The American Bobtail is a breed of cat that developed in the late 1960’s. Its name come from its stubby or ‘bobbed’ tail that is somewhere between one third and one half the normal length of a cat’s tail.
Despite the similarity of name and physical type, the American Bobtail is not related to the Japanese Bobtail. This is because both breeds suffer from a genetic mutation that leads to their small sized tail but it is a different mutation in each breed. The mutation in the American Bobtail is similar to that which affects the Manx cat.
Stories say that the American bobtail came about through a cross breeding of a domestic tabby and a wild bobcat but the reality is it is a spontaneous genetic mutation that occurs in the cat population in general. One of the original bloodline was the mating of a short tailed brown tabby male called Yodie with a seal-point Siamese female but many of the original bloodlines of the breed have died out.
The original form of the American bobtail was then improved through specific breeding resulting in a range of colours and coat types. The breed was first recognised in 1989 by the International Cat Association and is now accepted for championship competitions by the TICA and other American associations. The breed is recognised as both longhaired and shorthaired variations by the World Cat Federation but not recognised for competitions.
American bobtails are generally slower to mature than many domestic breeds, needing two to three years to be fully developed.
These cats have a moderately long body and are described as stocky. They have a rectangular stance with a full and broad chest and similarly broad hips. Their hind legs are longer than forelegs and have large, rounded feet that often have toe tufts. The head is broad and wedged shape without flat planes and is proportionate to the body. Their ears are medium sized and mounted on top and side of the head with rounded tips while the eyes are almond shaped and proportionate to the head. The colour of their eyes vary with the colour of their coat.
They are found in all colours and patterns of coat though preference is often given by breeders to those colours that enhance the wild appearance of the breed. For both long and shorthaired cats, occasionally light brushing it all that is needed to maintain their coat.
This breed is described as playful and sociable with moderate levels of energy. They are clever enough to escape from rooms with closed doors and even from secured cages. These cats also enjoy play games and will spend hours fetching toys, often initiating the games with their owners. They also use play to exercise their hunters’ instincts, catching flying insects mid-air or treating a favoured toy like a trapped mouse.
They are very close to their owners and will often vocalise their needs with meows. They are often fond of sitting on laps and adapt well to new people in the house, as well as the introduction of new animals.