The American Shorthair is found in the USA and Canada, but it is not sufficiently distinctive to capture the imagination of cat fanciers worldwide, compared with some other breeds. Bicolours were common in the early days of the American Shorthair. Today these cats are noticeably larger than their ancestors and their patterning is more prescribed as well, certainly in the case of show stock. The American Shorthair has a friendly, undemanding nature.
- BREED DEVELOPED: Early 1 900s
- COUNTRY: USA
- TYPE: Shorthair
- WEIGHS UP To: 6.5kg/14lb
- PLUS POINTS: Fit, friendly cats
- WATCH POINTS: Often prove to be keen hunters
The origins of the American Shorthair lie with cats taken from Europe to America over the centuries. However, it was not until just after the start of modern cat shows, during the early 1900s, that serious interest began in developing a shorthaired breed in the USA. Ironically, it was a cat from Europe that was accepted as the first example of the breed, rather than a native American-born cat. Unfortunately, for many years, these cats were seen as little more than ordinary moggies, which was reinforced by their original name of Domestic Shorthair. This name was changed to American Shorthair in the 1960s, following cross-breedingwith the Exotic to increase the breed’s size. These cats then started to win major prizes and capture the attention of cat fanciers in North America.
Clarity of coloration is considered very important in the case of the Black and White American Shorthair. Both black and white patches in the coat must be clearly defined and have an even depth of colour; there should also be no white hairs present in the black, or any signs of brindling either. Eye colour is important too. In the case of a mature cat, eyes should be brilliant gold so that they contrast strikingly with the coat.
- It is impossible to predict the markings of kittens from their parents. Some are much whiter overall than others.
- Cats played a vital part in the colonisation of North America, by controlling vermin. During the Californian Gold Rush of the 1800s, cats sold for the vast amount of $50 each.
- Cats do not develop grey hairs as they grow older, but if they sunbathe, black areas of the coat may sometimes turn brown.