How Big are American Shorthair Cats? Their Lifespan?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Here’s the deal:

The American Shorthair is a loving and playful yet strong cat when it comes to hunting. That is, thanks to its size which allows it to hunt effectively while being the perfect cat for a family.

But exactly how big is the American Shorthair? The American Shorthair is a medium-sized cat weighing between 8 and 15 pounds, with the females weighing less. These cats have an average lifespan of 15-20 years.

But what about their other physical attributes? And why do these have such a long lifespan? Let’s find out below.

American Shorthair 101 (Video)


Physical Attributes of the American Shorthair

As discussed above, the Shorthair is generally a medium-large sized breed with the males being slightly larger in size. The male cats can weigh around 12-15 pounds while the female cats weigh somewhere around 8-12 pounds.

The American Shorthair has the body of a working cat which is overall muscular and hefty body withstrong legs. These provide the Shorthair with the endurance and agility to hunt rodents and insects which was originally the reason why people used to keep these cats.

The Shorthair has a short coat, as the name suggests, yet it has a thick and hard feel. This coat provides the cat with the protection it needs and usually grows slightly longer in winters to protect them from the cold.

These cats come in a variety of colors and patterns, the silver tabby being the most popular and common of all others. Other colors include:

  • White
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Cream
  • Red
  • Silver
  • Golden
  • Brown
  • Blue cream
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Chinchilla

Patterns of the American Shorthair include Solid color, Tortoiseshell, Bicolor, Tricolor, Shaded,Tabby, and Smoke.

Health and Lifespan

American Shorthairs are generally healthy cats that can live anywhere from 15-20 years. These cats usually do not face any major hereditary health problems or conditions except for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy or HCM, a type of genetic heart disease.

Shorthairs with HCM have heart muscles thicker than normal which can cause complications. This disease is usually passed on from parents, therefore it is important that the parents of the kitten are tested for this disease. An echocardiogram will also tend to reveal whether your cat suffers from HCM or not.

When buying your American Shorthair, make sure that you buy the cat from a reliable breeder that can confirm with relevant documents that the kitten and its parents are safe from HCM.

Other than that, American Shorthairs do not suffer from any other serious health issues. Take care of the cat’s nutritional requirements and avoid feeding it too much or it might get obese. Proper grooming will further ensure that your Shorthair remains safe from periodontal diseases and infections.

Personality of American Shorthairs

Mostly praised for their friendly and adaptable nature, American Shorthairs are perfect for just about any household, whether it’s a big family with lots of kids or a single college student or senior. These cats are known for their playful and affectionate personality and love interacting with everything and everyone.

These cats can be best described as being both good-natured and friendly. They love to interact with their owners, whether it’s resting in their lap or playing games, specifically those that entice their hunting nature.

Shorthairs also enjoy the company of other pets such as a dog, as long as they share the same calm nature as them. These cats will also interact with children and toddlers, but the minute children start getting aggressive,Shorthairs will lose interest.

Another important trait of Shorthairs is their adaptable nature. Because these cats are quite self-sufficient, they will keep themselves company and would onlyrequire affection sometimes from their owners. Due to this, you can keep these cats in a small two-bedroom apartment or a huge mansion without any problem.

When it comes to intelligence, these cats tend to be quite clever and will usually learn most things that you will teach them. This can be as simple as teaching them how to use the cat litter or scratching a post instead of the walls or the furniture.

Grooming and Care

American Shorthairs generally tend to be quite low-maintenance cats. Their coat is short and quite hard in texture, and they do not shed excessively. Thus, you only need to brush them with a comb to remove dead hair and distribute the oils to keep their coat shiny.

If you’re wondering which brush I use for this purpose, then it’s this one. The best thing about this brush is that it is quite gentle and soft.

Other basic grooming includes cleaning the Shorthair’s ears if they start to accumulate dirt and grime. Trim their nails after alternative weeks and brush their teeth twice a week with a pet toothbrush to protect them against periodontal diseases.

Feeding Your American Shorthair

As these cats tend to be bigger than your average cat, they have specific food requirements which need to be met to ensure that your cat lives a healthy life.

American Shorthairs tend to be quite stocky and muscular cats. Thus their nutritional requirements must completely comprise of fats and protein. Carbs, however, tend to be harmful to Shorthairs. These cats cannot process carbs, and hence, they pose a threat to your American Shorthair’s health.

Consequences of feeding your cat carbs are obesity and diabetes, both of which can be detrimental to their health. Shorthairs canparticularly be prone to becoming overweight because of their stocky body, thus you need to keep a close eye on what you are feeding them.

If your cat becomes overweight, it can cause several problems such as:

  • Decreased mobility
  • Chances of developing Arthritis
  • Early death

Choosing a Cat Food

To choose a cat food, begin by searching for foods high in fats and proteins. Buy small packets of some selected foods and feed small portions of them to your cat one by one. Notice how your cat reacts to each food.

Are they eating properly? Do they have any digestive issues? Are they leaving any food behind?

Once your cat has chosen a brand, decide how many portions you want to feed your cat in one day. The packing of the cat food will give you a general idea about how many meals you should feed in a day. However, it is best if you consult your vet to get a better idea regarding your cat’s nutritional requirements.

I feed my American Shorthair this amazing food product from Purina and they absolutely love its taste.

It is also worth mentioning that there are 2 types of cat foods available in the market:

  • Dry cat food (does not contain water)
  • Wet cat food (contains water)

I’d recommend a diet which consists both of these types of food so that your cat can receive adequate amount of water as well.

Related Questions

How much does an American Shorthair cost? On average, a purebred American Shorthair kitten can cost anywhere around $600-$1200 from a reputable breeder. Another excellent option is to adopt a kitten.

You can find plenty of animal shelters with Shorthairs looking for a loving home. They can be in many colors and you can even find a purebred Shorthair if you’re lucky. If you choose to adopt a cat, not only will you be helping the cat and the animal shelter, but you can be sure to save a couple hundred dollars.

What is the difference between a Domestic Shorthair and an American Shorthair? Although both of these cats are highly similar in terms of appearance and nature, American Shorthairsare purebreds while the term Domestic Shorthairs refers to any cross-bred cat with a short coat.

Do American Shorthairs get along with other pets? Shorthairs tend to be quite patient and friendly in nature, and hence get along quite well with pets who are well-behaved. These can be dogs, other cats, or even birds as bird watching is one of their favorite activities.

However, you need to take care of smaller creatures such as hamsters or mice. American Shorthairs are known to be hunters and their ancestors used to hunt rodents on ships and in homes. Therefore you cannot guarantee that your Shorthair will not attack your smaller pets.


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