The American Shorthair (ASH) cat is descended from European cats brought to North America with the early European settlers who carried cats on their boats to hunt ship’s rats. These working cats flourished on pioneers’ farms and evolved to establish themselves as North America’s shorthaired cats. The ASH evolved into a versatile and hardy breed with a short dense coat to protect them against the cold winter. The hunting skills of these Shorthairs allowed them to move between households, farms, and feral life without going hungry. Selective breeding was started to preserve these beautiful cats and preserve the uniqueness of the North American Shorthair. In 1906 the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) officially recognized this breed which was known as the Domestic Shorthair. The cat breed was renamed the American Shorthair in 1966 to reflect its American heritage and is one of the top ten most popular breeds registered by the CFA.
If Diane Rogers had to sum up the American Shorthair’s personality in one word, it would likely be “agreeable.” The Illinois breeder describes the breed as “easygoing, laid-back and adaptable to almost any situation.”
The American Shorthair quickly finds his place in any type of home situation, Diane says. “They are happy and content with a houseful of children, playing dress up. Or they can sit quietly, enjoying the companionship of a single owner.”
No matter what his home situation — busy family with cats and dogs or calm couple with no other pets — the American Shorthair loves to interact with all members of the household. Playtime remains a priority for the breed throughout his life.
“Even though they are laid-back, they are not couch potatoes,” Diane confirms, noting that like most cats, the American Shorthair finds creative ways to expend pent-up energy. “They will whiz around the house, bouncing from couch to chair to floor and back again until they are worn out.”
Still, even though the cat shows occasional “9 o’clock crazies,” the American Shorthair’s activity level can best be described as moderate. This breed loves to hang out, and he also loves to explore his surroundings.
“If curiosity is a sign of intelligence, they are indeed intelligent,” Diane says. “They have no fear and will investigate everything and anything that comes into the house.”
The CFA recognizes over 60 different colors and patterns with the most well known being the silver tabby with dense black markings on a sterling silver background. Solid colors include black, blue, red, cream, and white. Tabbies include silver, brown, red, blue, cream, cameo and patched. There are also Tortoiseshell and Calico color varieties as well as Tipped, Smoked and Bi-colors. These are the same color varieties as the American Wirehair.
American Shorthair Cat Care
American Shorthairs are very healthy and can live from 15 to 20 years. The short thick coat is easy to groom and a once per week combing with a steel comb keeps the coat neat and regular stroking with the hand or a silk cloth will give the coat a healthy sheen. The ASH will require daily combing during the spring and fall shedding seasons to limit the amount of cat hair that is deposited around your house.