Breed Spotlight: American Shorthair | PetFirst
Breed Spotlight: American Shorthair
Breed Spotlights

Breed Spotlight: American Shorthair

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
2 years ago

This breed of cat crossed the ocean with the Pilgrims, making it the earliest small cat to set foot in the Americas. Today, you can find this popular breed all over the world. 

While it’s easy to confuse this breed with your typical un-pedigreed short-haired cat, there is one key difference. 

The American Shorthair cats pass on specific traits that keep this breed uniform in size and shape. Un-pedigreed cats, however, could have traits showing up from any number of breeds which is why kittens don’t always look like either of their parents. 

Keep reading to learn more about America’s oldest breed of cats. 

American Shorthair Physical Traits 

Here are some things to look for in an American Shorthair: 

  • Nearly any coat pattern or color 
  • Short, thick fur 
  • Medium to large cat who weighs between 6 and 15 pounds 
  • Overall proportionate build without any over- or under-exaggerated features 

The American Shorthair is one of the few cats bred for their ability to work more than their appearance. As a result, their bodies are built for strength and shouldn’t have any features that cause weakness. 

Personality Traits of the American Shorthair 

Beyond the physical, it’s important to consider the personality of a cat before bringing one into your home. You want to make sure you’ll get along well with her and that your home environment is ideal for her. 


This is the perfect breed to get if you’re looking for a cat that wants to snuggle with you. The American Shorthair isn’t afraid to let you know they love you and often seeks out your company. 

Even so, they tend to be nervous when meeting strangers, so don’t expect your cat to greet strangers at the door, though they also aren’t likely to hide until they leave, either. 


Starting out as ship’s cats and then helping settlers colonize the New World has made this into one of the most adaptable breeds of cat. Although big life changes can still make them anxious, the American Shorthair is usually quicker than others to adjust to a new environment or different situations. 


The American Shorthair is a great breed to consider when looking at family pets. They do well with children and most get along great with dogs. This allows them to fit into any dynamic. 

Medical Concerns of the American Shorthair 

American Shorthairs have a life expectancy of up to 20 years. They’re also one of the healthiest breeds of cats as the biggest health concern is one that all breeds of cats may face. 

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is common in all breeds of cats. However, responsible breeders test their cats regularly for this condition and immediately remove cats from their breeding programs who develop it. 

Unfortunately, it can’t always be detected early, so be wary of breeders who guarantee HCM-free cats. 

Even though these cats are typically healthy, you’ll still want to make sure you get cat insurance for your pet. Any cat can have an accident or develop other life-threatening conditions which could be difficult to cover without it. 

Is an American Shorthair Right for You? 

If you’re looking for a cat who’s easy to take care of, healthy, adaptable, and affectionate, the American Shorthair could be right for you. 

The most important thing to keep in mind about this breed is that they are fairly social animals, so plan on being home to spend time with them for at least a few hours every day. If you’re not going to be able to be with them, you may want to get two cats so they can keep each other company. 

Want More Breed Spotlights? 

Now you know everything you need to know about the American Shorthair. Hopefully, you’re ready to bring one into your home or know it’s time to consider other breeds. 

If you want to check out some other cat breeds, keep looking through our breed spotlight section. If you want a unique-looking short-haired cat, check out our spotlight on the Exotic Shorthair

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

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