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

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on April 23, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

american shorthair cat

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

The American Shorthair is one of the most popular breeds in America. Despite their popularity, not many people know about or understand the breed. In this article, we’ll discuss the American Shorthair, where you can find one, and all the details of personality and overall care.

The American Shorthair is absolutely a noteworthy breed if you’re looking to buy a purebred and not adopt or rescue a domestic cat from a shelter. Let’s get to know this breed a little bit better!

Breed Overview


8–10 inches


10–15 pounds


15–17 years


All colors

Suitable for:

Any pet-friendly home


Lovable, agreeable, playful

If you love cats, you can’t go wrong with the American Shorthair. They have all the classic qualities like playfulness, curiosity, and friendliness. They fit in very well with single owners or large families with other pets and children. American Shorthairs are intelligent cats that make exceptional pets and lovable companions.

American Shorthair Characteristics

A high-energy cat needs a lot of physical and mental stimulation to keep healthy and happy, while a low-energy cat needs minimal physical activity, but still needs mental stimulation. When choosing a cat, It’s important to ensure their energy levels match your lifestyle.
Cats that are easy-to-train are more willing and skilled at quickly learning prompts and actions with minimal training. Harder-to-train cats are usually more stubborn or aloof and require a bit more patience and practice.
Certain cat breeds are more prone to various genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat in those breeds will have these issues, but they do have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Due to their size or potential genetic health issues of a specific breed, some cats have shorter lifespans than others. Proper nutrition, exercise, mental stimulation, and hygiene also play an important role in your cat’s lifespan and quality of life.
Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other cats and animals. Cats that are more social have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches or jump on laps for cuddles, while cats that are less social shy away, hide, are more cautious, and even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed or gender, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to many different situations.

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American Shorthair Kittens

Cute American shorthair cat kitten
Image Credit: Top Photo Engineer, Shutterstock

American Shorthair kittens are generally pretty easy to come by. In some situations, you might not live close to a breeder. You might have to travel to purchase your American Shorthair or visit rescues and shelters to see if they are available.

Before you bring one home, they’ll need all the necessary supplies and equipment. You’ll need to ensure you have all the essentials, such as bedding, dietary supplies, toys, entertainment, a litter box, and anything else you think is necessary. Even if you adopt your American Shorthair from a rescue or shelter, you will still have to keep up with routine vet visits and ensure their daily needs are met.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the American Shorthair

The American Shorthair is a very intelligent breed. They are great problem solvers and absolutely love challenging games. They are low-maintenance pets and can easily be entertained by toys and cat trees. They love to romp around but also cuddle in your lap.

However, they are independent, making them perfect for households where people are gone during the day. The American Shorthair is capable of learning a variety of tricks, commands, and activities. If you’ve ever been interested in walking your cat on a leash, this cat will pick it up quickly. You’ll be taking walks in the park in no time.

It can be a great way to exercise your cat, making sure that they get their full dose of nature, which can alleviate a lot of bad behaviors in the home. Some of these behaviors include clawing up your furniture, being extremely erratic or hyperactive, and a laundry list of other issues that stem from pent-up energy.

Since these cats love being inside and outside, you could build a cat sanctuary that is essentially a large kennel where your cat can come inside and out at their leisure. Some people put a balcony-style cage on a window, while others build one in the backyard. No matter what you choose, it can be an enriching experience for your American Shorthair.

Cream American Shorthair
Image Credit: chie hidaka, Shutterstock

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

The American Shorthair is truly an all-around fantastic cat. They adapt to any lifestyle and are affectionate, agreeable, happy-go-lucky cats that aren’t generally fussy. American Shorthairs have a very middle-of-the-road energy level. They love to run around, but they love taking naps by a warm windowsill. They are well known for being very even-tempered and attached.

Typically, the American Shorthair doesn’t show favoritism, either. They typically get along with every family member if treated with respect. This quality makes them very good for growing families.

The American Shorthair also loves being a single companion but can also live with other pets. The only time an American Shorthair would probably not adapt to a situation is if another animal in the home was aggressive to them or they were in a predicament of abuse and neglect.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

The American Shorthair can get along well with other pets. They have very adaptable personalities and adjust to a variety of lifestyles, even when they’re fully grown. Some cats might be more particular than others, and they certainly can have their fair share of personality traits.

They get along with other cats and enjoy having a playmate when their owners are at work. However, they can be a little touchy about dogs. But generally, when an American Shorthair is raised with a dog, they get along quite well. An American Shorthair is not afraid to assert themselves, either. So they won’t have a problem showing the dog that they mean business and don’t want to play.

Since an American Shorthair is a predator, they can be dangerous to have around small pets, especially unsupervised. Your cat is not compatible with smaller pets, not even ferrets. While some cats will show no predatory instinct towards the animals, it’s not worth the risk.

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Things to Know When Owning an American Shorthair

Food & Diet Requirements 🐡

American shorthair cat eating
Image Credit: Apicha Bas, Shutterstock

The American Shorthair requires high-protein, good-quality cat food to sustain and thrive. They don’t have special dietary restrictions, but some cats can develop allergies or other sensitivities requiring diet changes.

There are numerous types of cat food. Some are highly nutritious with traceable ingredients, but others contain byproducts, fillers, preservatives, and artificial dyes, which aren’t ideal for your cat.

So, when shopping for a recipe for your feline companion, consider the brand’s ingredients, traceability, and nutritional quality. It’s helpful to ask your veterinarian for recommendations so you can slim down your choices.

Exercise 🐈

Your American Shorthair will require a moderate amount of exercise. Fulfilling a cat’s exercise needs is simple if you have the right tools. They require two things: interaction and stimulation.

When they want interaction, they want you to be involved in playing. You, another family member, or even another cat can fulfill this duty. They also need stimulation. Having several toys and exercise tools can help curb negative and destructive behaviors.

Luckily, cats do not require nearly as much exercise as dogs. If you make sure your cat gets 15 minutes of solid exercise a day, they will be happy and healthy. Some American Shorthairs have higher or lower energy than others, which depends on the individual.

Training 🧶

Cute kitten playing toy
Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock

You can easily train an American Shorthair to use the litter box. After you show them where it is, they usually don’t have a hard time. However, you will have to work diligently with your cat to achieve results when it comes to more advanced training, such as command, trick, or leash training.

But the American Shorthair is entirely capable of learning. They have an affinity for the outdoors, so leash training can be a very good way to enrich your cat’s life while keeping them safe.

Grooming ✂️

Since the American Shorthair has shorter hair, maintenance is generally very simple. Some owners like to bathe their cats, while others prefer not to unless necessary. For many house cats, baths every 4 to 6 weeks are unnecessary because they aren’t opposed to the outdoor elements.

It’s important to keep your cat’s claws trimmed, but if you have issues with the process, you can ask your vet for help. As a last resort, you can take your American Shorthair to a professional groomer for claw trimming.

Remember to keep your cat’s ears clean, especially if they have problems with head shaking or ear infections. Also, dental health is often overlooked, but it is essential to brush your cat’s teeth. Like us, cats get plaque and tartar build-up on their teeth if they’re not maintained correctly. They require routine brushing, so it is a good idea to integrate this very early into your grooming routine.

Health and Conditions 🏥

american shorthair cat
Image Credit: Vimvipa Kosasaeng, Shutterstock

The American Shorthair is a very hearty cat with a rich history. The British were thought to have brought the cats over when they were colonizing North America. The cats learned to adapt to many environmental complications that compromised their existence.

They learned to adapt well to illness and temperature so they could maintain and thrive.  Their genetics have created a very sturdy, healthy breed. However, every cat is different, and some can develop genetic health conditions.

One way to avoid or detect health conditions early is to take your cat to their annual vet visits for a general wellness checkup. Here is the list of conditions that can show up in the American Shorthair.

Minor Conditions
  • Urinary tract disease
Serious Conditions
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes

Male vs Female

Regarding sexual maturity, males and females can spray to mark territory or attract mates. It is vital to prevent this behavior from happening because it can be very hard or impossible to break. If a female is not fixed, she will go into heat, which can cause several personality changes that can be challenging to deal with.

When a male reaches sexual maturity, he might be a little bit more temperamental or aggressive, try to escape the house, or start marking his territory. If you’re trying to decide whether you want a male or female, there are a few factors to consider. First, if cost is a concern, neutering typically costs less than spaying, and if you have a female who becomes pregnant, kittens can be expensive to care for. So, a male might work best for you.

If you prefer a cat that’s more independent than needy, a female might be more what you’re looking for. But keep in mind that every cat is completely different, and it would be best to interact with the kitten before committing.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the American Shorthair

1. American Shorthairs are very popular in the United States.

2. American Shorthairs blend well with a variety of people.

cream american shorthair
Image Credit: studiogala, Shutterstock

3. American Shorthairs descended from their cousins—the British Shorthair.


Final Thoughts

Now that you know a little more about the American Shorthair, do they sound like a breed you would love in your home? Remember, this breed is an all-around incredible cat to have around in virtually any lifestyle. However, if you have smaller pets you can’t supervise or an aggressive dog, you should seek another type of pet instead.

See Also: 

Featured Image Credit: Oleksandr Volchanskyi, Shutterstock

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