The American Bobtail Breed: What You Need to Know

The American Bobtail bears a remarkable resemblance to the wild North American Bobcat with its stubby tail and spotted coat. They are medium to large cats, with sturdy rectangular bodies, broad, wedge-shaped faces, and short, muscular legs.

Their characteristic bobtails were originally the result of a naturally-occurring genetic mutation in feral domestic cats that were found and bred selectively. Thus, no recognized breed of pedigreed cat was ever used to produce the American Bobtail.

American Bobtail
American Bobtail

Quick facts about the American Bobtail

Weight: 7 to 18 pounds Height: 10 to 14 inches
Life span: 11 to 15 years
Intelligence: high Temperament: social | affectionate | brave
Playfulness: medium Activity level: calm
Vocalness: frequent Coat length: long short
Shedding amount: normal
Good with: kids | seniors | dogs | other cats | families
Traits: The American Bobtail is a cat that is known for its friendly, playful personality. They are very intelligent and easy to train. They are also very easy to groom with their short, soft fur. These cats are also very friendly toward humans, other pets, and strangers.

Despite their wild-looking appearance, American Bobtails are sweet-natured, intelligent cats. They are loyal and will often form strong bonds with their owners. Most individuals tend to be laid-back, and they will usually get along well with dogs and other animals, including other cats. 

The breed is also very playful and will often initiate games like fetch and hide-and-go-seek with their owner. They also demonstrate a strong hunting instinct, frequently stalking their toys and carrying them around in their mouths as if they were prey. 

Although not noisy, they can be talkative and trill, chirp, and click to express their excitement or delight.  

The American Bobtail’s lovable, easy-going personality makes them a wonderful pet for most people to own. In fact, they have sometimes been referred to as the “Golden Retrievers of the cat world” and are often employed as therapy cats. 

American Bobtail

They, therefore, also make excellent family pets, with their strong desire for interactive games being a great source of entertainment for young and old alike. 

While this is a medium to large breed, they can adjust to living in an apartment. This is provided that they receive playtime every day. They can also be easily trained to walk on a lead and will enjoy going out for the occasional stroll.

Besides needing a moderate amount of exercise, American Bobtails are quite easy to care for. They don’t require excessive grooming, but they do need to be brushed regularly to ensure that their coat remains in good condition.

In addition, the breed is not genetically predisposed to suffer from health problems, though this is not to say that these cats never experience health issues. For example, individuals born without tails can have spinal problems that may affect their ability to control their bowel movements. 

Other common health conditions that American Bobtails can develop but are not specific to the breed include polycystic kidney disease and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  

Generally, however, American Bobtails are strong, healthy cats that can live between 13 and 18 years.


United States and Canada


Dr. Adedapo Adisa:

Despite being bred from the cross of both the Siamese and Tabby cat, the American Bobtail cat breed is known for its short tail or tailless appearance. This is due to a natural genetic mutation that has caused the tail to remain short or absent, thus giving the breed the distinctive appearance known to them.

Albeit known for their relatively healthy traits, American Bobtails have very few health conditions the breeds are predisposed to. With a life expectancy that ranges from 10-15 years, the common health conditions known to the breed are Hip dysplasia and spinal issues.

Hip dysplasia is a medical condition that affects hip joints. 

The hip joint can be described as a ball and socket joint, where the femoral head (“ball head” of the femur) fuses into the acetabulum (socket of the hip joint) in the normal cat.

In the case of the American Bobtail with hip dysplasia, there is a malformation of the hip joint such that the head of the femur forms irregularly and does not fit properly inside of the acetabulum (the socket of the hip joint).

This Condition can affect only one joint or both joints in the Bobtail cats. Because cats have a way of hiding the pains from the dysplastic joint(s), they can sometimes be missed or not caught early enough. 

There are a couple of signs to watch out for in the American Bobtails that points towards the direction of the breed having hip dysplasia.

These include;

● When the cat avoids exercises or physically related events.

● Limping and favoring the affected joint, which eventually gets worse.

● Cats licking the affected region and around the joints.

● Inflammation and stiffness of the joint and joint area.

● The muscles around the affected joint might show marked degeneration and reduction in size.

Hip dysplasia affecting the American Bobtail cats can progress and worsen, if left untreated, into a condition known as Osteoarthritis (Inflammation of the bone and joints), which worsens the pain and stiffness along the hip joint.


Although this Condition might appear similar to other health conditions affecting cats, it is best to seek a Veterinaria’s care when you notice signs mentioned above.


Diagnosis of this Condition is through physical examination and radiography. Treatments include trying to manage the pain and Inflammation, use of supplements and nutraceuticals such as glucosamine and chondroitin, and in severe cases, surgery measures may be taken to correct the Condition.


Asides from having Hip dysplasia, the American Bobtail cats are prone to having spinal issues. This health issue is most common to the ones without tails, also known as rumpies. This affects the nervous functions along the spinal area and may eventually result in cat-controlling defecation issues.


Although a healthy cat breed, American Bobtail cats should be carefully watched for orthopedic health issues, and if found present, they should be discontinued from breeding activities.

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