American Bobtail Cat Breed

American Bobtail Cat
American Bobtail Cat | Source

The American Bobtail cat is a wonderful breed to have as a pet. They are affectionate and fit well in the family. Many owners claim their bobtail acts more like a dog than a cat. Some will play fetch just like a dog. All owners say that these cats give them many hours of entertainment.

History of Bobtail Cats

These cats didn't come on the scene until the late 1960s. The story that these cats are part domestic cat and part wild bobcat hasn't been proven and isn't probable. No genetic testing has proven it. What is known is that a brown short tailed domestic tabby cat without a tail was bred with a seal point Siamese cat and the new breed was born.

A breeder soon mixed a Birman cat, then a Himalayan and next a Himalayan/Siamese to the breed. By the 1980s they had given up on the original line. The breeders before that time were tying to keep the cats looking the same with white feet, white faces and long hair with the bobtail.

The original bobtail line no longer exists. Breeders have since bred with other blood lines, because the cats were being inbred too much. Now bobtails without long hair are accepted. They don't need to have white feet and faces either as was originally desired.

The short tail is caused by a genetic mutation in the tail. It is a dominant trait, so continues to appear in the line. The bobtail is still a rare breed to find. I liked the traits of this cat and looked through the cat rescues for one. Only one was available. You can pay $500 and up to get one.

In 1989 the breed became accepted by the International Cat Association. Not until March of 2013 did the breed become accepted byThe Cat Fanciers Association.

We had one of these cats in the early 1970s and didn't realize what we had. Searching for a cat for a pet we found a beautiful cat for free in the local paper. I was naïve enough to think the cat had its tail cut off accidentally. We name the cat Melissa and she was a good pet.

Physical Characteristics

An average male weighs between 7- 15 pounds. Average females weigh between 7-12 pounds. They have the appearance of other domestic cats except its tail is only one third to one half the size, The breeds hind legs are longer than the front legs. Their feet are large.

The breed can have either a short dense coat or a shaggy long haired one. Bobtails are considered a medium shedder.

Maturity isn't reached until 2 to 3 years, which is longer than average cats. This may be because they are so muscular.

The breed can have different eye colors and different coat colors. The wild tabby appearance is preferred for cats that participate in shows.

Bobtail Cat Sleeping
Bobtail Cat Sleeping | Source


Most of these cats are playful and very affectionate. They are also friendly and easily adapt to new environments. Like any breed, a few are born with a shy personality and aren't as friendly or as playful.

This breed can be demanding of your attention and can be vocal when they want it. If this is something that you don't like, this isn't the breed for you.

This is an intelligent breed that can learn things that will surprise you. They enjoy being walked on a leash and enjoy playing fetch.

These cats have no problem getting along with other cats and dogs. They make an excellent pet for the entire family. Young children should be watched, so they don't hurt the cat.

Would you consider this breed?

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Health Issues

Bobtails with no tail can have problems with their spines due to a shortened spine length. Otherwise the cat doesn't have any special problems other than what other cat breeds have.

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Comments 23 comments

Scribenet profile image

Scribenet 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

My cat is from a feral bobtail. He has a short stump of a tail himself. He fetches and drags his toys for me to play with him. He was shy as a kitten... though he is not shy with me. He loves to talk in short little meows; it is always a two-way conversation...he waits for my comments and often blinks his eyes when he talks. He demands playtime and wants a certain amount of attention.

I have always been interested in more information about the Bobtail. I know my cat has other domestic breeds in his bloodline because of his feral background, but he really is a delightful pet.

Thanks for this Hub!

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

Scibenet, What you are saying about your cat is what everyone is saying about the bobtails. I want one! They are expensive to buy though. I had a bobtail cat in the early 70's, but didn't know what a gem I had. Thanks for commenting.

Scribenet profile image

Scribenet 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I got lucky when a feral bobtail came into my world gratis...though I did spend a fair amount money feeding her and getting her other kittens and her placed through cat rescue and giving Mom freedom from the cycle of endless litters. I think I would pay to get one though. :)

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

Scribenet, Thanks for reading. It sounds like you did have such a fun time though.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

Such as pretty cat. Sad to hear they have back problems due to their short tail. But, it would be fun to walk them on a leash.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

teaches12345, It is only the ones that don't have a tail at all that have the back problems and not an issue with the ones that just have a half of a tail. I thought these cats sounded like fun too. It would be easier to walk a cat on a leash too then training a dog. Thanks for commenting.

Helen 3 years ago

Hi, I'm hoping you could help us figure out if our cat is in fact an American Bobtail. While it's a slim possibility (believe me, I know exactly how slim it is) we have a rescue cat, but he looks, behaves and has all the physical characteristics of an American Bobtail longhair.

He is just on 1 yr old now. He appears similar to a maine coon, is a stocky, muscular build. Has the brow, shorter legs in the front, his tail is slightly less than half the length of a regular domestic, but does not reach past his hock (his tail looks like one of those old hand held dusters and seriously if it had been full length I swear you could sweep the floor with it lol). He has ear furnishings, and substantial toe tufts.

He has a long hair shaggy ruff, with a very soft coat, longer on the britches and under his belly. Likes to be carried around over your shoulder like a sack of potatoes! In fact, he will jump from the floor, onto your shoulder often just to sit on it. He LOVES the dog (Molly), they often play together (Molly is a german shepherd mix).

He chirps and trills, has a kind of scratchy, quiet 'meow', though he has on occasion been louder. His stalking movement is low to the ground, graceful and swift. He likes to stalk his favorite toy (an acorn) which he has been known to carry around with him at times (along with the dog toy on occasion) He jumps high (I'm almost 6' tall, and as previously mentioned, jumps onto my shoulder) and enjoys catching toys in mid air. I am trying to get a photo of him, but we are in a dark apartment and he doesn't stay still or in a position for long enough to get a shot (I will yet, still trying). All the photos I have seen of the longhair look like him. Not sure what to think.

Thanks for any help :)

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

Helen, I would guess that he is, but he could be a mix with something else. He sounds like one. They are very intelligent cats.

Helen 3 years ago

Thanks for such a quick response! I very much appreciate it. I had also been wondering if he was a bit of a mix, but after seeing a lot of photos online (cat fancier among others) he looks like he is straight up bobtail. Though sometimes its hard to tell sometimes kwim?

Thanks again for your help!!!

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thanks for this information. The American bobtail sounds like a very interesting breed. I hope my three cats all live for a long time, but I might consider getting a bobtail cat in the future.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

AliciaC, This is an intelligent cat. I'd like to have one too. Thanks for commenting.

stars439 profile image

stars439 3 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Wonderful hub. I believe three of our nine cars have a lot of Bobtail cat in their genetics. Our cats stay indoors because of heavy highway traffic. Our cats are either spayed , or neutered, and are very happy as they eat well, and are treated well. Enjoyed the hub as it was educational, and informative. God Bless You.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

stars439, Thanks for reading the hub. It sounds like you have some wonderful cats. God bless you too.

nArchuleta profile image

nArchuleta 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

I'm pretty sure my sweet Lindemann is a bobtail. I got him from a shelter. I picked him specifically because of his short tail -- I felt bad because I thought it was a birth defect! But from all the descriptions of bobtails I have, seen, I'm pretty sure that's at least his predominant breed. He's vocal and too smart for my own good. And he definitely prefers people company. He doesn't like dogs, but he had to live on the streets for awhile (before I got him, obviously), so that may have something to do with it. He definitely is a demanding little booger!

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

nArchuleta, It sounds like he is a Bobtail. You were lucky to find him. Thanks for reading and commenting.

profile image

Deb Welch 3 years ago

This cat in the photo looks similar to my cat and is short-hair Tabby with Maine Coon Cat and will walk on a leash. I am a cat lover. I found a Savannah kitten that was dropped off and she was in bad condition. I nursed her back to health and found her a good home as she fought with my cat. Nice useful Hub and interesting. Thanks.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

Deb, I am happy you found the hub useful. Thanks for reading. We had a Siamese that we could walk like that.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

What a pretty looking cat. Both of our cats came to us as strays and as adults. It would be fun to be able to walk these bobtail cats on leashes! Pinning this!

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Peggy, We had one when were first married. I'd like to have one again.

Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

Oh, how my husband and I LOVE cats! I LOVE this hub, and the pictures are tremendous ...My husband and I have four cats...and I KNOW we would LOVE a bobcat. You provided wonderful information. So, you DO have a bobcat? If you do, I'd love to know its name.

THANK YOU for this very insightful and inspirational write. Voted up and awesome. Blessings, Sparklea :)

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 2 years ago from USA Author

Sparklea, We did have a bobcat when we were first married. We were naïve enough to think that someone had cut its tail off.. I'd love to have one now. Thanks for voting it up.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Now that is one cat I would love to have! fascinating facts, and its good to know that it doesn't have any medical problems apart from the small issue of his tail, voted up!

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 2 years ago from USA Author

Nell Rose, We had one of these cats when we were first married and didn't know that is what it was. We though it lost its tail. LOL. I would like one now. Thanks for reading.

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