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Black American Shorthair: Pictures, Facts & History

Written by: Lorre Luther

Last Updated on May 22, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Black Smoke American Shorthair cat

Black American Shorthair: Pictures, Facts & History

American Shorthair cats are pedigree versions of North American working cats. Some of the special kitties have stunning black fur, making them Black American Shorthair cats. American Shorthair cats of all shades and colors are typically relaxed, loving companions. Most love spending time with people but are generally happy to hang out and keep themselves busy. They’re sweet and loving with just the right amount of independence.

Breed Overview


12–14 inches


8–12 pounds


15–20 years


Brown, black, cream, silver, blue

Suitable for:

Families and individuals living in apartments, suburban homes, and rural areas


Incredibly sweet, mellow, and intelligent— gets along well with children and other pets

American Shorthair cats come in almost every possible coat color, including blue, white, red, brown, and black. It’s also possible to find them with stripes and other patterns. Most have thick fur that provides protection from heat and cold, but they don’t require intensive grooming. And because of their heritage as farm and street cats, most have quite a bit of genetic variation, so they’re often healthy. The loving black American Shorthair cats are the perfect feline companions.

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Black American Shorthair Cat Characteristics

Black American Shorthair cat
Image Credit: bluebeard013, Shutterstock
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.

The Earliest Records of Black American Shorthair Cats in History

Black American Shorthair cats are likely descendants of European ships’ cats brought on board sailing vessels to prevent rodents from destroying provisions and gnawing through ropes. Cats were even on the Mayflower when it landed in Plymouth in 1620. The ancestors of cats who set sail from the British Isles may have arrived with the 1st century CE Roman invasions. The Roman cats who accompanied the legions as they spread throughout Europe were most likely brought to Rome through trade and contact with Egypt and Mesopotamia. Evidence suggests cats were relatively common throughout the Roman world by the 4th century CE.

How Black American Shorthair Cats Gained Popularity

The cats that arrived on the shores of North America soon came to be valued as all-around working and farm cats. Because of their loving, mellow personalities, they quickly became companions that were welcome to enjoy the comforts of family life. But the American Shorthair’s development is linked to the rising interest in showing pedigree cats in the later part of the 19th century.

Harrison Weir, generally acknowledged as a critical force in the development of modern cat shows, advocated for the recognition of British working cats as a distinct breed, which led to the development of the British Shorthair cat breed. American Shorthair cats were subject to the same process. They’re essentially pedigree versions of North American working cats. Over time, breeders have selected physical traits and personality characteristics to make the American Shorthair cats popular today.

black cat reclining on concrete
Image Credit: Emma Louisa, Shutterstock

Formal Recognition of Black American Shorthair Cats

American Shorthair cats existed for centuries before being recognized as a breed. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) acknowledged the breed in 1906. The CFA was founded that same year, making American Shorthair cats one of the first breeds recognized by the organization.

They perform well in competitions, and several have taken home the CFA’s Best Cat of the Year honors. They were known as Domestic Shorthair cats until 1966. The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized the breed in 1979, but its popularity began increasing during the 1960s. While they often resemble domestic shorthair cats, American Shorthair cats have distinctive round heads and prominent cheeks.


Top 3 Unique Facts About Black American Shorthair Cats

1. They Have Loose Skin

American Shorthair cats typically have paunches and relatively loose skin — both protect them from bites and other injuries when hunting and prowling.

2. They’re Not Domestic Shorthair Cats

Domestic shorthair cats are incredibly popular pets, also known as mixed-breed cats, mutt cats, and moggies. American Shorthair cats are selectively bred for temperament and to have the strong, slightly stocky bodies they’re famous for.

3. They’re Prone to Obesity

Because these cats are a bit on the stocky side and don’t have much zippy energy, they can gain weight relatively quickly. It’s essential to keep these kitties moving and maintain healthy weights to prevent the development of chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis and high blood pressure.

black cat lying on coastal rock
Image Credit: Galina Photo, Shutterstock


Do Black American Shorthair Cats Make Good Pets?

Black American Shorthair cats generally make fantastic pets. They enjoy being around people but are perfectly happy entertaining themselves as long as their favorite companions are close by. They typically make wonderful apartment cats since they’re not energetic and aren’t prone to excessive vocalization.

American Shorthair cats generally live for 15 to 20 years. Most do fine with high-quality cat food that meets American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional guidelines. And, of course, they need access to water, regular dental care, and nail clipping. Their dense short coats only require occasional brushing, and they can generally take care of their bathing needs on their own. American Shorthair cats, like all cats, require regular physical activity—a few 10 to 15-minute daily sessions should do the trick.

Young man in white t shirt holding a black Scottish fold cat
Image Credit: Vershinin89, Shutterstock

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American Shorthair cats have a working cat heritage. Their ancestors kept ships and homes rodent-free for millennia. American Shorthair cats are the pedigree versions of the working cats of North America. They’re typically healthy and easy to care for. Their low activity levels and generally laid-back personalities make them excellent choices for apartment dwellers. While American Shorthair cats love spending time with people, most don’t require constant attention as they’re usually happy to do their own thing as long as their loved ones are around.

Featured Image Credit: marumaru, Shutterstock

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