The American Shorthair Cat Ultimate Guide

While gazing at the incredibly beautiful American Shorthair cat, I often lose track of time.

I would know since my sister has kept one for the last 4 months. Only if you have ever seen this curious and charismatic creature, you will know how delightful it is.

Moving forward to the exciting part:

My sister wants me to adopt this kitty as she is moving away.


I accepted the offer without any hesitation.

Now, I have to make sure that my new kitty stays comfortable and healthy with me at my home as it is now.

I want to acknowledge every possible detail about this cat breed, so there is no obstacle for me when I take this beauty to its new home.

Here is a complete guide for all the people out there who are obsessed with American Shorthair cats.

You can discover anything that you want to know about this cat breed in the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to American Shorthair cats
  • Chapter 2: Behaviour of American Shorthair cats
  • Chapter 3: Health and diet of American Shorthair cats
  • Chapter 4: Size & life expectancy of American Shorthair cats


Chapter 1: Introduction to American Shorthair cats

These cats were recognized for their hunting skills at first but later they proved to be an extremely affectionate pet.

Let’s get to know about the rich history of this cat breed followed by its distinct appearance.

History and origin

The American Shorthair breed was imported to North America by immigrants from European countries.

Some records show that the Mayflower carried many cats as pest controls to hunt the rats in their ship.

For many years, these cats flourished along with their pioneer keepers and later on, they were seen everywhere in North America.

Their loving nature and beauty were equally valued as their rat-hunting skills.

This breed of cats is basically native to America.

But the fact remains that this breed was birthed by European cats. The first breed of American Shorthair was recognized in 1906.

At that time, this breed was named ‘Domestic shorthair’. The British Shorthair was among the parents of this breed.

Initially, this cat breed was brought up as a working cat.

These cats used to control the rodent population. Farmers, householders, and shopkeepers trained these cats to guard their food storages against rats, mice, and other vermin.

Since this kitty was meant to labor, it was bred to be strong, healthy and powerful.

The cats had to spend most of their time outdoors, so their coat was cultivated to be dense and to keep the body safe from outer elements.

Later in 1966, this breed was renamed as the “American Shorthair”.

The name represents the “short-hair” characteristic of this cat.

The name also represents that this custom-bred breed is not the same as the randomly bred “domestic shorthair” cats found in streets and barnyards.

Their resemblance with “Domestic” Shorthair cats

Usually, a non-pedigreed “Domestic” shorthair cat looks like an American Shorthair cat.

To avoid confusion, keep in mind that a pure breed American Shorthair can consistently reproduce kittens with similar coat quality, physical conformation, and temperament.

However, a randomly bred Domestic Shorthair cat lacks this quality of breeding a consistent litter.

The typical American Shorthair feline, after years of selective and restricted breeding, is able to reproduce each litter of kittens with almost similar qualities.


American Shorthair is a little kitty but not a delicate one.

This is the absolute description for this medium-sized but powerful American Shorthair cat.

The body structure encrypts heavy boning and muscles. The cat has a well-developed overall look.

The distinguishing features of an American shorthair cat are:

  • Broad chest
  • Muscular neck
  • Strong jaws
  • Thick legs

The general body physique of this cat breed is stocky, strong, and muscular.

The build of this breed gives it endurance and agility as an active stalker, and its heavy-muscled legs allow it to jump and climb to reach its target. The body of this cat is longer than its height.

For your familiarity, let’s dive into the detailed description of each physical feature of this adorable kitty:


This cat breed has a large face with fully developed cheekbones.

A curve is formed from the head top towards the neck. The nose size is medium and there is a small curve between the bridge of their nose and forehead.


The American Shorthair cats have a wide and large set of eyes that come in various colors.

Their talkative eyes leave a very sweet impact on you.

The common eye colors of this breed are:

  • Blue
  • Copper
  • Green
  • Gold
  • Hazel
  • Unique eyes (both eyes are of different colors)


The medium-sized ears of American shorthair cats are slightly rounded at the tips.


The tail of this kitty has a thick base and becomes tapered toward the end. The tail length is in accordance with the body size.


These cats have strong and muscular legs. The leg size is broader than most of the other cat breeds. Their paws are firm, rounded, and fully padded.


The coat length of American shorthair cats is short, as mentioned in its name.

These short-haired cats come in a diverse range of patterns and colors of the coat. The coat texture is extremely dense and thick. It becomes thicker and longer during the winters.

The coat is supposed to protect the cat from harsh weather conditions, so it is relatively hard.

There are almost 80 recognized varieties based on the coat pattern and color of this cat.

Some of the most common patterns are

  • Solid
  • Tabby
  • Calico
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Bicolor
  • Parti-color

Daily brushing can keep your cat’s coat from thickening during the changing season.

An American Shorthair cat will get knots in its coat if you do not brush it regularly.

The difference between Male and Female American Shorthairs

Usually, pet owners are very concerned about the gender of their pet.

Since they have to name their pet based on its gender, so they want to know the difference between a male and a female American Shorthair cat.

Among all the cat breeds, differentiating between genders can be very subtle.

You need to take a closer look at the physical features and habits of your cat to determine its gender.

Usually, among the American Shorthair cats, the male and female are identified on the basis of their size and weight.

The female kitty of this breed is smaller than the male, so if you are looking for a small pet, then get the female cat of this breed.

Male Female
It is less reserved & opens up easilyIt takes more time in adapting to the environment
Stays playful in all agesEventually becomes less playful when it turns old
Becomes overweight quicklyDoesn’t get overweight easily
Keeps on growing until 3-5 years of ageGrows at a slower rate
The average weight is 11-15 lbsThe average weight is 6-12 lbs

Similarities between both genders

After studying the differences, let’s find out the similarities between both genders of the American Shorthair breed:

  • Dense and short fur coat
  • Sharp mind
  • A strong temperament that allows them to survive in harsh outdoor conditions

Top 5 cat foods for American Shorthair cats

Food is a basic necessity for any living being and if you wish to keep your cat happy and healthy, you should definitely keep quality food products in mind.

Here are my top 5 cat food products for American Shorthair cats:

Stella and Chewy’s: If you’re serious about providing the best quality food for your cat and aren’t concerned with the price, then you should opt for a quality dehydrated/frozen cat food like this one.

9 Lives Dry Cat Food: Very economical and great quality.

Hill’s Science Diet: A great choice for kitties with a sensitive stomach.

Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Wet Cat Food: A fantastic option for people who do not like to feed their cat with “poultry” chicken.

IAMS Wet Cat Food: The vitamin D content in this cat food is great for indoor cats.


Chapter 2: Behaviour of American Shorthair cats

So, what is my cat like? What does it like to do? What is its favorite time pass activity?

So many questions, right? Let’s get the answers without wasting any time.

Behavioral characteristics of American Shorthair cats

Do you love cats but are afraid to keep one just because of their attention seeking behavior?

In that case, I suggest you get an American Shorthair cat which is not an overly demanding and attention seeking breed. You can leave it alone at home without any worrying.

This cat enjoys taking a sunbath and to sleep under the sun. You may take it along to the beach for a picnic.

This breed is easy to take care of and makes a calm and wonderful friend.

This breed is a greedy one.

It will keep on eating if you do not control its diet. Despite a heavier body, you need to make sure that it doesn’t overeat. Obesity can lead the cat to further health hazards.

Scratching is a natural behavior of American shorthair cats like all other felines.

Provide a suitable spot to satisfy your cat’s scratching habits especially when it stays indoors all the time. Due to lack of scratching sites, it may attack your sofa or bed sheets.

The best way to go about this is to buy a proper scratching post for your American Shorthair cat.

It is prohibited to declaw the cat as it would affect the overall behavior and health of your pet.

The American Shorthair cats are very fond of playing games.

Even if a cat toy is not available, it will pick anything to play with, just like my kitty is playing with my makeup brushes all the time.


The American Shorthair is basically a good-natured and peaceful cat. The definitive personality traits of American Shorthair are mentioned in this chart:

Family companionHigh
Energy LevelMedium
Pet FriendlinessHigh
Children friendlinessHigh
Required groomingLow
  • This cat has a very adaptable nature. It can adjust to a new home very easily.
  • The American Shorthair maintains its hunting ability but it lives more happily as a family companion. Do you want a friendly cat? Well, American Shorthair is the best option.
  • This cat is moderately active by nature but not totally comatose. It doesn’t over demand the keeper’s attention unlike most of the cat breeds. You cannot describe this cat as a clingy one.
  • This cat is smart and likes playing interactive games and puzzle toys.
  • It is generally a social cat. It won’t hide under the bed when the outsiders come home. It has a placid temperament and doesn’t enjoy being carried around. So, you better let them stay on their own four feet.
  • It might not be your lap-cat, but it surely accompanies you by sitting beside on the couch or the bed.

Shorthair with children and other pets

No one wants to take the burden of a pet that doesn’t get along well with family members and other pets which are already a part of the family.

The American Shorthair is a perfect pet for families with children and other pets. As this breed has a playful nature, these cats love to play with children.

However, it is a must for the children to treat the cat with respect.

It is not a delicate animal but still, it hates when someone twists its tails and treats it roughly.

This cat can live with cat-friendly dogs.

So, yes, you can keep both this cat and a dog in the same house. But make sure the dog breed you have is not violent towards cats.

This breed is famous as a hunter cat but if you introduce it to small animals or pet birds at an early age, then they won’t harm them.

But be careful!

If an adult cat is not accustomed to small pets, then do not expose the latter to the risk of being hurt by the American Shorthair.

You have to introduce them to each other in a controlled setting.


Chapter 3: Health and Diet of American Shorthair Cats

The American Shorthair cat enjoys a good and healthy life. But you have to ensure that the cat is not affected by some genetic disease.

For this purpose, you can take your cat to the vet for testing for genetic diseases.

Many health conditions and diseases are genetic among the cat breeds.

The conditions we will discuss in this chapter have a significant impact upon the ‘American shorthair’ breed in particular.

But it doesn’t mean that your cat will have these problems, only that this breed is more at risk of catching these diseases than others.

Here is a detail of the most common diseases reported in American Shorthair cats.



Hepatic Lipidosis

Controlled feeding

Physical activities

Dental DiseasesTeeth loss

Bad breath

Gum infections

Regular toothbrushing
Infections(Bacterial or Viral)Overall downfall of cat’s healthCore vaccine
ParasitesBody itching



Annual checkup



This is the major health problem that contributes to further illnesses and deaths in American Shorthair cats.

Being overweight may lead the cat towards the development of diabetes, arthritis and many other life-threatening diseases.

The life span of fat cats is shorter than those that weigh normally.

Fatty liver/Hepatic lipidosis is a fatal disease that develops due to obesity.

It starts developing in 48 hours if your overweight cat stops eating suddenly.

How to keep your cat from getting overweight?

  • The first step is to understand the cat’s dietary habits. Normally, a cat prefers to eat just a few nibbles 10-15 times in a day. The free feeding method works well for felines but due to boredom, the cat might start to increase its trips to the food bowl.
  • By keeping the cat playfully engaged and active, you can help it stay fit and have some fun simultaneously.

Dental diseases

American Shorthair cats are prone to get dental diseases very easily.

Cats are unable to take care of their teeth on their own. So, it is up to you to take responsibility for brushing your cat’s teeth regularly. If you ignore the dental care of this breed, it will develop a serious dental problem.

The dental problems start with food residue that turns into tartar which is visible on the teeth.

It eventually leads to the infection in tooth roots and gums.

In case, you are halting the dental treatment of your cat, then you are likely to face an expensive course of treatment later.

So, it is better to make sure that your American Shorthair gets proper dental care and teeth brushing from the start.

In severe cases of dental infection, the cat may lose the affected tooth or sustain organ damage.


Like every other feline breed, American Shorthair cats are susceptible to viral and bacterial infections like:

  • Panleukopenia
  • Calicivirus
  • Rhinotracheitis
  • Rabies

All these above-mentioned infections are preventable through vaccination.

The risk of catching these infections among American Shorthair is very high.

So, the corresponding vaccines to fight them are highly recommended. These vaccines are called ‘core vaccines’


All kinds of bugs and worms can attack your American Shorthair’s body, outside and inside.

The parasites like fleas, ticks, and ear mites can infest the cat’s skin and ears.

These worms may attack the internal system of your cat:

  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms
  • Heartworms
  • Whipworms

These microorganisms enter the cat’s body through:

  • Drinking unclean water
  • Walking on contaminated soil
  • Getting bitten from an infected mosquito

Some of these dangerous parasites can be transferred to the human’s body through the cat.

These parasites can cause discomfort, pain, and even death of your feline buddy.

It is essential to get a regular checkup to spot these parasites before it’s too late.

The best way to spot the parasite is through the fecal test. Bring the fresh poop sample of your cat to the laboratory for detecting the parasite.

It is better to discuss with a vet and give your American Shorthair a precautionary medication to keep it safe from parasite attack.

Spaying or Neutering

The one thing which you must do for your American Shorthair cat’s good health is to have it spayed or neutered, that is the surgical removal of ovaries in female and testicles in the male.

Spaying/Neutering decreases the likelihood of some certain diseases like cancer and eradicates the possibility of your cat getting pregnant or fathering unwanted litters.

The effects of this method on an American Shorthair are the following:

  • Cat becomes less territorial
  • Decreases marking behaviors
  • Lessens the occurrence of urine spraying

Moreover, during this surgery, the surgeon is able to detect any other diseases that the cat might be facing.

Genetic diseases among American Shorthair cats

Genetic diseases are not preventable.

While buying an American shorthair, make sure that the cat has no chance of getting a genetic illness by asking for a health certificate.

Following types of genetic diseases run in American Shorthair felines:

1: Cardiomyopathy

This is the defect of the heart’s muscles. This heart disease slowly kills your cat.

However, early detection can help in giving your cat a few more years.


FLUTD (Feline lower urinary tract disease) is a condition in which the urinary system of the cat seems to be upset or damaged.

The symptoms of this disease are:

  • Blood in urine
  • Abnormal urinating on odd spots
  • Straining to urinate
  • No urine production

This condition can be treated with special diets and medications but in severe cases, surgical treatment is required.

3: Renal failure

This is kidney failure which is very common among older cats.

But the young cats could face this problem due to genetic causes and exposure to toxins.

A healthy diet and medication are effective in treating kidney disease and help the poor kitty in living a longer and better life.

Other genetic diseases reported in American Shorthairs are:

  • Diabetes
  • Deafness
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetes Mellitus

Tip: Before purchasing your cat from the breeder, ask him to show the history of health diseases in its line. Also, inquire about the testing that has been done for identifying genetic diseases in the cat.

Fundamental Care

Taking care of an American Shorthair cat is not much of a task.

You just have to be careful about some general things and you’ll have a perfect and healthy American Shorthair kitty!

Keeping this breed joyous and healthy is really simple. Watch its diet, regularly brush the teeth and outer coat, make sure the cat is getting plenty of exercise and take it to the vet for regular check-ups.

Make sure to get it vaccinated on time.

Moreover, this chart will clear your doubts regarding the care pattern of this breed:

Care TasksTimings
Coat brushingDaily
Teeth cleaning3 times a week
Nail trimmingOnce in two weeks
Ear CleaningOnce a week
Litter BoxAlways clean and spotless

Coat grooming

The American Shorthair’s coat thickness and the amount of hair it sheds depends on the climate condition.

The coat requires grooming or brushing several times a week to maintain its shine and remove the dead hair.

Dental hygiene

Toothbrushing is equally important for cats as it is for humans. If your mind is confused regarding brushing your cat’s teeth, then let me enlighten you.

Cats can catch a periodontal disease if you do not brush their teeth regularly.

You can get a toothbrush kit for your cat from any pet store.

Daily toothbrushing is best but weekly brushing is also enough.

Nail trimming

Your American’s shorthair may grow its nails quite frequently.

Trim the nails after 2 weeks. Use a cat nail cutter and avoid hurting the paws while cutting the nails.

For people who end up cutting their cat’s nails too deep and hurt their poor buddy, buying an electric nail grinder is the best option.

Eye cleaning

Use a damp and soft cloth to remove the discharge from the corners of both eyes. Do not use the same side of cloth for both eyes; it increases the chance of spreading infection.

Ear cleaning

Ear wax is a common problem among cats. Check the ears of an American shorthair cat regularly.

If you find them dirty, then clean them with a cotton ball moistened with a mixture of warm water or cider vinegar.

Do not use cotton swabs for cleaning the cat’s ear as they can damage the ear.

Clean litter box

Keep the litter box of your American Shorthair clean. Almost all cat breeds are very conscious about bathroom hygiene. If their litter box is not changed or is dirty, then they would find another place in the house to empty their tummy.

If you’re looking for an awesome litter box, then this one might just do the trick.

Keeping the cat indoors

It is better to keep your American Shorthair inside the home most of the time. If it goes outdoors frequently, then you are putting your cat at the risk of:

  • Catching diseases from other animals
  • Being hit by a vehicle
  • Getting stolen
  • Getting lost

Cat insurance

This is a very important step for a pet owner.

Sign up for pet health insurance and release your tension of expenses.

Your kitty will need many procedures or tests throughout its life and the insurance will have your back in covering the costs.

What are the symptoms of a sick American Shorthair cat?

Many beginners are not sure when the cat is sick and when it is just throwing tantrums. As you know that cats are moody pets.

They might act lazy and have mood swings; stuff that you might confuse with sickness.

Watch the American Shorthair for the following signs. These signs indicate that your cat needs a vet’s help:

  • Unbalanced water consumption or change in appetite
  • Dirty teeth, bad breath, broken teeth or red gums
  • Hair loss, bald spots on body, itchy skin
  • Excessive sleeping, mental dullness
  • Behavioral changes like fearfulness or aggression
  • Weight loss, lethargy, poor appetite, increased urination and thirst
  • No responses to noise
  • Ear discharge, tender ears or shaking the head
  • Abnormality in eyes like redness, itching or cloudiness
  • Straining or inability to urinate, discolored urine
  • Weakness
  • Open mouth breathing

If your cat is showing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, then do not ignore them.

Take it to the nearest vet as soon as possible. You must not get stressed or emotional. Your cat is going to be fine after proper care and medical treatment.

Food Requirements

American Shorthair is not an ordinary cat breed.

Keep that in mind before you bring it home. It has special requirements which you must fulfill otherwise it will give you a hard time.

Let’s talk about the taste buds of this precious feline.

The American Shorthair cats are meat lovers. They do not eat anything besides meaty foods. So, if mommy is preparing a non-meaty meal for the kitty, including nuts, veggies or fruits, then it is a total waste of time.

This breed will never accept that food and you will end up eating it yourself or wasting it.

These cats share close ancestry with the biggest felines e.g. tigers and loins.

So, their taste buds are linked to these animals. Do not expect your American Shorthair cat to be happy when you are making it eat any meat-less food.

They are very particular about their feeding nature and you need to take that into consideration.

Their food components must be entirely fats and proteins.

If humans start eating like an American Shorthair, they will end up having a heart disease at the age of 20.

American Shorthairs cannot eat foods which predominantly contain Carbohydrates.

Their digestive system cannot handle these foods and it may lead them to chronic health diseases.

While selecting food for your American Shorthair, ensure the food meets the basic dietary needs of your cat.

The ideal diet for this breed includes:

Amino AcidsMedium
Fatty acidMedium

Feel free to consult your vet regarding the cat’s food and health.

A vet can properly guide you through the food requirements of your American Shorthair. Examine the cat after feeding anything to it.

If the cat doesn’t get any gastrointestinal issue like flatulence, that indicates you’ve chosen the perfect food.

What happens when the food doesn’t suit your cat?

As I mentioned earlier, the American Shorthair is very particular about its diet. If it doesn’t appear to tolerate any food, then you must skip on that specific product.

If the cat doesn’t seem to like what you are feeding, then get ready to face a harmful hunger strike.

It is a threatening factor if your cat refuses to eat for any reason.


You must not switch foods abruptly. Make sure that you replace the previous food with the new one little by little.

If the hunger strike goes on, the cat runs a risk of organ failure and death.

This helps the American Shorthair in accepting the new food eventually and lessens the chance of upsetting your cat’s stomach.

American Shorthair feeding time and portion size

What is an ideal quantity of food portion for an American Shorthair cat?

I know this is a common question of many cat owners.

Actually, the feeding time and portion size for your cat depends on your cat’s:

  • Weight
  • Health
  • Medical conditions

It is better to consult a vet regarding this matter.

A vet will give you a diet plan for your kitty based on its weight and health requirements. It is necessary for you to stick to the given diet plan.

The portion size might seem little, but it is perfect to keep your cat in a good shape.

As you know that this breed is prone to gain weight very quickly, so you have to follow the diet plan strictly.

It is really hard for a fat cat to lose weight, so it is better to take precautions beforehand.

Once you have gotten the diet plan for the American Shorthair, the next step is to fix its timetable.

This cat enjoys snacks during the day, so keep a light amount of snacks in the cat’s bowl.

But keep the number of snacks limited. Do not overfeed your cat with unhealthy snacks.


Chapter 4: Size and life expectancy

The American Shorthair cats come in a medium size.

The male cat is larger in size than the female. The average weight of the American Shorthair cat breed is 6-15 pounds.

These cats keep on growing in size until they are 3-4 years old.

The average lifespan of this feline is 15 years or sometimes longer. In an ideal environment and an adequate amount of nutritious diet, these cats have chances to live a better and longer life.

American Shorthairs need an annual vaccination and twice a year veterinary checkups.

Most of the breeders make the American Shorthair kitten available for sale when they reach 12-16 weeks of age.

When the kitten reaches this particular age, it gets basic vaccination and attains the social and physical stability needed to survive in a new environment.

Is the American shorthair right breed for you?

This is a great breed of cat for those who want a non-disturbing pet at home.

Here are some facts about this breed to help you decide if this is the right kitty for you:


This is a lazy breed, that means it will spend most of its time sitting around.

This habit could turn your healthy cat into an obese cat real soon. So, you have to make extra effort to maintain the weight of these cats.


The history of American Shorthairs demonstrates the hunting nature of this breed. This cat is a pro hunter.

American Shorthairs are good at killing spiders, insects, rats, and other pests.

If you do not appreciate your pet turning up with a dead animal in its mouth, then you should look for another breed.

Easy Grooming

The best characteristic of this breed is its minimum grooming requirement.

By following the general care instruction given above in this guide, your cat is good to go.

Family Cats

American Shorthairs are easy-going cats that are favored to live within families as they are great with kids. While they can be tranquil, they are playful at the same time even in their older age.

Few of them are lap cats but generally, they like living an independent life without burdening the owner.

Leave-me-alone cats

If you are a busy person who can’t spend considerable time with pets, then this is an ideal breed for you. You can leave it alone at home and it won’t mind at all.

When you get back, it will give you a warm welcome without holding any grudge.

But make sure that you fill the food bowl so the poor kitty is not left hungry while you are out.

Related Questions

Are the American Shorthairs and Domestic Shorthairs the same breed? No, they both are different breeds. However, both American Shorthair and Domestic Shorthair are confused quite often.

But they are not at all the same. American Shorthair is a pedigree and a fancy breed.

The difference between these two breeds is:

  • American Shorthair is recognized by ICA (International Cat Association) while the Domestic Shorthair is not recognized.
  • The American Shorthair cats always produce a pure breed while Domestic Shorthairs are described as mixed-breed cats with a short-haired coat.

Can I keep an American Shorthair inside a two-bedroom apartment? Yes, you may keep this cat in a small apartment. This cat is quite self-sufficient and its activity level is also medium.

So, space is not usually a problem. The cat will keep itself company and only require your attention sometimes

Are American Shorthairs hypoallergenic? The shedding level of this cat is medium and it increases due to weather change.

So, this breed is not hypoallergenic.

Not only humans can get allergies due to the body hair of American Shorthairs, but the cat itself is not safe from its own shedding.

The cat can ingest its own hair that leads to the formation of hair balls inside its stomach. You can control the shedding by regularly grooming the cat’s hair with a brush.

How to ensure the long life of an American Shorthair cat? With proper care and a healthy diet, your cat can live a long life for up to 15 years. To give your cat an ideal lifestyle you must:

  • Strictly follow a diet plan
  • Take the cat for regular walks or exercise
  • Provide it access to clean water all the time
  • Regularly groom the cat
  • Neuter the cat


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