The American Shorthair was so skilled at catching rats that the breed was (purportedly) invited aboard the celebrated Mayflower when it made its storied voyage across the Atlantic. Today the American Shorthair is among the most popular cat breeds in the United States, known for being athletic, graceful, sociable, and having a solid, muscular build.
Of course, with a name like American Shorthair, it’s easy to guess that these cats have short coats. What surprises many is how many different colors and coat patterns the American Shorthair can have. The Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA) claims nearly 70 of them! We’ll look at some of the most popular and prolific of these coat colors and patterns. If you’re adopting an American Shorthair and want to know more about their lovely colors and patterns, read on!
1. Black American Shorthair
Sure, black cats have a reputation for bringing bad luck. However, when you see a black American Shorthair, you’ll fall head-over-heels for its beautiful coat. Solid black American Shorthairs are 100% black, with no other colors (even in their roots). These stunning cats also have pure black paw pads and noses, with yellow-gold eyes that pop against the black background of their fur.
2. Cream American Shorthair
Cream-colored American Shorthairs are a favorite among many cat fanciers as the color is so unusual and lovely. Like black American Shorthairs, the individual hairs on a cream kitty are solid from root to tip, but some are white, and some are light brown. Cream American Shorthairs typically have yellow-gold eyes, pink noses, and pinkish paw pads.
3. White American Shorthair
Few cats are as striking as a white American Shorthair, especially since the white goes fully from the roots to the tips of their fur. Like the cream color, white American Shorthairs have paw pads and noses in a pretty pinkish color. Many also have two different colored eyes, thanks to a condition called heterochromia. Some will have blue eyes, some yellow-gold, but those with this condition will have one of each!
4. Blue American Shorthair
Like most of the solid colors of American Shorthair, a blue will be completely covered in blue hair that goes down to the roots. Most have yellow-gold eyes and, even though they look rather gray, blue noses too. Blue American Shorthair cats have blue paw pads mixed with a slight touch of pink. They’re quite popular since they’re so pretty.
5. Red American Shorthair
As a relatively common color, the Red American Shorthair is nonetheless a beautiful cat. The red color is very robust and extends down to the roots, with no ticking or shading seen. Like most solid-colored American Shorthairs, the red has yellow-gold eyes. Their noses are also red, but their paw pads are usually a dark pinkish color.
6. Chinchilla American Shorthair
If you’re looking for a striking American Shorthair, the chinchilla color pattern is a good choice. Chinchilla American Shorthairs have a light white undercoat with blue ticking. The ticking is generally seen on the top parts of their body, including their backs, head, and tails. It should be noted that a chinchilla American Shorthair can also be silver, red, cream, and tortoiseshell, with a similar color variety in their eyes and paw pads.
7. Bicolor American Shorthair
Thanks to the two distinct colors its coat displays, you’ll recognize a bicolor American Shorthair immediately. The first color is almost always white, while the 2nd is typically blue, cream, black, or red. You should also note that there won’t be any bleeding between colors since they are 100% distinct with no shading. As for their eyes, most bicolor American Shorthairs have yellow-gold, but their paw pad color can vary based on their colors.
8. Tabby American Shorthair
Defining the tabby color in American Shorthairs is difficult because there are so many color combinations. One thing that holds between all the color varieties is their striped pattern, but even that can be different from one cat to another. However, one distinct marking you’ll usually see is the “M” pattern on a Tabby American Shorthairs’ forehead. Also, the markings on the left and right sides of their body are symmetrical.
9. Calico American Shorthair
The Calico American Shorthair has a white undercoat with red and black patterns throughout. Most will have an almost all-white underbelly and yellow-gold eyes. As for their paw pads, they can vary from cat to cat. Some Calico American Shorthairs also have red tabby stripes, but that is relatively uncommon.
10. Van American Shorthair
The Van American Shorthair can come in several colors and patterns. What sets them apart is that their coat is primarily white, with the colors and patterns making up only a tiny portion and usually seen on the tail, paws, ears, and face. The Van American Shorthair can come in practically all colors and patterns but not tortoiseshell (aka brindle).
11. Smoke American Shorthair
Like many of the color patterns on this list, the Smoke American Shorthair can be several color and pattern combinations. Black, blue, cameo, and tortoiseshell are the most common. What sets this pattern apart is that Smoke American Shorthairs have a light undercoat that’s different from the rest of the hairs in their fur. When sitting still, they appear to be a solid color, but the undercoat shows through when they’re moving. Most have markings in white on their legs, feet, and chest.
12. Shaded American Shorthair
This is another American Shorthair color that comes in various colors and patterns, including cream, red, blue, and silver. Like the Calico American Shorthair, the shaded has a light, white undercoat. Most have red noses, green eyes, and black paw pads, but those can also vary depending on their color pattern.
13. Tortoiseshell American Shorthair
These lovely felines have a black coat interspersed with red patches in several shades, making them quite distinct from other patterns. They typically have yellow-gold eyes, black or red noses, and black or red paw pads. The most common tortoiseshell colors are shaded, dilute-shaded, chinchilla-shaded, and dilute chinchilla.
14. Patched Tabby American Shorthair
This unique American Shorthair color pattern combines tabby patterns with tortoiseshell patterns, usually in blue, brown, white, and red. It’s normal to see a Patched Tabby American Shorthair with a white chest and front paws. Their noses and paw pads vary from one feline to another. One thing to note is that this color of American Shorthair is often referred to as “Torbie,” a combination of the names tabby and tortoiseshell. Patched Tabbies come in at least a dozen different color combinations.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are 70 colors and patterns that you’re likely to see in the American Shorthair cat. However, most of those patterns are simply variations of the base patterns like calico, tortoiseshell, smoke, and others. Blue Smoke and Blue Cream American Shorthair are great examples; they follow similar patterns but with distinct colors.
Whichever color or pattern of American Shorthair you adopt, you’ll bring an intelligent, calm, and affectionate cat into your life. Even better, as American Shorthairs are generally healthy cats, you’ll get a furry friend for many years! Raise yours with love, affection, and high-quality food, and your American Shorthair will make a wonderful pet and cuddly companion for you and your family.
Featured Image Credit: Apisit Hrpp, Shutterstock
- 1 Solid Colors
- 2 Pattern Colors
- 2.1 6. Chinchilla American Shorthair
- 2.2 7. Bicolor American Shorthair
- 2.3 8. Tabby American Shorthair
- 2.4 9. Calico American Shorthair
- 2.5 10. Van American Shorthair
- 2.6 11. Smoke American Shorthair
- 2.7 12. Shaded American Shorthair
- 2.8 13. Tortoiseshell American Shorthair
- 2.9 14. Patched Tabby American Shorthair
- 3 Final Thoughts