Breed Profiles
Share this image

Who’s That Cat? 12 Reasons to Love the American Bobtail

This smart, handsome breed makes odd noises, loves lots of attention, and is a feline Houdini.

Erika Sorocco  |  Sep 14th 2016


Editor’s note: This is part two of a story that originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Catster print magazine. Click here to subscribe to Catster magazine.

Wild in looks but a teddy bear at heart, the American Bobtail will quickly take up residence in your lap and impress you with his fierce devotion.

1. He’s related to a bobcat, right?

Wrong. Though speculation has arisen over the years regarding a genetic link between the American Bobtail and the wild bobcat, nothing has been proven. His wild looks, however, leave people believing otherwise.

2. Wild good looks

Almond-shaped eyes, a naturally bobbed tail, and a rolling gait lend a fierce feel to his physique, but the American Bobtail is a domesticated lover through and through.

cat-breed-american-bobtail-03

Photos by Tetsu Yamazaki

3. Tail tale

Where did that bobbed tail come from? Dominant genes, plain and simple. Here’s the story: While traveling through an Arizona Indian reservation in the 1960s, John and Brenda Sanders spotted a lone brown tabby kitten with a bobbed tail. Dubbed Yodi, the kitten went back to Iowa with them, where he romanced the family cat, Mishi, a non-pedigreed domestic color point, resulting in a litter of short-tailed kittens. These kittens caught the eye of breeders Charlotte Bentley and Mindy Schultz. By crossing a number of the kittens with a longhaired color point, they produced the American Bobtail we know today.

4. Fair weather or foul

The American Bobtail has a built-in raincoat of sorts. His double coat is rain-resistant, so he easily thrives in all weather.

cat-breed-american-bobtail-06

5. A dog in cat’s clothing

Love Labs but don’t have the space for one? The American Bobtail is the answer. Loyal and devoted, Bobtails will follow you here, there, and everywhere and are always ready for playtime.

6. Kitty smarts

American Bobtails are intelligent and love to have their minds challenged. Puzzle games that provide food and treat rewards supply the most stimulation. Because of their intelligence, they’re extremely receptive to training, including walking on a leash and doing tricks (they love playing fetch). But they also have a few naturally programmed tricks, like escaping. American Bobtails are true escape artists, knowing exactly how to make their way out of locked cages, carriers, or closed rooms.

cat-breed-american-bobtail-01

7. Constant companion

American Bobtails find comfort in new surroundings and serve as great companions on the road. They buddy up with long-distance truckers and RVers who maintain a steady, freewheeling lifestyle.

8. The cat will see you now

American Bobtails often act as therapy animals and have been used in treatment programs by psychotherapists because of their high sensitivity to human emotions and skill at providing comfort.

cat-breed-american-bobtail-05

9. More tail talk

While some American Bobtails have no tail at all (rumpies), most have a shortened tail that ranges from a 1-inch bob to a hock-length bob. The cat’s balance is unaffected by the shortened tail; however, rumpies are unacceptable by breeding standards given the health problems caused by the shortened spine. No two tails are the same.

10. Hear me chirp, hear me trill

While not as vocal as some breeds, American Bobtails are verbose in their own way. Purrs and meows are a part of their vocabulary, but Bobtails are known for their chirps, trills, and clicks — all of which are expressed in moments of pleasure.

cat-breed-american-bobtail-04

11. All in the family

American Bobtails are excellent cats for single people or families with children as well as other animals. As playful characters, they hold fast to the notion of “the more the merrier” and like to bond with the entire family rather than a single person.

12. Love me!

American Bobtails love a lot of affection, so shower him with TLC, or else he may just steal a few shiny objects that you treasure — just another one of his quirks. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

See more breed profiles on Catster.

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.