some time playing with your Japanese Bobtail every day. Interact with your cat daily to keep her happy and thriving.

General Health and Potential Risks

Health and Potential Health Problems

The Japanese Bobtail has no known genetic health problems.

To keep your cat protected from common feline diseases, keep them regularly vaccinated and don’t skip regular vet visits. It is also important to keep your cat’s flea and worm treatments up to date.

And decide whether it would be safer for this exotic breed to stay indoors. With proper care and nutrition, the Japanese Bobtail can stay healthy throughout her whole life.

Japanese Bobtail Cat Lifespan

On average, the Japanese Bobtail can live from 9 to 15 years. With a good preventive care plan, your cat can live even longer.

You should pay close attention to your cat’s nutrition and exercises. Additionally, keep your cat active with a variety of different toys.

Grooming Needs

The Japanese Bobtail comes in two coat length varieties. Both varieties have a short undercoat and are easy to groom.

Use a slicker brush to keep the soft and silky coat in pristine condition. Brush your cat twice a week to remove dead skin cells and distribute skin oils through the length of coat.

Japanese Bobtail Cat Shedding

Both varieties of the Japanese Bobtail shed moderately, more so during the shedding season. You need to groom your cat more often during that period if you want to control the amount of loose hair.

In this section, we answer frequently asked questions about the Japanese Bobtail. Read on to learn more about this energetic and cute-looking breed!

How Much is Japanese Bobtail Cat Price?

The exact price of a Japanese Bobtail kitten depends on a breeder and several other factors. On average, you can expect to pay from $600 to $1600 for a purebred kitten.

Pet quality kittens are on the lower end of the price spectrum. Show quality Japanese Bobtails can cost even more depending on the coat pattern and markings, gender, and heritage.

How Big Do Japanese Bobtail Cats Get?

As with all other cat breeds, male cats are larger and weight 7-10 pounds. Females are smaller and weigh 5-7 pounds.

This active and energetic cat is always up for a game of chase. However, they love to eat food and treats which makes them at risk of weight gain.

Are Japanese Bobtail Cats Hypoallergenic?

There are no completely hypoallergenic breeds, but some are considered less allergenic than others. However, the Japanese Bobtail isn’t one of these less allergenic cat breeds.

Although this breed doesn’t shed a lot, you may need to reconsider getting a Japanese Bobtail if you or any of your family members suffer from allergies.

Affiliate Disclosure:

As an affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We may receive a commission, or some sort of compensation, when you purchase using links on this page. Read disclosure.

      The Dutiful Cat