Cat Breeds

American Bobtail

Isabel Hartley

The American Bobtail is a relatively new cat breed celebrated for its distinctive short tail and engaging personality.

Known for their wild appearance reminiscent of a bobtailed wildcat, these cats boast a friendly demeanor that belies their rugged looks.

They typically feature a muscular build, a natural hunter’s gaze, and a playful attitude that endears them to families and individuals alike.

Despite their appearance, which might suggest a connection to the wild, American bobtails are wholly domestic and adapt readily to indoor living.

Their temperament is often described as dog-like because of their interactive nature; they enjoy games like fetch and can be trained to walk on a leash.

Their intelligence and sociable personalities make them compatible companions in a variety of home environments.

Breed History

The American bobtail’s intriguing history stems from a spontaneous genetic mutation. The breed is recognized for its distinct, shortened tail.


The American Bobtail appeared in the 1960s when a brown tabby kitten with a short tail was discovered in Arizona.

Named Yodie, the cat was not a product of deliberate breeding but rather the result of natural genetic variation. Yodie is credited as the progenitor for the American Bobtail breed.

Recognition and Development

The breed developed through selective breeding, which emphasized health, temperament, and the signature bobtail.

Cat-fancier associations formally recognized the American Bobtail in the late 1980s.

Breeders across the United States were drawn to the Bobtail’s wild appearance and loving personality, driving forward its development.

Today, it’s prized for its affectionate nature and adaptable disposition.

Physical Characteristics

The American Bobtail is known for its distinctive short tail and rugged appearance. Often compared to a pint-sized lynx, they boast a variety of coat patterns and sizes.

Coats and Patterns

Coat: Their coat can be short or medium-long, dense, and plush.

Patterns: They display a wide range of colors and patterns, including tabby, solid, bicolor, and tricolor.

Physical Traits

Tail: Their signature bobtail is about one-third to one-half the length of a normal cat’s tail.

Appearance: A muscular body, broad chest, and large eyes give them a naturally wild look.


  • Weight: Males weigh between 7 and 18 pounds, females slightly less.
  • Height: They stand about 10 to 14 inches at the shoulder.

Personality and Behavior

The American bobtail is known for its lively and intelligent character. These cats are typically personable and display a healthy dose of curiosity.


American Bobtails are often considered the “Golden Retrievers of the Cat World” for their friendly and outgoing nature.

They are lively, showing an intelligent and playful side that delights their owners. Yet, they are not overly demanding of attention, displaying a mellow disposition that meshes well with household routines.

  • Adaptable: adjusts easily to different living situations and lifestyles.
  • Interactive: Loves to play and engage with their human companions.

Compatibility with Humans and Pets

These cats generally get along well with everyone, be it adults, kids, or other pets.

Their sociable behavior makes them excellent family pets that quickly become integral members of the household.

  • Human interaction: enjoy human company and are known to be affectionate without being invasive.
  • Pet interaction: They tend to be good with other pets, often showing a friendly gesture towards dogs and other cats.

Health and Care

Caring for an American Bobtail cat involves understanding their specific health needs, grooming routines, and dietary requirements.

Common Health Issues

Though generally healthy, American Bobtails can be prone to certain genetic conditions.

It’s important for owners to watch for signs of hip dysplasia, a condition that affects the hip joint and can cause discomfort or lameness.

They may also inherit heart issues such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Regular vet check-ups can help spot and manage these issues early.

Grooming Needs

American Bobtails come in both shorthair and longhair varieties.

Shorthair bobtails require minimal grooming—weekly brushing is often enough to remove loose hair and maintain coat health.

The longhair variety may need brushing a few times per week to prevent tangles and mats. They typically shed moderately, so regular grooming helps manage this.

Diet and Nutrition

A balanced diet is key to the American bobtail’s health.

They should eat high-quality cat food that’s appropriate for their age, size, and activity level.

Because they can gain weight, it’s vital to monitor their food intake and ensure they get enough exercise.

Occasionally, Bobtails might need special diets if they develop common health issues that affect their diet, like hip dysplasia.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section covers common inquiries about the American Bobtail cat, from their distinct behavior to adoption options.

What’s the typical behavior of an American Bobtail cat?

American Bobtail cats are known for their friendly, social nature. They tend to display a dog-like personality and enjoy being part of family activities.

Can you tell me the best way to identify an American bobtail?

One can identify an American Bobtail by its short tail, which is often half or a third the length of a regular cat’s tail.
They also have a sturdy build and a wild appearance that is reminiscent of lynx-like features.

How much might I expect to pay for an American Bobtail kitten?

The price for an American Bobtail kitten typically ranges from $600 to $1,000.
Factors influencing the cost can include pedigree, location, and whether the cat has been spayed or neutered.

Are American bobtails considered a rare breed?

Yes, the American bobtail is considered a relatively rare breed. Their unique genetic traits and wild look make them less common than other domestic cats.

Is it common for American bobtails to shed a lot?

American Bobtails can have either shorthair or longhair coats, which may influence their shedding.
Generally, they do not shed excessively, but regular grooming helps minimize loose hair.

Where could someone adopt an American Bobtail cat?

One might find American Bobtail cats available for adoption through breed-specific rescues, local shelters, or breeders.
They are sometimes listed on pet adoption websites or featured at cat shows.