The American Shorthair is a very popular kind of pedigree cat. Said animals have been described as being well-balanced, which should come as welcome news for people who are looking for a cat that isn’t excessive in any regard. Still, interested individuals should make sure to research the full list of their options before making such an important choice.
1. Came From North America
Given their name, it should come as no surprise to learn that American Shorthairs came from the Americas. To be exact, they are a North American cat breed, as shown by how they are recognized by every single North American cat registry that can be found out there. Please note that North America isn’t just the United States and Canada. Instead, it is the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. In other words, everything is North America until one hits Colombia. Still, the American Shorthair has a strong association with the United States.
2. Came Over in the Columbian Exchange
Humans domesticated dogs so long ago that the indigenous peoples of the Americas already had dogs before the Colombian Exchange. However, the same doesn’t seem to have been true for cats. Instead, cats seemed to have made their way over to the New World from the Old World as a part of the Colombian Exchange.
3. Descended From Ship’s Cats
Chances are good that American Shorthairs are descended from ship’s cats to at least some extent. The practice is rather quaint in the present time. However, ship’s cats were once extremely important because ships had extremely limited stores of food and other critical supplies, meaning that it was necessary to protect them from vermin. For that matter, ship’s cats were also useful for preventing vermin from infecting the ship’s crew, which could be quite dangerous because of a ship’s cramped confines.
4. Developed On Their Own For Quite a While
Regardless of the exact way that they managed to reach the New World, cats had the chance to develop on their own for quite a while, which wasn’t that unusual. After all, it was common to let cats operate on their own, meaning that humans exerted less control over them when compared with their canine counterparts. As such, the cats that reached the New World went on to be shaped by both the cultural setting and the environmental setting in which they found themselves. A process that caused them to become something different from their ancestors back in the Old World.
5. Developed in the Early 20th Century
Eventually, people took an interest in cat breeding. As a result, people started breeding short-haired cats from North America in the early 20th century for the purpose of enhancing what they believed to be these cats’ best characteristics. This was the origin of the American Shorthairs that exist in the present time.
6. Is a Pedigree Cat Breed
As such, the American Shorthair is considered to be a pedigree cat breed. If there is one advantage to getting a pedigree cat, it is that pedigree cats have been bred for a certain set of characteristics, meaning that interested individuals can expect them to be a certain way. Meanwhile, non-pedigree cats can be much more unexpected. There are times when that can be a wonderful thing. Other times, well, suffice to say not so much.
7. Once Called the Domestic Shorthair
Once upon a time, the American Shorthair was called the Domestic Shorthair. Said name was very straightforward. Unfortunately, straightforward names can also be very confusing names, as was the case for the Domestic Shorthair. After all, “domestic” is one of those words that can take on a wide range of meaning depending on the perspective of the people using it, meaning that it can make for very confused communication. Eventually, the Domestic Shorthair was renamed for a number of reasons.
8. Its New Name Was Meant to Emphasis Its Origins
To name one example, the Domestic Shorthair was renamed the American Shorthair for the purpose of emphasizing its origins. Simply put, the “American” in American Shorthair made it very clear where these cats originated. Moreover, it is one of those words that can stir up a lot of emotions under the right circumstances. Something that presumably contributed to the American Shorthair’s modern popularity to at least some extent.
9. Its New Name Was Meant to Distinguish It From Non-Pedigree Counterparts
Another reason was to distinguish the Domestic Shorthair from its non-pedigree counterparts. After all, there were plenty of short-haired cats running around in the United States and the rest of North America in the past as in the present. As a result, it would have been easy to confuse the pedigree cats with their non-pedigree counterparts, particularly since one was created using the other. By giving the Domestic Shorthair a different name, interested individuals effectively gave it a different kind of status because that sudden disconnect made it much easier to disassociate it from their non-pedigree counterparts.
10. One of the First Cat Breeds Recognized By the Cat Fanciers’ Association
Unsurprisingly, the American Shorthair was one of the first cat breeds to be recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in the early 20th century. Said organization has deep roots in the United States and Canada, which makes sense because it has been around for more than a century’s time. However, it is interesting to note that the Cat Fanciers’ Association has long since spread beyond those two countries, as shown by its presence in Europe, China, and Japan. Its legitimacy has conferred a degree of legitimacy on every single cat breed recognized by it, which includes the American Shorthair even though it was still called the Domestic Shorthair when it was first recognized.
11. Sometimes Called Working Cats
American Shorthairs are sometimes called working cats. There is no potential mystery to the meaning of the term whatsoever. This is because while working dogs can have a number of different occupations, working cats are always cats used for hunting vermin. In any case, working cats have seen a significant decline in the present when compared with their prominence in the past. However, they still see a fair amount of use in the present because they do come with their own particular benefits. To name an example, a good working cat can get rid of vermin without the need to spray pesticide, which can be very important for people who are eco-conscious as well as people who are health-conscious.
12. No Slouch When It Comes to Physical Matters
It would be an exaggeration to call American Shorthairs extremely athletic cats. Simply put, there are other cat breeds that tend to beat them in this regard. However, American Shorthairs aren’t exactly slouches when it comes to physical matters either. Generally speaking, these are decent-sized cats with a fair amount of power packed into them, which makes sense because they are supposed to be capable of doing work rather than be purely companion animals.
13. Comes in a Wide Range of Colors and Patterns
One of the nice things about American Shorthairs is that interested individuals can expect a great deal of choice. This is because these cats come in a remarkable range of both colors and patterns, meaning that people can choose from dozens and dozens of possibilities. Having said that, interested individuals should know that American Shorthairs aren’t supposed to come in every single color and pattern that can be found out there. There are certain colors such as sable, chocolate, and lavender that render them ineligible for recognization as pedigree cats because those are considered to be signs of crossbreeding. Similarly, there are some patterns that are considered to be the same.
14. Thick Coat
The American Shorthair is supposed to have a thick, dense coat. This is particularly true in winter because its coat will become even thicker for that season’s cold temperatures. Please note that if interested individuals want a soft-furred cat, they should look elsewhere. The American Shorthair’s coat is meant to be protection, with the result that it is on the harder side of things in relative terms.
15. Daily Brushing Is Recommended
Speaking of which, it is a good idea for interested individuals to give their American Shorthair a daily brushing. These cats might be short-haired cats. However, it is still very much possible for them to develop knots without this kind of regular care. The daily brushing is particularly important when the American Shorthair’s coat is either thickening or thinning because it is transitioning either to or from its winter coat.
There are some cat breeds that are very clingy. In contrast, there are also some cat breeds that are very standoffish. American Shorthairs doesn’t fall into either one of these two categories because this is one of the ways in which they are very well-balanced. Essentially, these are very easy-going cats. They are capable of getting along well with their humans. At the same time, American Shorthairs aren’t so affectionate that they actually need to spend a lot of time with their humans. Thanks to this, they are often recommended for people who are living on their own because they will be just fine even if they have to spend some time on their own.
17. Has Hunting Instincts
Since American Shorthairs are sometimes considered to be working animals, it should come as no surprise to learn that they possess strong hunting instincts. Naturally, this means that they are interested in rodents and the like. However, these hunting instincts can also make them go after birds, reptiles, and other small animals. Due to this, interested individuals might want to check out catnip mice because chances are good that an American Shorthair will enjoy playing with them, though to be perfectly fair, these cats aren’t considered to be particularly picky when it comes to cat toys. In any case, this means that these cats tend not to do very well when sharing space with small animals.
18. Not Recommended For the Outdoors
American Shorthairs are not recommended to be let outdoors. Their hunting instincts mean that they will go after small animals with considerable eagerness, which is very much not a good thing for the stability of local ecosystems to say the least. Besides that, pet American Shorthairs don’t just automatically come with the knowledge needed to survive while running around outside. It is very much possible for cats to come to harm while they are outside, which is one more reason to keep them indoors rather than outdoors.
19. Need Stimulation
These cats aren’t the most energetic cats that can be found out there. Still, they do need stimulation, meaning that it is a good idea for them to get playtime as well as otherwise remain active on a regular basis. Besides that, American Shorthairs are also quite intelligent, so it might be helpful to provide them with mental stimulation as well. They are said to be capable of learning tricks, so that is something that interested individuals might want to look into.
20. Can Get Along with Dogs and Children
On the whole, American Shorthairs are relatively tolerant creatures other than their tendency to see small animals as prey. Thanks to that, they are capable of getting along well with both dogs and children so long as they have been properly socialized. Of course, this is also reliant on dogs and children being able to get along well with them. After all, not every single kind of dog can get along with cats. Similarly, children need to be taught the right way to interact with cats. Otherwise, they might wind up tugging on a cat’s tail or whiskers, which is the kind of action that can result in retaliation. As such, supervision is a good idea.