The American Bobtail emerged in the US in the 1960s. The patriarch of the breed, a stray kitten named Yodie, was found in Arizona by a couple from Iowa, John and Brenda Sanders. They saw that the tabby kitten had a distinctly short tail.
Although its ancestry is unknown, it was speculated that Yodie was the result of the crossbreeding of a domestic tabby cat and a bobcat. The couple nevertheless took him home. Yodie mated with the non-pedigreed family cat, which produced a litter that had Yodie’s bobbed tail.
Mindy Schultz, a friend of the Sanders, noted that there was a potential for a new breed. Yodie’s female offspring were then bred with a long-haired pedigreed colourpoint feline. The resulting kittens were then recognised as the first American Bobtail cats.
As the breed developed, other long-haired pedigreed felines were involved, such as the Himalayan, Birman, and a Himalayan/Siamese hybrid. Schultz drew up the first set of standards for the new breed in the 1970s. She became known as the first American Bobtail breeder.
The early versions of the American Bobtail were not healthy as there was much inbreeding. In response, another set of breeders created a new breeding programme, which avoided the earlier versions of the said breed. The American Bobtail was eventually acknowledged in 1989 by The International Cat Association (TICA) and was fully recognised in 2002. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) followed suit in 2000 and awarded it full championship status in 2006. It is not yet recognised by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF).
Today, this feline is still scarce in the US. This is because it only recently achieved full recognition from American cat breed organisations. However, its popularity is growing in the US and in some parts of the world.