The American Bobtail Ultimate Guide

“That sweet looking cat with a bobbed tail seems perfect in every way.”

My room mate pointed towards a random cat in the park. Upon inquiring from the owner of this little kitty, we came to know that is an American Bobtail cat which is a rare and expensive breed. At that time, my roommate asked for my consent to get a cat of that same breed. Since I don’t have any problem with cats, I agreed to his suggestion at once. He asked me to help him with this cat, to which I assured him my full support.

So, I decided to do some research on this unique breed of cat to help my friend. After a thorough research from different sources, I have written down all the information at one place.

Read this article to find out the behaviour, lifestyle, temperament, food and many other aspects of an American Bobtail’s life.

I have divided this guide in following chapters for your ease:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to American Bobtail Cats
  • Chapter 2: Behavior of American Bobtail Cats
  • Chapter 3: Health and Diet of American Bobtail Cats
  • Chapter 4: Lifestyle of American Bobtail Cats

Chapter 1: Introduction to American Bobtail Cats

American Bobtail is a rare breed of cats that is extremely friendly and affectionate. Let’s find out the following aspects of this breed:

  • History
  • Appearance


The mutation of different cat breeds is a common practice that has rendered successful results in numerous cases. Through an interesting genetic mutation between different cat breeds, we have produced many unique features in cats like curly coats, loss of tail, curly ears, wire coats, and bobtail appearance.

The year of origin of American Bobtail was 1960. The American Bobtail was formed by a cross mating of Siamese cat and a short tailed male tabby. The kittens from these two breeds had offspring of their own.

All of them had a distinctive bob-shaped tail, almost half of the length of a normal cat’s tail. This is where American Bobtail cats came into being. The name of this cat is inspired by its short tail that is the consequence of a mutation.


Appearance-wise, this cat breed resembles a wild bobcat.

The most distinctive and noticeable feature of American Bobtails is their tail. Their signature tail helps in discriminating the bobtails from other breeds. The detailed body structure of an American Bobtail is as following:


The male cat is larger than the female. The average weight of these cute bobtail cats is 3-9 kg.

Body structure

The American Bobtail seems like a heavy and powerful cat with strong muscles and bones. The medium-sized legs perfectly complement to the torso displaying strong bones & powerful muscles.


The tail is naturally ‘bobbed’, that means it is unusually shorter than a normal cat’s tail. The bobbed tail of this breed ranges from 1-4 inches in length and is broad at the base. When the cat is vigilant it holds the tail straight up.

The tail has a flexible texture which can be slightly curled, twisted or knotted. Despite the short length, the tail has soft plume. There are long and thick hair around the tail. The appendage of this cat is long enough to be visible when it stands up.

Facial features

The prominent facial features of this breed are as follows:

  • Wedge-shaped head
  • Almond-shaped large eyes
  • Prominent Brows

The head is wedge-shaped with fully grown cheeks and a well-developed jaw and chin.

The eyes are large, almond shaped, and alert. They are spaced quite wide apart and are deep set on their broad face.

Another prominent feature of this breed is the ‘brow’ above the big eyes that gives it a look of an attentive hunter.

American Bobtails grow up very slowly and it takes them 2-3 years to reach complete adulthood.

Coat length

The American Bobtail ranges from medium to large size with a luxurious coat and muscular body.

These cats come in many colors and coat patterns, both in short-haired and long-haired varieties. The coat is naturally waterproof. This breed comes in the following varieties of coat:

  • Long hair
  • Short hair

Long hair: The fur of these cats is slightly shaggy and medium in length. This variety has a double coat that is neither dense nor matt. The hair length on the tail is longer as compared to rest of the body.

Short hair: The coat of this cat is semi-dense. The top coat is rigid and hard while the undercoat is soft and downy.

The double coat of both varieties is harsh and shaggy rather than fluffy.


The American Bobtails come in wide array of colors, shades and patterns. Here are a few solid colors found in the American Bobtails:

  • Red
  • Cream
  • Black
  • White
  • Chocolate
  • Fawn
  • Cinnamon
  • Lavender

Chapter 2: Behavior of American Bobtails

Here is a detailed breakdown on the behavior of American Bobtail cats.

Behavioral characteristics of American Bobtail

An American Bobtail cat has a crazy expression at first glance, but in reality, it is an affectionate and self-assured cat.

Let’s discuss the following traits of this cat:

  • Friendly attitude
  • Highly adaptability
  • Sensitive nature
  • American Bobtails with kids
  • American Bobtails with other pets

An American Bobtail has a very loving attitude towards human; it gets really attached to the family. Also, it doesn’t show a hostile attitude to the strangers.In fact, it is friendly towards them.

You’ll witness many people travelling with their American Bobtail cat because it loves travelling.This cat is highly adaptable to new environment. So, it proves to be a very good travel companion

Many psychotherapists suggest to keep an American Bobtail as a therapy cat because of its sensitivity to human emotions. The American Bobtails show much sensitivity towards the keeper when he/she is upset. So,this breed makes a great therapy cat for depressed individuals.

This breed suits best for loving and caring families. But it is not an easy option for people with younger kids or infants. Young kids will treat the cat roughly which can upset this little creature. They might pull the cat’s whisker or tail while playing with it.
However, this cat gets along well with older kids who handle the cat carefully.

This cat breed is also capable of becoming friends with pet dogs.

Favorite activity

An American Bobtail is very fond of:

  • Going outdoors for a walk
  • Playing fetch games
  • Going after shiny items

This cat loves going on walks. It really enjoys open outdoor spaces and socializing with new people and other pets. But you must keep this cat in front of your eyes all the time as it can sneak out of the home and get harmed by an automobile or wild animal.

American Bobtails really enjoy fetching games. If you are bored and do not find any company, then look no further than your kitty. It will play with you as much as you want. It also enjoys playing interesting games with kids.

The owners are advised to keep sparky items and jewelry away from their cat’s reach. Otherwise, this naughty feline will tear the sparky item apart or hide it an unseen spot of your house.

Nature of the American Bobtail

Have you ever wished for a dog in a cat’s body? Then your wish can come true in the form of an American Bobtail cat.

This cat is sincere, affectionate and easy-going. It can settle easily in any environment whether it is a crowded house with kids or a quiet place.

They are wonderful household companions. American Bobtails love company rather than being alone. Whether it is humans or another pet, they get along very well with everyone. It gets obsessed with older children and loves playing fetch games with them.

This cat is very smart and intelligent. You can train them to follow your commands as you like. They’ll instantly watch anything just by watching once.

This breed is moderately active, they are easy to handle and are not the ‘in-your-face’ type.

You can expect this cat to greet you at the door when you arrive home. This breed doesn’t love to be in closed rooms and at bolted cages. When you are at home, make sure your cat exercises a little to control the obesity.

Personality of American Bobtails

Despite its wild appearance, the American Bobtails are friendly, adaptable, smart, and personable cats. This breed is very entertaining in many ways.

The American Bobtail breed is popular for its clown-like behavior. The playful nature of this cat allows its family members to get entertained.

The bobtails are not noisy cats. In fact, they like to remain quiet most of the time. This cat will occasionally make delicate sounds like a purr, chirp, and trill; especially when they are happy. These cats have a thing for shiny objects.

Both females and males of this breed are confident, calm, and ‘laid-back’. Male cats allow the females and kittens to eat before them. They are extremely protective of their kittens. 

Basic characteristics

Following are the basic characteristics of this enchanting cat:

  • This is a new breed which has been developed by experimenting.
  • American Bobtail is a different breed from Manx and Japanese Bobtail. Many people confuse these breeds with American Bobtails.
  • It is a rare and expensive breed.
  • American Bobtails have numerous colors and patterns. You cannot expect all of your American Bobtails to have the same appearance.
  • The American Bobtails are fond of eating meat. Feed them meaty foods to keep them healthy.

Chapter 3: Health & Diet of American Bobtails

Health and diet are two integral parts of an animal’s life. What you feed your cat is ultimately a great responsibility which should be carefully considered by the owners.

Here is a detailed breakdown on both these facets of the American Bobtail cats.


The American Bobtails enjoy good health. They rarely get sick. The common health problems of this breed are:

  • Genetic disease
  • Spinal Problem
  • Viruses& Infections

Cats can develop genetic health diseases just like humans. So, if the cat breeder is just orally telling you that his/her strain has no health problems,then he is probably lying to you. You must ask the breeder to provide you a health certificate while purchasing this cat.

This breed enjoys overall good health but the tail-less Bobtails may develop spinal problems that trouble them in controlling excretion.

Get your cat regular vaccinations to keep it safe from catching viruses and infections. Take care of the hygiene of these cats because they are prone to catch diseases from other animals.

Fundamental care

Only a healthy pet can make you happy. So, make sure that your bobtail is well-groomed and clean if you want it to enjoy a healthy life.

The basic grooming requirements of American Bobtails are:

  • Hair brush
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Nail trimming
  • Eyes cleaning         
  • Occasional Ear cleaning
  • Clean Bathroom

The American Bobtails shed more during specific seasons like spring and fall. That’s why, in those day, it is better to brush their fur more frequently. You need to brush the cat to get rid of the dead hairs and to keep the hair coat shiny and healthy. The short-haired variety needs very little grooming except for weekly brushing. The long-haired variety needs hair brushing at least 2-3 times a week.

I, personally, use this slicker brush for combing my American Bobtail’s hair. Although my cat is a long-haired one, yet this brush has been able to reduce its shedding to a great extent.

However, a bath is necessary once a month.

You may brush the teeth on a weekly basis to prevent periodontal diseases for your cat.

Trim the nails of this cat every couple of weeks as they grow really quick.

You must clean the eyes of your cat with a damp and soft cloth. Wipe the corners of both eyes to remove the dirt or discharge. Also, use a separate side of cloth for each eye to avoid the risk of expanding any infection.

Take a look into the insides of each ear. Clean them with a cotton ball if they seem dirty. You can use a soft damp cloth to clean out the ear wax. Dump that cloth into a mixture of warm water and cider vinegar, then wipe the wax with it. Cotton swab must be avoided as it can damage the ear’s interior.

American Bobtail is a very classy breed that is extremely particular about its hygiene. It won’t use its litter box unless it is clean. So, keep the bathroom spotlessly clean for your cat.

It is better to keep the American Bobtail inside the house for most of the time. It will protect the cat from catching diseases from other pets and attacks by coyotes or dogs.

Plus, if you let your innocent & little American Bobtail cat visit the outdoors unattended, then someone might steal it. In order to avoid any unfortunate circumstances regarding your cat, you must keep it close to yourself.

It is also suggested that you pay a visit to the vet annually for the de-worming and dental cleaning of the American Bobtail.


American Bobtails are meat-lovers. So, when you bring this breed home as a pet, buy formulated meat products or organic meat along. They are fussy about eating and will give you a tough time if you make them eat everything.

Also, do not try to give them the same food you feed to dogs as it has too many carbohydrates which are not digestible by these cats.

The cat must have access to clean drinking water all the time.

Avoid giving milk, table scraps, and excessive treats to the cat.

If you’re wondering which cat food product I use for my American Bobtails, then it’s this one from Blue Wilderness. I find that it has quite a healthy amount of proteins to satisfy my cat’s need.

Chapter 4: Lifestyle & Lifespan of American Bobtail Cats

If you’re keeping an American Bobtail cat at home, you should know what sort of life and lifestyle it prefers.

Keeping an American Bobtail at home

American Bobtail is an active & outgoing cat. This breed is fearless without being aggressive. It enjoys activity &gets most of its exercise by playing with people and other pets.

But, when you keep a cat indoors all the time and it gets accustomed to sit around all the day with minimum physical activity, then the chances of it getting obese increase.

The ideal home for American Bobtails

The American Bobtails are used to a luxurious lifestyle. It is important to take care of the living requirements of your cat. Make sure that you bring an American Bobtail to a well-managed and clean home to give it a happy life.

Here are a few factors that decide whether a house is good for American Bobtails or not:

  • Indoor & Outdoor opportunities
  • A home with Kids
  • A home with other pets

Indoor and outdoor opportunities

A reputable cat breeder has a contract which specifies that the American Bobtail cat must be kept indoors only. This is because these cats are skilled runners. If you leave them outdoors unattended, they will start wandering around and get lost.

The American Bobtails are suited to living indoors. When we talk about “outdoor opportunities”, we don’t really mean that you leave your cat out in the open. Instead, it refers to an open space which is fenced on all 4 sides.The fence must be high so the cat cannot jump out of it.

A home with kids

Do not bring The American Bobtail cat to a home with small kids i.e. younger than 5 years. The kids will probably mishandle the cat and it will not tolerate this. If the kids are older, then you must teach them how to handle this cat with care and respect.

A home with other pets

This breed gets along with other pets really well. Introduce the pets to each other gradually and give them time to understand each other. Do not keep this cat with big and violent animals which can harm it.

Buying an American Bobtail

Finding this breed is a bit difficult. Very few breeders can provide you a healthy and pure American Bobtail cat.

Find a prestigious breeder who abides by the rules that prohibit selling cats to wholesalers and pet shops. Also see if the breeder abides by the his obligation to cats and their buyers.

Go for a breeder that has acquired health certification for raising the kittens in the best way possible. Kittens who are isolated by the breeders become skittish & fearful. Such kittens face difficulties to interact with humans and other pets in their later life.

You will find many breeders online but you cannot tell which one is trustworthy. For this, you must read the reviews on the website and call on their number to seek complete information before-hand.

Some red flags that show there is something wrong with the breeder are:

  • Kittens are always available
  • There are multiple litters on the supposition
  • Selection through pictures
  • Paying online via credit card

These options are easy but they are almost never related with true & reliable breeders.

So, when you plan to get a pet kitty from a pet store, a breeder or some different source, remember that you have complete right to investigate and ask questions. There is never a guaranteed way to tell that the cat you are going to buy is not sick but checking out the facility, exploring the strain, and inquiring into right details can reduce the chances of getting into a disastrous situation.

Another way to reach a trusted breeder is through a veterinarian. The vet can direct you to a reputed breed rescue organization, a respectable breeder or another trusted source to find a healthy feline.

This could be quite a time consuming and arduous task to explore the right breeder and healthy kitten, but it will save you money in the long-term. Just be patient and look hard to find your new friend. It can take more than 6 weeks to find the right cat from a breeder. Many of the breeders do not let you take the kitty home unless they get 12-16 months old which is the right way to go about it as these kittens need their mothers during this time period.

Consider buying an adult American Bobtail rather than a kitten. The adults are easy to deal with. Kittens can be fun, but they demand a lot of attention and care. They are also at the higher risk of getting sick due to infections and diseases.

An adult, however, can take care of so many things itself.

Life expectancy

The American Bobtail is a long-living breed. This cat can live for 12-20 years depending on the level of care provided to it and its health.

To make sure that your cat lives a longer life, follow these tips:

  1. Keep the cat indoors
  2. Feed your cat with a balanced amount of meaty food
  3. Maintain the healthy weight of your cat
  4. Make your cat exercise daily
  5. Engage them in interesting activities to keep their mind fresh
  6. Groom them regularly
  7. Keep their surroundings clean
  8. Visit the vet for routine checkups
  9. Get your cat micro-chipped, in case it goes missing you can easily find it

Interesting facts about American Bobtails

  • It is a domestic cat.
  • This breed is really smart. They are popular by the name of “Harry Houdini” as they have a solution for every problem.
  • This is a very loyal breed.
  • It is extremely fond of travelling. This breed is the favorite travelling companion of the truck drivers.
  • The hind legs of this breed are longer than the front legs.
  • American Bobtails carry around their toys as if they have hunted them. They act this way to show their intelligence and love for hunting.

Related Questions

Why are American Bobtails used for therapy? American Bobtails show a great deal of love and affection towards their families. They never let a person feel alone. They are also very accommodating to other pets in the house, including dogs. Given their confident, accommodating, and affectionate qualities, these cats are highly suitable for therapeutic purpose. Doctors advise to keep this breed as a stress relieving animal.

What do you call an American Bobtail without a tail? Some bobtails are born with missing tails; these are called ‘’rumpies’’. These cats may live a healthy life but they are not acceptable for breeding.

Would my American Bobtail feel alone without any other pet? No, your cat won’t feel alone as long as it is getting your attention. This breed is good with other pets and enjoys their company. But it is not necessary to keep another pet just to accompany the American Bobtail. They can live well in the presence of humans only. 


Other Sources

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