The American Bobtail Cat Breed

The American Bobtail cat is a breed with a bit of a tumultuous past with some unconfirmed and rather bold claims. The history of this breed is murky, and it has had some stops and starts.

The origins of the breed lie in a male, brown tabby cat named Yodie, found by vacationers near an Indian reservation in Arizona in the 1960s.

Since he was a stray, the heritage of this first cat in the line is unknown. Due to his short tail, Yodie was apparently assumed to be part bobcat.

Like other short tailed cat breeds, such as Japanese Bobtail cats and the Manx cat, legend evolved around the breed. One story goes like this:

The very first American Bobtail cat was guarding a farmer's sleeping baby when an angry bear showed up. The cat tried to protect the child, and the noise drew the farmer's attention. The farmer fired his shotgun to chase the bear away, and the cat lost two-thirds of his tail.

The American Bobtail cat breed is:

  • a sturdy, relatively healthy cat breed
  • a kitty with an even disposition but a wild look
  • a good choice for a therapy cat
  • long or short haired
  • a great family pet

Although the short tapering tail of this breed is similar to the tail of the wild bobcat from North America, there is no evidence that I know of that these cats have any bobcat DNA. The bobbed tail is a genetic mutation in the domestic cat, not the result of wild cat genes.

Adult cats of this breed are described as being medium to large in size. Like some other large felines, such as the big Maine Coon cat, American Bobtail cats are relatively slow to mature and may take 2 years to reach full adult size (Maine Coons can actually take up to 4 years).

From a distance, however, their short tails and compact bodies may make them appear smaller than some cats. The average tail is from 1 to 4 inches in length. Some may be longer, and no two tails are identical in this breed.

Their wild appearance is attributed not just to their bobcat-like tails. They have sturdy legs with large paws and can weigh up to 20 pounds.

Sturdy and muscular with a stocky build, the American Bobtail gives the impression of power over grace. But, don't let the look fool you, they are just as playful and agile as other house cats and according to Petfinder, are known to be pretty good escape artists.

They have what's referred to as a hunting gaze, with large, deep set, near almond shaped eyes and a "distinctive brow." Their heads have been described as "lynx-like" and their ears are tufted, adding to the wild appearance.

They have a water resistant coat that comes in all variety of colors and patterns possible in the feline rainbow. Their fur is thick and sometimes described as luxurious.

Above: Video of a gorgeous longhaired version of the American Bobtail, apparently named "Bunny"

They tend to enjoy climbing and perching up high, so it's important to have climbing furniture in the house for these kitties. They tend to have a protective nature, but despite that and their wild looks, their personalities are anything but wild.

Above: Video of Champion American Bobtail being judged at a cat show

They are said to be affectionate and gentle. They are sometimes chosen as therapy cats because of their friendly nature and good disposition. This makes them good choices for families with pets and/or children as well.

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