American Bobtail Cat: Characteristics, Personality, and Breed Information

Compare Breed
American Bobtail
United States
Adult weight
7-18 pounds
Life Span
12-15 years
Lively, intelligent, personable, curious
Other Names
Golden Retriever of the cat world
Medium-to-large sized shorthair and longhair
$600 - $1,000
Affection Level
? Breeds with a high affection level want to give and receive a lot of attention, while less-affectionate breeds are not as interested in petting and snuggles.
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Activity Level
? Breeds with high activity levels will engage more in active play and demand more space and attention.
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? How well the breed tends to get along with cats, dogs, and other pets.
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? Breeds with a higher rating in this area tend to be gentle and patient, while lower-rated breeds may feel uncomfortable with children.
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? Breeds with a higher sociability rating will want to spend time with you all day, while less-sociable breeds seldom seek out human interaction.
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? Breeds with higher intelligence ratings are more curious, investigative, and easy to train. Less-intelligent breeds are less trainable but often laid-back and easygoing.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area have strong hunting instincts that make them great playtime companions.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area are able to spend hours alone, while less-independent breeds require plenty of attention.
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? A higher rating in this area indicates a breed prone to plenty of meowing and other vocalizations, while less-vocal breeds are happy to stay quiet.
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? Breeds with higher grooming scores require more maintenance like brushing and bathing, while lower-scored breeds are virtually maintenance-free.
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Personality and Temperament

The American Bobtail cat is renowned for its friendly, almost doglike personality as well as its wild appearance. This incredible breed does have feral ancestors, but its behavior is purely domesticated.

American Bobtail cats are highly intelligent, with a reputation for being talkative. They are known to develop wide vocabularies that include a variety of meows, chirps, and purrs.

Despite the American Bobtail's feral cat ancestry, members of the breed are known to develop strong bonds with their human families. In addition, they have a reputation for getting along very well with other pets.

In addition to being outgoing, American Bobtails are also incredibly active, with an appreciation for jumping, climbing, and exciting games. These cats are highly trainable, too. Favorite activities include playing fetch and walking on leashes with their family members.

American Bobtail cats are wily escape artists, easily making their way out of confinement even when placed in closed carriers. If you have an American bobtail cat and you need to transport them, you'll want to make sure that the carrier is latched!

About the American Bobtail Cat
OrangeGroup /
American Bobtail Cat Care
Mary McDonald/










American Bobtail cats do not have any special dietary requirements, other than a nutritious meat-based diet that satisfies their needs as obligate carnivores. Feed measured meals rather than leaving out food all dog so your cat does not overeat and become obese.

American Bobtail cats come in both short coats and medium-length long coats. Both coat types are fairly easy to care for. Regular brushing will help keep your American Bobtail cat looking good, and they'll love the attention. Since these cats are robust climbers, keep their nails trimmed regularly.

American Bobtail cats are highly active and are very playful. These curious cats love games, and will play and climb with intensity. If you've always wanted a cat that enjoys human interaction, and you like the idea of walking your cat on a leash, then the American Bobtail might be the ideal breed for you.

Treat your cat to a high-quality climbing tower and a window perch, as well as multiple scratching posts and a basket full of toys. If you can find toys with shiny surfaces, it's likely that they'll become some of your cat's favorites.

American Bobtail cats are notorious for their good health. The breed is not predisposed to any known health conditions.


The American Bobtail cat is a relatively new cat breed, having been developed in the 1960s using a feral brown tabby male with a naturally short tail and a seal point domestic female.

Although many cat breeds are formed using exclusively pedigreed cats as foundation stock, this breed stands out for its development through natural selection. The foundation stock was almost exclusively made up of feral domestic cats with natural bobtails.

Several different breeders from different parts of the United States worked together to develop the American Bobtail cat as we know it. Even though the foundation cats had no known common heritage, they were all alike in type. The result is a strong, vibrant cat breed with a distinct appearance and no known genetic defects.

The gene that gives the American Bobtail cat its signature shortened tail is dominant. This is an important difference between the American Bobtail cat and the Japanese Bobtail cat. The Japanese Bobtail cat has a recessive gene for its short tail.

The International Cat Association (TICA) officially recognized the American Bobtail cat in 1989. Since then, the breed has been accepted for championship competition by the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA). It is also sanctioned by the Cat Aficionado Association of China. The World Cat Federation recognizes the breed but does not accept it for competition.

American Bobtail Cat History
Ievgeniia Miroshnichenko /
About the American Bobtail Cat
Mary McDonald /


The eyes are nearly almond shaped and of a size that is proportionate to the head. The socket is deep, spacing is medium wide, and the aperture is angled to the base of the cat's ear. An American Bobtail cat's eye color corresponds with its coat color.

Legs & Paws

Similar to a bobcat's legs, the American Bobtail cat has longer hind legs and slightly shorter front legs. The feet are large with a distinctly rounded appearance. Many American Bobtail cats have tufts of fur between their toes.


The American Bobtail cat always has a short tail that is normally between one-third to half the length of the tail on an average cat. The American Bobtail cat's tail may not extend below the hock. The tail is normally straight, however curves, bumps, and slightly knotted shapes are permitted.

The Breed Standard


The American Bobtail cat has a long, stocky body. The chest is full and broad, and the hip is substantial. This cat has a noticeably rectangular profile.


The head is a broad wedge shape that is proportionate in size to the body. There are no flat plains, and a concave curve extends from the cat's nose to its brow. The muzzle is broad and the whisker pads are prominent. The jaws are full and strong.


An American Bobtail cat has medium-sized ears with wide bases and rounded tips.


American Bobtail cats may have dense shorthair coats or medium long-haired coats.


All colors and patterns are acceptable, but American Bobtail cats that exhibit coat colors and patterns that enhance the impression of wildness are preferred.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does an American Bobtail kitten cost?

A pet-quality American Bobtail kitten typically cost between $1,200 and $1,500.

How big do American Bobtail cats get?

The American Bobtail cat is medium sized. Males weigh on average between 12 and 16 pounds. Females tend to be smaller, averaging 7 to 11 pounds. American Bobtail cats are slow to mature, taking about two to three years to achieve full growth.

How long do American Bobtail cats live?

The average life span for an American Bobtail cat is 11 to 15+ years.

Do American Bobtail cats shed?

The American Bobtail cat’s coat may be short or medium-long. Both coat types shed moderately throughout the year, with temporary heavier shedding in spring and fall. Weekly brushing can remove loose hair to reduce shedding in the house (brush more frequently during the seasonal shedding periods).

10 thoughts on “American Bobtail”

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  1. Nancy guagy

    Looking for American bobtail with a long tail just lost mine had him for 12 years. When I purchased him they called it a throw away maybe because his tail was long not bob. If someone can back to me and recommend a breeder I would appreciate it. Thank you

    1. Allisha

      A Bombay cat is a really great cat but they don’t drink much water and gets really bad uterine infections which can kill them if they don’t get spayed. They follow you around every where and if you leave them alone a lot make sure she has toys everywhere and they get depressed when their person isn’t around my cat goes in the bath with me to keep me company in the tub. They love water playing and snuggling under blankets. I have an orange bobtail and a Bombay

      1. Misty

        That is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard lol. Bombay cats don’t drink less water than any other breed. And they, along with any breed of cat can get URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS if they don’t drink enough water not uterine infections! So spaying is not a factor whatsoever! Eliminate dry kibble completely from their diet (read catinfo .org) and invest in a water fountain and whether your cat is spayed or not (though they should be) this will insure they won’t suffer urinary tract infections.

  2. Heather

    I have two bobtail cats (siblings). I have had a number of cats in the past. These bobtails are the most affectionate cats I have ever had. They love to be pet and often cuddle up with me. They are also strongly bonded- they groom each other and sleep next to each other all the time. I adopted these bobtails from humane society and consider myself extremely fortunate!

  3. Steve

    Love my little bobtail. She plays fetch and walks on her leash for as long as I will let her. Absolutely loves little fake mice and will jump and bat them out of the air. I almost wish I could have found another to breed her but unfortunately I got her spayed. Will be my little friend for life.

  4. Joanna

    We adopted a American bobtail 6 yrs ago. She came from a reservation and we were told she didn’t like other cars, dogs or small children. She’s not very playful but does like to sit in my lap or next to me. She won’t do that with my husband although she will play on the floor with him. She also doesn’t meow. Don’t know what happen to her in her first 6 months but she is sweet in her own way.

  5. HansHillmann

    We have an American bobtail kitten,she is most affectionate and loving to all. She loves playing fetch and she waits for you at the door when you come home. She meows and chirps. We may want to breed her once since the breed is rare.

    1. Gay Darst

      That would be irresponsible to bring kittens into a world filled with kittens and cats in shelters looking for homes,shelters are overflowing and kitten season is right around the corner,I have a four year old female American Bobtail and I would never breed her for money!