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Japanese Bobtails

Updated on March 6, 2013

Tail of Fire

Japanese folklore tells a story of a ancient cat that slept too close to the fire and it's tail caught fire. The terrified cat ran about setting many buildings ablaze, burning some to the ground. The angry emperor decreed all cats have their tails cut off in punishment and so the Japanese Bobtail was born.

A bloodthirsty little tale, in reality however a recessive gene causes the body mutation. Two pure Japanese Bobtails will always have bobtail offspring. The breed is over 1,000 years old and is well documented through period artwork.

The Many Expressions of Feline Superiority


True Origin is Not Japan!

The breed was reportedly a gift from the Chinese Emperor sometime during the 7th century. The cats were spoiled, pampered house pets and temple cats until sometime between the 13th and 14th century when the silk industry grew in importance. Mice threatened the worms, their cocoons and the grain stores so the cats were set loose to protect the silk.

Japanese Bobtails used to hold the same position as the domestic shorthair here in America, they were considered until recently as common mongrels and street cats rather than the expensive highly sought after purebred show cat. As American cat breeders took a fancy to the Bobtail, the breed's prestige has risen drastically within it's 'home' country.


Physical Characteristics

Breed standards according to CFA ( Cat Fanciers' Association )

The Japanese Bobtail is a small cat, females weighing between five and seven pounds, males weigh in at eight to ten pounds. The breed has an average lifespan of fifteen to eighteen years.

The body is lean, no tendency towards pudginess, with noticeably longer hind legs that are deeply angulated to bend when the cat is standing still and relaxed.

Japanese Bobtails are a hardy breed, the usual litter size is on the small side with three to four average though the kittens are large comparatively to other breeds. The Bobtail kittens walk earlier and start to become active earlier than other breeds as well.They are also lucky to possess a very low kitten mortality rate as well as high disease resistance.

The Tail, such as it is should never exceed three inches from the body in a purebred Bobtail . A pair of purebred Bobtails will never produce a wholly tailless or a full tailed offspring. There is the major difference between Japanese Bobtails and the Manx cat, the Manx are naturally tailless whereas Bobtails have recessive genes so they always breed true.

The Japanese Bobtail has two coats, the short and the long haired. Short coats are silky and very nearly waterproof with virtually no undercoat to speak of. Belly shag and britches are among the most highly desirable coat characteristics.

A Rainbow of Bobtails

White, Black, Red (orange), Cream, Blue (gray), Black and White, Patterned (Tabby) and White, Bi-color and Tri-Color

The tri-color is considered lucky and is called the Mi-ke , pronounced (mee kay), a red, white and black is among the highest prized coats.

Eyes are oval and usually green, yellow or blue. Blue and odd eyes are the most desired especially in the white, bi-color and tri-colors.

The Amazing B*tch Kitty

My family had the blessed experience of owning a pureblood mi-ke

Oddly enough she just followed my mom's bit but gentle Tabby Sebastian

up the back steps and into the house one December night, she was barely

My family's sixteen year old mi-ke, Chloe


Works Cited


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