American Bobtail

Origin: United StatesAmerican Bobtail

Type: Standard / Mixed breed

Size: Medium to large.

Coat Length: Medium hair / long hair

Body Type: Moderate.

Appearance: The American Bobtail is a medium to large-­sized cat with an athletic and muscular appearance. It takes two to three years to reach its adult size. The breed can be seen with both long and short hair. Generally their coat is of medium length and can be in various colours. The hairs are longer on the neck, belly, back of the legs and tail. Their ears are medium-­sized with rounded tips. The eyes are proportionate to the head and can vary in colour.

Grooming Requirement: Cats with medium hair need grooming once a week. Those with long hair – twice a week.

Activity Level: High.

Affection: Very affectionate.

Time Alone: 4 to 8 hours per day.

Attention: Needs average attention.

Talkativeness: Average.

Temperament: The Bobtail is a self­confident cat and tends to form strong bond with its owners. These are loving and intelligent animals and adapt fast to different environments. Although not the loudest cat, you will certainly hear if your pet has something to tell you.

Interesting Facts: All Bobtail tails are unique and different in length. In some cases they are born without tails at all.

Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Children: The Bobtail is great choice as a family cat. It is friendly to children and grown ups. With smaller children in the home you should always be careful, keep an eye on interactions and teach them how to behave correctly with animals. Even the most tolerant cat will react to rough or disrespectful treatment. The American Bobtail does well with other pets especially if they were raised together or if they are cat­friendly.

Common Health Problems: In rare cases American Bobtails may have spinal problems or hip dysplasia. In general though they are a healthy breed.

Lifespan: Average 11 to 15 years.


Known for many generations throughout the United States, the Bobtail was not developed as a breed until the late 60s of the 20th century. The bloodlines of the breed lead to Yodie, a short-haired brown tabby male, taken as a pet by a family from Iowa. When he became of age, he and the other cat in the family, a tabby, produced offsprings. Thus, the modern Bobtail cat we all know is actually the result of crossbreeding between domestic tabby and wild bobcat. In 1989, TICA recognised the breed as a naturally occurring one; however most breeders prefer to stick to domesticated cats and rarely use feral bobtails in their breeding programs.

American Bobtail

Etymology of Breed

The word “bobtail” comes probably from Middle English, and originally was used as a humorous term for broad-headed arrows. Today the word is used almost exclusively for various cat breeds.

Breed Standards

According to the standards of the championship competition by TICA, the American Bobtail is a medium to large-sized cat, with a naturally occurring short tail, the result of a spontaneous genetic mutation. The body is well-muscled, with athletic grace. The cat regains some of its feral appearance, namely a predator gaze and rolling gait. However, they are intelligent and affectionate and lack the aggressiveness of their wild counterparts. The Bobtail reaches full maturity around his third year.

There are two main sub-breeds of American Bobtails – the American Bobtail Longhair, and the American Bobtail Shorthair. The length of the coat varies between the two. All coat colours are allowed, regardless of the sub-breed. Ghost markings are desirable in lynx points.

Lack of tail, full-lenth tail, docked tail and tail with less than an inch of bone result in disqualification.

Longhair American Bobtail


The American Bobtail is medium-sized, muscular cat with feral appearance and friendly temperament. It is regarded as one of the more intelligent cat breeds, with strong affection levels and friendly to children, as well as dogs and other pets. It requires little to no grooming and has almost no genetic health issues. Regular combing and brushing are not necessary but twice a week is advised. American Bobtails are neither lazy nor hyperactive, and enjoy a moderate level of social activities.

American Bobtail Play

American Bobtails are amongst the perfect family cats, as they tolerate little children and even play along without going too far. They need attention and engagement of both the mind and the body. They are friendly to strangers and enjoy rewarding puzzle toys. It is best to keep your kitten keep it indoors or in a secure run to avoid spread of disease.


Although all cats share a common ancestor, keep in mind Bobtails were feral less than 50 years ago. American Bobtails need a lot of proteins from meat and fat. Feed twice a day and include red and white meat, cheese, vegetables and Vegemite toasts.

Avoid food such as:

  • Fish: contrary to popular belief, fish is not food suitable for cats as they can easily choke on the small bones. Canned tuna or salmon cat food is an exception.
  • Milk: another incorrect belief is cats love milk. In reality, almost no mammal drinks milk when mature. Cats cannot digest lactose and thus you should keep fresh milk out of the diet.
  • Chocolate: chocolate is toxic to both cats and dogs and should be avoided.
  • Garlic and onion: both garlic and onion cause renal failure in dogs and cats, although the reason for this is still unknown to science.
  • Aloe Vera: recently it was discovered Aloe Vera is toxic to all cats. The Bobtails, being a relatively new breed, are especially at risk.


American Bobtail Care


American Bobtails are relatively healthy cats and in the best case scenario, you’ll need to visit the veterinary only for inoculations and annual checks. Teeth brushing and ears cleaning will take care of most nuisances and health hazards. However, the shortened tail is known to cause spinal deformity, especially in older Bobtails. All “stumpy tail” breeds are the result of a defective gene which is also the cause for such diseases. Completely tailless cats are especially prone to neurological and spinal problems and you should always make sure they are not overweight.