The American Shorthair is the 8th most popular breed of cat in the United States according the Cat Fancier's Association for 2006-2007. The breed is believed to be descended from English cats (the forebears of today's British Shorthairs) brought to North America by early British settlers to protect valuable cargo from mice and rats.
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 to the "American Shorthair" to better represent its "All American" character and to differentiate it other shorthaired breeds. The name "American Shorthair" also reinforces the notion that the American shorthair is unique and distinct from cats found in streets, neighborhoods and barnyards.
A non-pedigreed shorthaired cat (called a Domestic shorthair cat) might resemble an American Shorthair, just as another random-bred cat might look like a Siamese, Persian or Maine Coon. The difference, however, is that American shorthairs are a pedigreed 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 and affectionate. 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 requiring only annual vaccinations, veterinary checkups, a quality diet and plenty of tender loving care. 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 striking brown patched tabby to the glistening blue-eyed white, the beautiful shaded silvers, smokes and cameos to the flashy calico van, and many colors in between. The most well-known American Shorthair color today is the silver tabby, with dense black markings set on a sterling silver background. You probably have seen an example of this striking variety in television and magazine advertising or in recent movie roles.
In the American Shorthair and other breeds of cats, heart disease can be inherited. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy(HCM) has been confirmed as an autosomal dominant inherited trait. While there is no cure for HCM, early diagnosis and medication can help significantly prolong an affected cat's life.