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A photo collage of three different American Shorthair cats

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American Shorthair cat breed profile

These cats are a great choice for first-time pet parents.

Whether your cat is a purebred American Shorthair, or an American Shorthair mix, learning about this breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're looking to adopt an American Shorthair and want to do a bit of research first — we can help with that.

The American Shorthair cat has been a welcomed companion to humans for many years, and for good reasons. They make excellent family pets, are a good choice for first-time pet parents and happily adapt to multi-pet households with the proper introduction and socialization. Does this sound like the cat for you? Read on to learn more about this friendly cat breed.

How big are American Shorthair cats?

American Shorthair cats are medium-sized pets that are generally pretty muscular, with a sweet, gentle expression. According to Dr. Elizabeth Bales, VMD, a veterinarian at Tably, you can expect a female American Shorthair cat to weigh between 6 and 12 pounds. Their male counterparts are slightly larger, weighing around 11 to 15 pounds. 

You’ll recognize an American Shorthair cat by their full cheeks, wide muzzle and medium-sized, wide-set ears that are rounded at the tips.

RELATED: American curl cat breed profile

What colors are American Shorthair cats?

Is the cute American Shorthair at your local shelter black? Or maybe a gray, calico or orange tabby? American Shorthair cats come in almost any cat coat color and pattern you can imagine, Dr. Bales explains. And, like their expansive coat colors and patterns, American Shorthair cats don’t have a defined eye color either.

What are American Shorthair cats’ personalities like? 

Humans have loved the American Shorthair breed for many years. Their direct relatives sailed the Mayflower ship with their human companions, Dr. Bales explains. The breed’s adventurous origin story might have impacted some of their personality traits, as they’re usually up for hunting and playing. They enjoy human companionship and may also cozy up for a nap in your lap.

“The American Shorthair cat generally has an easygoing personality and gets along with children, dogs and other pets,” Dr. Bales says.

American Shorthairs enjoy daily enrichment through play, exploring high-up places or chirping at birds from their favorite window perch. The American Shorthair is a low-maintenance, friendly cat breed that would be suitable for experienced and first-time pet parents.

Do American Shorthair cats shed?

Like all cats, the American Shorthair isn’t hypoallergenic. So, if you have cat allergies, you should talk to a doctor before adopting any cat. This breed has a thick coat that does shed but requires minimal routine grooming, like a once-a-week brushing session.

What common health issues do American Shorthairs face?

Overall, the American Shorthair cat breed is robust and healthy.

“They do have a higher than average risk of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the most common form of heart disease in cats,” Dr. Bales adds.

Cats with HCM can be asymptomatic, so ask your vet about routine screening. The condition can’t be cured or prevented, but it can be managed with the right medications.

Adopting an American Shorthair cat

Like any pet, integrating an American Shorthair cat into your home should be done slowly. Educating family members on how to interact positively with cats will foster a loving relationship between your cat and kids, Dr. Bales says. Lastly, always be present during new interactions between your new cat and other pets or children to avoid injury.

Are you interested in adopting an American Shorthair cat, an American Shorthair cat mix or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend.

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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