American Shorthair Shorthair Cats
The American Shorthair (ASH) is a breed of cat believed to be descended from European domestic cats brought to North America by early settlers to protect valuable cargo from mice and rats. According to the Cat Fancier’s Association, during 2011, it was the 8th most popular breed of cat in the United States.
When settlers sailed from Europe to North America, they carried cats on board to protect the stores from mice. Many of these cats “settled” in the New World, interbred, and developed special characteristics to help them cope with their new life and climate. Early in the twentieth century, a selective breeding program was established to develop the best qualities of these cats. Both the American and the Domestic Shorthairs are called mousers because they caught mice on ships.
A very athletic cat, American Shorthair has a larger, leaner, and more powerfully built body than its relation, the British Shorthair. It is also known as a “working cat”.
American Shorthairs are a pedigreed cat with strict standards and a distinctive appearance, as set by the various Cat Fanciers’ Associations worldwide.
Originally known as the Domestic Shorthair, the breed was renamed in 1966 as the “American Shorthair” to better represent its “all-American” character and to differentiate it from other shorthaired breeds. The name “American Shorthair” also reinforces the notion that the American Shorthair is distinct from non-pedigreed, short-haired cats in the United States.
A non-pedigreed shorthaired cat (called a Domestic Shorthair) might resemble an American Shorthair, just as another non-pedigreed cat might look like a Siamese, Persian or Maine Coon. The difference, however, is that American Shorthairs are a purebred cat and are recognized as such by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA).
According to the CFA, American Shorthairs are low-maintenance cats that are generally healthy, easy-going, affectionate with owners and social with strangers. Males are significantly larger than females, weighing eleven to fifteen pounds when fully grown. Mature females weigh eight to twelve pounds when they achieve full growth at three to four years of age. American Shorthairs can live fifteen to twenty years, like most felines, and often only require annual vaccinations, veterinary checkups, and a quality diet. These cats have long tails and usually slender bodies.
The American Shorthair is recognized in more than eighty different colors and patterns ranging from the brown-patched tabby to the blue-eyed white, the shaded silvers, smokes and cameos to the calico van, and many colors in between. Some even come in deep tones of black, brown, or other blends and combinations. The most well-known American Shorthair color today is the silver tabby, with dense black markings set on a silver background.