A sought after breed, the American Bobtail makes an excellent family pet. They are intelligent enough to learn tricks, calm enough to enjoy time in your lap, and good travellers which make them an ideal therapy cat.
American Bobtails range in size from medium to large with strong rectangular bodies. Despite their short bobtail it remains expressive and is still a great indication of the cat’s mood. Tails vary in appearance and may be straight, kinked, slightly curved, or even feature bumps along the length. The length of the tail can range anywhere from 2.5 to 10 centimetres (1 to 4 inches). As far as breeding goes there is no one particular style of tail that is favoured over another but it should not extend beyond the hind hock.
Combine the American Bobtails wild look with their distinctive tail and you have a cat which is remarkably similar in appearance to the bobtailed wildcat. Their head is broad and wedged shape with a well-defined medium length muzzle and a strong chin. Large rounded eyes match well with a strong brow to give the breed an alert intelligent look.
The American Bobtail is a rare breed not often seen outside of the United States. Not much is known about the original bloodline but it is believed that the breed came about through natural selection, with the foundation stock being feral domestic cats sporting a natural bobtail.
As the story goes, John and Brenda Sanders obtained a cat called Yodie while vacationing in Arizona, and bred him with a seal point Siamese female. The true heritage of Yodie is unknown but it is believed he may have been a bobcat/domestic hybrid as evidenced by his stubby tail.
Birman, Himalayan, and a Himalayan/Siamese cross were then added to the mix but many breeders found the original blueprint of the Bobtail too complicated and so broke away to create a new standard. As a result, today’s Bobtail is available in a huge range of colours and categories with the new lines reportedly having come out of Florida as a result of unions between bobcats and domestic cats. However, these matings are unable to be officially documented due to an over-abundance of anecdotal evidence.
The American Bobtail is an escape artist of Houdini-like proportions and they have been known to escape anything from locked cages to closed rooms.
They enjoy the company of people and will seek attention with persistent meowing. They are also quick to settle into any lap should one become available. They are playful and will engage in a game of hide and seek for hours. They are also intelligent enough to learn tricks and to walk on a leash.
American Bobtails are good car travellers and extremely friendly which makes them a great therapy cat. They’re also ideal for people who suffer from stress and anxiety. As well as being people-loving, they get on well with children and other pets, including dogs.
Did You Know?
Even though the American Bobtail has been seen around the United States since the 1960’s, it did not become recognised as a breed until 1989 when TICA added it to their standards.
The gene for the tail is dominant, so only one parent needs it to guarantee it is passed on.
A Bobtail born without a tail is called a ‘rumpie,’ and is undesirable due to the health complications arising from a shortened spine.
Caring For Your American Bobtail Cat
Because of their development predominantly through natural selection the American Bobtail is an extremely hardy breed with no genetic predisposition to any health problem. Rumpies can develop health complications as a result of no tail, with incontinence being the main issue.
Grooming requirements will depend on the coat length of your Bobtail, but in most cases weekly grooming is all that is required.
Keep your American Bobtail indoors with plenty of scratching surfaces to accommodate their natural behavior and they will enjoy a long and happy life.
If you have an American Bobtail cat in your life, please share your experiences below.