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American Shorthair Cat Breed: Pictures, Temperament, Traits & More

American Shorthair Cat
Image Credit: Lalandrew, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 30, 2023 by Catster Editorial Team
Height:12–15 inches
Weight:7–12 pounds
Lifespan:15 to 20 years
Colors:White, black, blue, cream, silver, red, brown, cameo, tortoiseshell
Suitable for:Families, singles, seniors
Temperament:Quirky, friendly, lovable

The American Shorthair is a medium-sized cat. They are smaller than some of the more robust species, like Maine Coons, but they are still powerful animals. These cats tend to be heavily muscled with heavy boning, giving them a more rounded, thick appearance. They are not dainty cats, but instead, they look like “working” cats.

The American Shorthair is the pedigreed version of the Domestic Shorthair. They are pleasant companions and can be quite beautiful. Their coat color and pattern can come in many varieties, but silver is one of the most popular. You will often see silver cats if you conduct an online search for the American Shorthair.

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American Shorthair Kittens — Before You Welcome One Into Your Family…

american shorthair kitten
Image Credit: PxHere

3 cat face divider3 Little-Known Facts About the American Shorthair

1. The American Shorthair Probably Accompanied the Pilgrims.

Initially, the American Shorthair came to the United States like most immigrants: by ship. These cats most likely accompanied the Pilgrims and were known to have been on hallmark ships, like the Mayflower.

They were brought from England and known only as Domestic Shorthairs and were bred with stray cats. They had an essential mission: to keep the ships and new settlements free of vermin that could infect the population and deplete the valuable food stores.

The cats were good at their jobs and moved to the other settlements, such as Jamestown, and westward with the new settlers. Even though initial lines hailed from England and across Europe, most of them have been lost to time. The cat was bred and cultivated in America, and the term American Shorthair has stuck.

2. The American Shorthair Breed Was Selectively Produced and Shaped by Breeders.

American Shorthairs were originally a sort of mutt cat. They were called Domestic Shorthairs and weren’t explicitly bred to maintain any kind of line. However, this changed in the 19th century when cat shows became popular in America. All kinds of cats were suddenly more selectively bred to maintain valuable pedigrees and lines from as far back as breeders could find.

American Shorthairs found their way into this mix. Breeders took them on and bred them to enhance specific traits that currently define the modern American Shorthair. These traits include a large head and a face with round cheeks. The combination is meant to give them a sweet expression. From there, the traits for a wide muzzle and a powerful jaw were bred into them.

In 1966, the cats were finally given a name to differentiate them from the random-bred Domestic Shorthairs, and they became the American Shorthairs.

3. American Shorthairs Are Currently the Eighth Most Popular Cat Registered by the Cat Fanciers Association.

American Shorthair’s overall prevalence started from a common cat. They were already widely popular and owned by many. Their differentiation from Domestic Shorthairs only gave these cats a higher value in most owners’ eyes. Since they were officially recognized in 1966, the cats have only grown in popularity.

american short hair
Image Credit: PxHere

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Temperament & Intelligence of the American Shorthair

The American Shorthair is a highly adaptable cat that is a great fit for various living situations. They are friendly and affectionate, making them excellent companions for singles or people who like to have visitors around their homes. The American Shorthair likes attention and wants to spend time cuddling and being friendly each day. They are content to spend hours snuggled up by your side. Sometimes, they can be nippy, but it is often only to get your attention.

Overall, the cats do a good job of keeping themselves entertained, but because they are so friendly, they often prefer to have another animal around to play with. They also like toys and are intelligent when learning new things. For cats, they are relatively trainable, particularly with behavioral issues, like using a scratching post instead of your couch.

Are These Cats Good for Families?

American Shorthairs are great as family animals. They are relatively docile, need little extra exercise, and simply want someone around to cuddle them. However, they need additional support on their back whenever they are picked up and held. Be sure to teach your children how to handle them properly so they don’t develop spinal issues as they age.

One of the best attributes of these cats is their patience. This trait has not only made them great hunters, but they also behave well around children.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

The American Shorthair is not a territorial animal, particularly when socialized from a young age. Unless they have been alone for many years, they prefer having other animals around to play with and engage. This can include dogs that don’t show aggression toward them.

American Shorthair
Image Credit: Heikki Siltala, litter-robot

yarn ball dividerThings to Know When Owning an American Shorthair

Food & Diet Requirements

American Shorthairs have typical needs for their feline diet. Get food that is complete and balanced, and their diet should help keep them healthy. These cats are bigger-boned and more muscular than some other, daintier breeds, so their weight must be carefully watched.


The American Shorthair doesn’t need much exercise except daily playtime. Use a toy your cat is interested in to get them to move around. Get them to jump and run around as much as you can to keep them more active than they might be on their own.


An American Shorthair is an intelligent cat willing to learn new things. While you probably won’t teach them how to roll over, they respond well to behavioral training. When they are younger, teach them where to go to the bathroom and the appropriate places for scratching.

kitten American short hair_theskaman306_shutterstock
Credit: theskaman306, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Grooming an American Shorthair is relatively easy because they are so sweet and will practically remind you to do it. It is best to use a brush or a comb and groom them weekly. They have a thick coat of hair, and brushing them will reduce the amount of fur they shed around the home. It also helps spread the natural oils that their skin produces to grow a healthier coat.

Beyond regular grooming, clean their ears at least once a week with a soft cloth. Doing so should remove dirt or moisture buildup and help prevent ear infections. Their nails also need trimming, and you can check them every 2 weeks to ensure that they are not causing the cat any pain.

Health and Conditions

Conditions that an American Shorthair might suffer from can be avoided if you check the parents’ vet papers before adopting your kitten. These cats can suffer from degenerative diseases that can lead to early fatalities. For example, you shouldn’t purchase the kitten if the parents haven’t been tested for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Minor Conditions
  • Obesity
Serious Conditions
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

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Male vs. Female

Males are often quite a bit heavier than female American Shorthairs. The American Shorthair male usually weighs 11 to 15 pounds, whereas females weigh closer to 7 to 12 pounds. Otherwise, there is not much difference between the sexes.

cat + line dividerFinal Thoughts

American Shorthairs are pleasant cats to invest in if you are looking for a feline that isn’t typically so finicky. They are lovable and adaptable, willing to live with dogs, cats, and humans of all kinds. They need your time commitment to give them love and attention but are otherwise sweet and low-maintenance pets.

Whether you are a single wanting companionship or are trying to find your first family pet, the American Shorthair will not disappoint.

See Also: 

submit a pet ec maine coon

Featured Image Credit: Lalandrew, Shutterstock

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

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