American Shorthair Cat Breed: Information, Health, and Facts

The American Shorthair is a true breed of working cat. They are well-built, powerful, and agile.
They are a great companion for those who enjoy a cat snuggled up in their lap and not in their face. American Shorthairs are easy to train and are sociable felines.

American Shorthair
American Shorthair

Quick facts about the American Shorthair

Weight: 11 to 15 pounds Height: 8 to 14 inches
Life span: 15 to 20 years
Intelligence: high Temperament: social | affectionate | brave
Playfulness: medium Activity level: active
Vocalness: when necessary Coat length: short
Shedding amount: normal
Good with: kids | seniors | dogs | other cats | families
Traits: The American Shorthair is a breed of cat that is known to be easy to train, easy to groom and friendly towards humans. They are also friendly towards other pets and strangers. They can tolerate being alone and they are not demanding or vocal.

The American Shorthair was bred to chase rodents and other pests away from food stores. They still have that hunting instinct in them and enjoy preying on unsuspecting insects.

Being an intelligent and fairly active breed, they enjoy learning tricks and stimulating their brain with puzzles and interactive toys.

American Shorthairs are independent, easy-going, and docile cats. They are known for their adaptable temperaments and low vocals.

They are also very affectionate and generally good with kids and other pets, making them an ideal family companion. They will bond and attach themselves to every family member.

Although they love to play, they do not require your constant attention. They can play well by themselves, too, making them an easy breed of cat to care for.

American Shorthair

As a working cat, American Shorthairs are stocky and muscular cats. Their bodies are symmetrical, with a posture that indicates power. They have well-developed shoulders, chests, and hindquarters. They have a broad, straight back.

The American Shorthair is a medium to a large-sized cat. Males can weigh up to 15 pounds and females 12 pounds. They are large-boned and give off the appearance of being heavy.

They have large heads with full faces, giving the impression of an oblong.

They have adorable and open expressions. Their forehead forms a smooth curve going over the top of their head into their necks.

They have a medium-length nose with a slightly curved rise from the bridge of their nose to their forehead.

American Shorthairs have medium-sized ears with slightly rounded tips. There is no dome between their ears. The distance between their ears is twice the distance between their eyes.

They have large, wide eyes with bright, clear vision. Their upper eyelids are shaped like half an almond, and their lower eyelids are shaped in a fully rounded curve. The outer corners of their eyes are slightly higher than the inner corners.

American Shorthairs have heavily muscled legs, promoting their agility and endurance.

They have firm, full, rounded, heavily padded paws. They have 5 toes in front and 4 behind.

They feature a medium-length, heavy-based tail with an appearance of a sharp end.

They have a short and thick coat which is hard in texture. Their dense coat protects them from moisture, cold, and mild skin injuries.

They come in a variety of colors, including white, black, blue, red, cream, golden, brown, cameo, blue-cream, tortoiseshell, chinchilla, or silver. You will also spot them with different patterns and shading.


United States


Dr. Adedapo Adisa:

Native to North America for decades and one of the most common pedigree cat breeds, the American shorthair cat is brilliant and energetic.
With a long life expectancy averaging between 15-20 years, the breed is among the first working line cats and has been known for hunting activities, especially rats and squirrels.

Because the breed is known as a working line cat breed, with good temperaments and hardiness, American shorthair cats have enjoyed strong health and don’t fall ill often. 

Despite being a rugged cat breed, the American shorthair is prone to having a health issue affecting their hearts known as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). Although a condition common to the majority of cats breed, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a condition that affects the walls of the heart in the American shorthair breed.

The wall of the heart is made up of muscles known as the myocardium, which is responsible for pumping blood, especially the muscles in the left ventricles. 
In this condition, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy causes the heart’s muscular walls to thicken (hypertrophy) and lose their contractile ability by becoming stiff. This eventually affects the general functions of the heart.

As the condition worsens in the American shorthair breed, the thickened muscular walls of the heart can cause a blockage to the flow of blood out of the heart, which means the heart would need extra efforts to pump blood out of them as it contracts (the systolic phase).

Though the cause of this condition is a bit skeptical, it is believed to be of genetic origin and can be regarded as an inherited condition in the American shorthair breed, caused by a mutation of the gene that controls the growth of heart muscles.

Although the symptoms vary, depending on the level of severity of the condition, the following signs could be pointers to watch out for in the American shorthair breed.

●    Irregular heartbeats or heart murmurs in cats during examination by a veterinarian.
●    Increase in the respiratory rate.
●    Difficult in breathing or labored breathing in the cats.
●    Tiredness and lethargy.
●    Not being able to tolerate exercises or the cat’s usual activities.
●    Loss of function and/or swelling on or multiple limbs
●    Multiple episodes of the cats collapsing.

Your veterinarian can diagnose hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the American shorthair breed by examining for irregular heartbeat and murmurs. This could be through physically examining the cat, assessing the blood pressure, running an electrocardiogram (ECG), or requesting an ultrasound image of the heart.

Although the prognosis of Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the American shorthair breed can vary, the expected outcome is proportionate to the severity of the condition. While some cats with this health condition do not show symptoms, others tend to show symptoms that are quite rapid, ending in heart failure.

Once the condition has been diagnosed in the American shorthair, it is best to remove such a cat from breeding activities and visit your veterinarian to seek medical attention.

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