• American Bobtail Cat
  • American Bobtail Breed
  • American Bobtails in Great Britain
  • American Bobtail
  • American Bobtail in Great Britain
  • American Bobtails
  • American Bobtail in the UK
  • American Bobtail Cat Breed
  • American Bobtails in the UK
  • American Bobtail Cats
Exercise Level:
Good with Children:
Good with other pets:
Height: 3 - 10cm M | 3 - 10cm F
Weight: 3 - 6kg M | 3 - 6kg F
Life Expectancy: 13 - 15 Years

Looking for an American Bobtail?


The American Bobtail is a medium- to large-size feline. Although she may look wild, this huge cat is a very domesticated feline. Her most distinctive feature is her bobbed tail, which is about half the normal length of that of other cats.

The American Bobtail is very smart, affectionate, loyal, and friendly. This comparatively new breed makes for a fantastic family pet as she is good with children. She also gets along well with other pets.

The American Bobtail loves attention, but she is not demanding. Grooming requirements depend on her coat; the longer-haired ones need more upkeep and may shed more. She is a hardy cat breed as she initially evolved through human selection.

Are you ready to own an American Bobtail? Here is a brief background of this adorable cat nicknamed the Golden Retriever of the cat world.

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The American Bobtail breed's origins are murky. However, this cat has appeared in different places in the United States even before she was discovered and developed.

The American Bobtail’s distinctive tail was a product of natural genetic mutation. The foundation stock of the breed was thought to be feral domestic cats that have natural bobtails.

The American Bobtail breed’s development started in the 1960s by a couple from Iowa. John and Brenda Sanders found a stray kitten named Yodie in an Arizona motel. It is believed that a child from the nearby reservation left Yodie there.

The Tabby kitten’s ancestry is unknown, but some speculate that he was the result of the cross-breeding of a domestic Tabby cat and a Bobcat. The couple nevertheless took him home. They were charmed by Yodie’s friendly nature and distinctly shortened tail.

Yodie soon became the patriarch of the American Bobtail breed. He mated with a Seal Point Siamese named Mishi. She was the non-pedigreed cat of the Sanders. Not long after, Mishi produced a litter containing a mix of normal-tailed and bobtailed kittens.

This occurrence in the American Bobtail breed suggests that the gene, which made Yodie’s tail uniquely short, was dominant. Moreover, the Siamese cat has no history of bobtailed ancestors.

Mindy Schultz, a friend of the Sanders, noted that there was a potential for a new breed. She has experience in breeding Persian cats. Thus, Mindy partnered with Charlotte, another family friend of the Sanders, to develop a new cat breed.

They slowly began to develop the American Bobtail breed. The kittens were crossed with other cats that possess natural bobtails. Both breeders made sure that the selective breeding produced huge, well-muscled, and wild-looking offspring with gentle temperaments.

The felines used to develop the American Bobtail breed were non-pedigreed cats. They range from short-haired to long-haired cats.

As the American Bobtail breed developed, other long-haired pedigreed felines were involved, such as the Himalayan, Birman, and a Himalayan/Siamese hybrid. 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.

The American Bobtail standards were first set up by Schultz in the 1970s. She became known as the first American Bobtail breeder.

The American Bobtail’s earlier versions were not healthy as there was much inbreeding. In response, another set of breeders created a new breeding programme in the 1980s.

The new American Bobtail breeders avoided the earlier versions of the breed to keep her gene pool healthy. Moreover, they aimed to create offspring that closely resembled Yodie.

Their American Bobtail kittens should be large Tabbies with a feral appearance. They have rounded brows from forehead to eye ridge. This trait gives them the ‘hunting gaze,’ which further enhances their wild look. They must also sport long coats and, of course, bobbed tails.

The American Bobtail was eventually acknowledged in 1989 by The International Cat Association (TICA). The breed was fully recognised in 2002. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) followed suit in 2000 and awarded her full championship status in 2006. She is not yet recognised by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF).

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Appearance and Grooming

The American Bobtail size ranges from medium to large. Amongst the Bobtail felines, the stocky, medium-size American Bobtail cat is the largest. Her average weight 3–6 kilos.

Female American Bobtails are generally smaller compared to males. The breed takes a bit longer to fully mature, about 2–3 years.

The American Bobtail’s appearance is similar to that of a Bobcat, but with a more domesticated nature. Her face and ears are wedge-shaped, and her upright ears have rounded tips. Her eye colour can be of any hue and is linked to the feline’s coat colour.

American Bobtail cat’s feet are notably large and round, usually with tufts of hair between her toes. Her hind legs are a bit longer than her front legs. Her tail, which is her signature physical feature, is noticeably short.

This American Bobtail trait is said to be a mutation, thus it is a natural feature. It can be anywhere from 2.5–10 centimetres in length. Interestingly, no two tails of any American Bobtail cat are the same. It can be curved, straight, bumpy, or a bit knotty.

It is worth noting that the American Bobtail is different from the Manx and Japanese Bobtail. The Manx, in particular, has a short tail due to an incomplete dominant gene. As such, she can sometimes produce kittens without tails.

The American Bobtail’s coat has no specific pattern, colour, or hair length. It could be short and dense, long, or shaggy. As such, grooming requirements depend on the cat’s coat length. Long-haired American Bobtails typically require more grooming, whilst their short-haired counterparts are easier to manage.

Regardless, the American Bobtail’s coat needs daily brushing to reduce the chances of hairballs from occurring. Use a stainless steel comb to get rid of loose and dead hair. You also have the option to use a curry brush as it can remove debris from your cat’s coat.

Bathe your American Bobtail cat every 4–6 weeks. In between bathing schedules, use waterless shampoo and grooming wipes to keep your cat’s coat clean. Clean the area beneath her tail daily using pet-safe wet wipes.

The American Bobtail's eyes should be cleaned every day as well. Do this using soft wipes or cotton wool. Make sure to use different wipes or cotton when cleaning each eye. This will keep bacteria from transferring from one eye to another, lessening the likelihood of eye infections.

Trim your American Bobtail cat’s nails every 10 days or 2 weeks. Brush her teeth every day to avoid gum diseases. It is best to start tooth brushing your cat at a young age so that she gets used to this routine once she turns into an adult.

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Temperament and Intelligence

The American Bobtail cat’s temperament is exceptional. She has been described as a pet that is more likely to love than leave her human. Because of her sensitivity to human emotions, she has been employed as a psychotherapy feline for people experiencing a lot of stress.

The American Bobtail can be a good traveller if trained at a young age. Thus, she is favoured by long-haul lorry drivers and recreational vehicle travellers.

The American Bobtail has been described as a dog in a cat’s body. She wags her tails when she’s happy, and she follows her loved ones anywhere around the house. Her dog-like personality earned her the title 'the Golden Retriever of all cat breeds.' This smart cat can play fetch, can be taught tricks, and can adapt to various situations and different types of companies.

The American Bobtail cat is also good with children and can live with other pets. With that said, never skip early socialisation despite her gentle nature. It is an essential process that will allow your kitten to become a mild-mannered and confident cat as she grows older.

Whilst the American Bobtail breed is very sociable, she is not super vocal. If she seeks your attention, she will usually chirp or trill instead of meow.

The American Bobtail breed has a reputation for being skilled at escaping any situation. She is intelligent enough to open closed doors and escape out of crates. So always check your home and ensure that windows and doors are securely locked to keep your cat from running away.

The American Bobtail is easily attracted to shiny objects. For this reason, avoid placing jewellery in places that she can access.

The American Bobtail is very trusting towards other people and animals. This cat’s loving personality can put her in danger if she is left outdoors. She is an easy target for shady strangers and aggressive animals. She is best to keep your cat indoors. If you want to let her explore outside, train her to walk on lead to keep her safe from accidents.

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Nutrition and Feeding

Provide the American Bobtail with a nutritious diet that fulfils her nutritional requirements. She should be consistently given the same meals following the same feeding schedule.

If there are modifications to her diet, those must be done gradually, which is generally a 10-day period, to prevent digestive problems.

The American Bobtail’s serving portions should depend on her weight, age, and activity level. Her diet must include at least 25% protein and just 5% carbohydrates.

As the American Bobtail breed tends to eat little but often leave half of her day’s food in the morning and then serve the other half in the evening. Doing so will help in preventing your cat from overfeeding.

Some American Bobcat owners prefer to replicate the raw diet of the breed’s ancestor, the Bobcat. One of the most common types of raw food methods is the prey model diet (PMR). As a rule of thumb, the ratio of this diet is composed of: 

  • 80% muscular meat such as rabbit, chicken, or beef
  • 10% organs, 5% of which should be liver
  • 10% pure bones

PMR should also contain diverse types of meat, bones, and organs to ensure that your American Bobtail’s nutritional requirements are met. Choose organic meat sources. It is advised that you work with your vet to properly formulate a balanced raw food diet for your American Bobtail.

When feeding raw food to cats, the general rule is that it should be 2–3% of their body weight. Then, it should be divided into two smaller portions every day. For a 4-kilo American Bobtail, she would need 1.5–2.5 ounces per meal.

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Health and Exercise

How long do American Bobtail cats live?

The American Bobtail cat is a relatively healthy and sturdy breed having a life expectancy of 13–15 years. However, she is predisposed to a few health problems, including:

Spine Issues

There have been cases of American Bobtails being born rumpy or without a tail. Rumpy ones tend to have shortened spines and may experience difficulty in eliminating.

Hip Dysplasia

The American Bobtail breed is commonly affected by this health issue. Felines affected with this disease have malformed hip balls and sockets. This makes them suffer from pain, which can lead to limping. Hip dysplasia is curable through medications and surgery.

Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

The American Bobtail cat breed is in danger of developing this rare and incurable disease. HCM causes the heart's muscular walls to thicken and disrupt blood circulation. The common signs of this cardiovascular disease are lethargy and laboured breathing.

Many cats, including the American Bobtail, with HCM do not show these symptoms. Managing HCM involves administering medications either orally or through injections.

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

The American Bobtail cat can be affected by this hereditary disease. This condition is the result of the presence of multiple cysts in the kidneys. There is no specific cure for PKD. The treatments often used to address this health problem are medications, special diet, and fluid therapy.

To avoid obtaining a sickly American Bobtail, it is necessary to acquire one from a reputable breeder. Make sure they can provide records and guarantees on her health. Moreover, consult the vet for preventative measures that can safeguard your cat’s health.

The American Bobtail is a relatively low-energy breed, but she is usually playful. She love games and can play hide and seek for hours. She has a natural hunting skill, which is often demonstrated by catching bugs and mid-flying insects.

The smart American Bobtail cat needs mental stimulation, such as playing with interactive toys. To prevent obesity, ensure that this feline gets enough exercise and fed the right amount of food.

If your American Bobtail is trained to walk on lead, take her out for a short leisurely walk. As the breed is sensitive to heat, make sure to keep her indoors during the hottest parts of the days and in the summer months.

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Cost of Ownership

Are American Bobtail cats rare?

The American Bobtail is a rare cat breed. This is because she only recently achieved full recognition from major cat fancier's organisations. However, her popularity is growing in the US and some parts of the world. Thus, if you plan to get this cat, expect to pay a hefty sum.

How much does an American Bobtail cost?

A well-bred American Bobtail kitten will cost anywhere between £800 and £1,500. Even in the US, being a fairly new and uncommon breed, interested future owners will have to be put on a wait list. In the UK, this feline is very rarely seen.

Based on the typical cost of caring for a cat, owners should expect to spend £150–£520 annually. This estimate includes food, litter, vet check-ups, and vaccinations. Grooming expenses and insurance are not included in this estimate.

American Bobtail Breed Highlights

  • The American Bobtail is a wild-looking feline and a domesticated softie with a special affinity for humans.
  • She is highly adaptable, patient, calm, friendly, and intelligent that she can thrive in a variety of environments.
  • This cat is a very healthy breed and generally has no hereditary health issues.
  • She travels well and is an entertaining animal companion.
  • A long-haired American Bobcat requires regular grooming to keep her coat tangle-free and healthy.
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