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10 Reasons to Love the Magical Japanese Bobtail

This genetic mutant is known for good luck, easy grooming, lots of activity and loving kids.

Erika Sorocco  |  Mar 15th 2017


Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Catster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting area of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our March/April 2017 issue. Click here to subscribe to Catster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.

If folklore and fairy tales are your thing, you’ll love the Japanese Bobtail — not just for her adorable looks but for the numerous legends and traditions that follow in this fabulous feline’s wake!

1. Luck, luck and more luck

In the Japanese Bobtail’s homeland, this cute kitty is believed to bring good luck to all who share a living space with her.

2. The beckoning cat

calico-cat-maneki-neko.jpg

Ever heard of the maneki neko? Often found inside Asian restaurants and stores, the maneki neko is modeled after the Japanese Bobtail and is typically seen with a bobbed tail and beckoning paw. The figurines are believed to bestow good luck upon the establishments’ owners.

3. The breed must be from Japan

Actually, her true birthplace is China. According to lore, in the seventh century, the emperor of China gifted the emperor of Japan with Bobtails, who soon earned the moniker Japanese Bobtails. In Japan, the cats were officially known as the “Fifth Order of the Court” and were not allowed to work. This all changed in 1602, when rats threatened the lucrative silk trade of Japan, and the Japanese Bobtail was turned out to the streets to temper the rodent infestation. It wasn’t until 1968 that the Japanese Bobtail made her way to the United States.

4. Let’s talk tails — or lack thereof

The bobbed tail is purely a genetic mutation. Short tails are a recessive gene, so if a male and female both sporting short ones mate, their offspring will have short tails as well.

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Photo by Tetsu Yamazaki

5. Coat of many colors

While Japanese Bobtails are often depicted as being mi-ke (or tricolor), the breed comes in a variety of shades, from bicolors and vans to solids and tabby patterns. Additionally, their coats can be long or short in length, with long-haired Japanese Bobtails sporting britches (longer hair on the back legs and on the tail).

6. Easy grooming

Speaking of fur, if grooming isn’t something you particularly enjoy, you’ll be happy to learn that Japanese Bobtails, whether long- or short-haired, have minimal undercoat, meaning they have knot-free fur that feels (and looks) silky to the touch!

7. Cat or parrot?

In a move that mimics the image of a parrot perched on the shoulder of a pirate, the Japanese Bobtail is a master of making her presence known and can frequently be spotted sitting upon the shoulder of her chosen human to get a cat’s eye view of her surroundings.

Bobtail-03

Photo by Tetsu Yamazaki

8. Get up and go!

The Japanese Bobtail is very active. She loves feline agility — leaping through hoops, jumping hurdles and racing at top speeds. The Japanese Bobtail does it all. Sometimes in under 10 seconds! Looking for someone to play fetch or soccer? The Japanese Bobtail is, well, your cat. Eager to watch a game of feline tag? She can go for hours.

9. Kitty downtime

Though active, the Japanese Bobtail also likes to chill. In the mood to watch the tube? She’ll help you change channels. Spending the morning surfing the web? She’s more than happy to assist in sending emails. Hunkering down with a new book? She’ll gladly curl up on your chest and lend a helping paw to turn the pages.

Bobtail-04

Photo by Tetsu Yamazaki

10. Social butterfly

What about kids? Good news — she loves them. In fact, children are her favorite, as she can wow them with her antics; but she’s also down for hanging with dogs or other family pets. Her highly adaptable and accepting nature makes her a fast friend to all. Be prepared for her to be the first one to the door when the doorbell rings — she loves visitors.

Fun fact

No two bobbed tails are alike. Like fingerprints to humans, each tail is unique to the individual cat, displaying kinks, curves and angles and having the ability to be flexible or rigid.

About the author: Writer and blogger Erika Sorocco fuses her love for felines and fashion in the blog Cat Eyes & Skinny Jeans. She shares with her cats Minky and Gypsy. Follow Erika on Twitter at @cateyesskinnies.