Updated: November 10, 2021

If you’re looking for an undemanding pet that loves playtime and cuddles but is happy to entertain itself too, then you’ve found your match with the American Shorthair. Calm, patient and sociable, the American Shorthair won’t be following you from room to room for attention, but is happy to enjoy some TLC whenever the offer is there.

Descended from the working cats brought to North America by European settlers, the American Shorthair is one of the oldest cat breeds native to the U.S. It’s likely that these cats were brought over to catch mice on the ships, and went on to make excellent farm cats for the settlers. 

Adaptable and with a sweet disposition, the American Shorthair is a quiet and low-maintenance companion for all ages. 

Pet profile

Perfect for owners looking for cat who is both affectionate and intelligent

  • Medium (30 to 35cm)
  • Typically weighing between 3kg and 6kg
  • 15 to 20 years life expectancy 

Exercise and nutrition

As natural hunters, American Shorthairs enjoy light play with their owners, particularly catching toys similar to their natural prey, such as mice. Many owners choose to keep their American Shorthair indoors, but before you decide to do the same, ensure you have ample room for them to roam around and plenty of toys and games to help them burn off energy. 

American Shorthairs need a diet full of proteins and fats so try to feed them low carb cat food that lists meat as one of the first ingredients. The amount of food will depend on your cat’s size and activity level, and, as American Shorthairs are prone to overeat, it may be beneficial to use scales to measure out portions.


Common health problems and illnesses 

The American Shorthair is an exceptionally robust and healthy breed but it is still susceptible to hereditary diseases, particularly when purebred. The best safety net for the future is to take out pet insurance early on for your American Shorthair kitten before any such conditions show themselves.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a form of heart disease which is believed to be hereditary and is common in cats. The condition causes a thickening of the walls of the heart, which can lead to sudden heart failure or blood clots. Symptoms usually don’t appear until middle-age, so it’s important to report any changes in appetite, energy or breathing to your vet, and to have regular check-ups. 

Hip Dysplasia is a hereditary disease that can cause your feline pain and limit their movement. It’s caused when the hip joint is malformed and results in grinding in the hip socket. Your vet can offer a variety of treatments depending on the severity of the condition. 

The American Shorthair is known for its love of food and can easily become overweight, especially later in life. There are a number of health concerns for obese cats which can shorten their life expectancy, so it’s important to address this issue early on. 

Fun facts 

  1. American Shorthairs have been spotted in up to 80 different colours and markings although silver with black markings is one of the most common.
  2. The American Shorthair became one of the first cat breeds to be recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1906. 
  3. An American Shorthair from Seattle named Cooper has become an internet sensation after his owner clipped a digital camera to his collar. You can see his photography here
  4. Three American Shorthairs have won the Best Cat of the Year Award by the Cat Fanciers’ Association, including a silver coated tabby named Shawnee Trademark in 1965. 
  5. The American Shorthair was originally known as the Domestic Shorthair. The pedigrees were renamed American Shorthairs in 1966 to differentiate them.


American Shorthair