American Shorthair

It is thought that this wide-faced cat came to the United States on the Mayflower as a working cat to hunt vermin. Today, the American Shorthair is one of the most common cat breeds in the United States.

Common Characteristics

  • Size: 1 to 20 pounds
  • Lifespan: 16 to 25 years
  • Pet purchase cost: $501 to $1000
  • Allergies: Severe
  • Shedding: Moderate
  • Primarily suited for indoors


Common Reasons for Surrender

An American Shorthair may be surrendered to a shelter or a rescue through no fault of his own. Common reasons for surrender include occasions when a family member develops allergies or discovers he is allergic, the cat doesn’t get along with another pet in the family, or the family has to move and cannot or does not want to take their American Shorthair with them.


A friendly and outgoing personality earns the American Shorthair the distinction of being similar to a dog. American Shorthairs typically do well in homes with children because they are so laidback. Most get along with well with dogs, cats, and other family pets. Kittens generally love playing and running, which will continue into adulthood if their humans encourage play.


American Shorthairs are typically energetic as kittens. As your kitten moves into adulthood, he’ll need you to ensure he remains active and gets enough play time each day. The breed typically bonds to one person in the home—usually the one who feeds and spends the most time with her—so if you want to be that person, you must be prepared to put in the time and the effort to develop the bond.


A high quality food, either canned or dry, is essential to your American Shorthair’s good health. Opt for a food that is grain-free. Some experts recommended feeding raw meat several times a day to supplement dry food. Consult your veterinarian if you’re not sure what food is best for your American Shorthair. Cats love treats, especially freeze dried meats such as chicken and salmon, which can be given in moderation.


American Shorthairs require minimal exercise daily. Ten minutes of active play—chasing a laser or batting a teaser—is generally sufficient.

Possible Health Issues

The American Shorthair is generally a very healthy breed.


Most American Shorthairs prefer clay litter to other types of litter. Be sure that the litter you choose is dust-free and digestible. Cats will often inadvertently ingest litter when cleaning their paws, which could result in serious gastrointestinal problems. Scoop your cat’s litter box daily and change it completely at least once a week.


You generally do not have to groom an American Shorthair. However, you should brush your cat every now and then to remove any excess hair from shedding. Most American Shorthairs enjoy brushing, and it gives you both the opportunity to strengthen your bond.


Training an American Shorthair is typically easy if you are persistent and consistent. Many successfully learn how to retrieve, sit up, and beg on command. Some will even learn to walk on a leash.


A window can provide your American Shorthair with hours of entertainment. Most love to watch birds and squirrels outside. You may also want to try showing your cat a video of birds or squirrels playing on YouTube to get her energized. American Shorthairs generally love to chase after balls and their feline friends and to go after a laser pointer or teaser. Toys filled with catnip are also hugely popular with most cats regardless of the breed.

We want to thank Russellers Cattery for help with this profile.

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