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Are American Shorthair Hypoallergenic?

When the first European settlers came to America, four-legged passengers were on board their ships. At that time, these feline travelers wer...

When the first European settlers came to America, four-legged passengers were on board their ships. At that time, these feline travelers were prized for their hunting skills. They kept rats and mice at bay on long sea voyages. They were equally popular on land, where they kept vermin away from the settlers' granaries. According to our current knowledge, the four-legged companions of the first North American settlers are also the ancestors of a well-known and popular breed today: the "American Shorthair".

American Shorthair Summary

  • Appearance of the American Shorthair
  • Character of the American Shorthair
  • History of the American Shorthair
  • Breeding of American Shorthair
  • American Shorthair Health and Care
  • American Shorthair feeding

Like the first American settlers from Europe, the ancestors of the American Shorthair were simple cats. Even if the American Shorthair is today mainly a family pet, it has kept its excellent hunting skills. These active animals are nevertheless of good composition. Just like the British Shorthairs and European Shorthairs, they have a balanced temperament, which makes them perfect companions for families with children. Although the American Shorthair does not seek to attract attention to itself as much as the Oriental breeds do, it still likes to enjoy the time it spends with its masters, whether it is playing or cuddling.

Are American Shorthair Hypoallergenic

Appearance of the American Shorthair

The American Shorthair is a healthy, active and athletic cat. Its medium sized body is strong and muscular, but still flexible. Its broad chest rests on half-long legs ending in round paws. Its half-long tail is broad at the base. The American Shorthair is distinguished by its eyes often bright yellow, attentive and slightly slanted. They rest above a massive and angular muzzle, which harmonizes perfectly with its light stop profile. Its ears are of medium size, straight and not too far apart.

The coat of the American Shorthair is short, its length and texture are comparable to those of the European Shorthair. The colors allowed by the breed standard depend on the organization. Nevertheless, most breeding clubs accept all colors. For example, the Cat Fanciers Association allows the following colors:

White: The white American Shorthair can have blue or golden eyes. Minnow eyes are also allowed.

Black: Black American Shorthair fur must be a solid color with no gray highlights. Its eyes are often golden, its nose and pads are black.

Blue: The color "blue" is the dilution of the black coat. The muzzle and pads of blue American Shorthair are often also blue, and their eyes are golden.

Red: The most popular color for this breed is red, which should have no white patches.

Cream : this color is the dilution of the red coat. The cream color is favorite in an almost beige hue and without any white spots.

Bicolor : Bicolor American Shorthairs are also allowed. The fur of these is generally composed of a white base with black, blue, red or beige spots.

Chinchilla: If the hairs themselves are bicolored, white with a black tip, then the color of the coat is called "chinchilla". There are also "Red Chinchillas", where the tips of the hairs are red. Many cats of this color have a border around the eyes and nose. American Shorthair chinchillas often have bright green eyes. Blue and cream Chinchillas are also found.

Shaded: Like Chinchilla, Shaded American Shorthair cats have striped bicoloured hairs. Shaded cats, however, have a higher proportion of black than Chinchilla cats. This color also exists with red tipped hair, it is called Red Shaded.

Smoke: Like the American Shorthairs Chinchilla and Shaded, Smoke cats have bicoloured hair. In Smoke cats, the black part is the most important, and only the lower part of the hair is white. Often, the white part of the fur is only visible if the hair is separated. The color Smoke also exists in the versions "Smoke Blue" and "Smoke Red". Instead of being black and white, the hair is then blue and white or red and white. Some cats even have black, red and blue stripes! These animals appear to be tricolored, however, a detailed examination of the hair reveals a white part.

Tabby: Tiger American Shorthair cats are called "Tabby". But there is not only one type of Tabby! The Mackerel Tabby variant has fine, well-defined stripes, the legs and tail are often ringed. Ticked Tabby cats often have patterns only on the head, neck, legs and tail. Patched Tabby cats are American Shorthair Tabby with red or cream patches.

Calico: Who doesn't know about Ticked Tabby "lucky cats"? In North America, and indeed in American Shorthair breeding, these cats are called "Calico". The color of the coat is mainly white, with black and red patches, their dilutions and, where applicable, Tabby markings.

Character of the American Shorthair

The American Shorthair is docile and easy to live with. It has retained the characteristics of its ancestors, who conquered the American continent at the same time as human settlers. They are good mouse hunters, not very aggressive, relaxed and attached to humans. American Shorthair like to play with their masters, but they also appreciate moments of relaxation and caresses. These simple cats are not likely to dominate, which makes them perfect cats for families. They are tolerant roommates and often get along very well with other animals. American Shorthair are very adaptable, so they can be indoor or outdoor cats, and walk in the garden or on the street!

History of the American Shorthair

History of the American Shorthair

Even if the American Shorthair is considered as a breed of "American origin", these small cats were not present in America before the arrival of the first settlers. The ancestors of the American Shorthair were the companions of the first Europeans to settle in America. These cats were highly respected and hardworking animals. After all, they had to keep mice and rats away from the settlers' ships, villages and farms! Cats would also have been aboard the Mayflower, the famous sailing ship on which the Pilgrim Fathers traveled from Plymouth to America in 1620, so it's no wonder that the American Shorthair was a down-to-earth and uncomplicated breed! Nevertheless, systematic breeding did not begin until the beginning of the 20th century.

At the beginning of the 19th century, American Shorthair cat lines were extremely diluted by other breeds of cats imported to the United States, so in 1906 a group of breeders started a targeted breeding program. The original "Domestic Shorthair" breed was renamed this time to "American Shorthair" to emphasize their American origin and to differentiate them from other breeds of domestic cats without breed. Nevertheless, according to many breeders, the American Shorthair was still neglected in breeding shows until the 1960's, probably because of its similarity to "normal" domestic cats and its unremarkable appearance.

Nevertheless, like many other breeds of cats, American Shorthair breeders are subject to a well-defined breed standard. This standard governs not only the physical build, length and color of the hair, but also the character of these easy-going animals. Although most breeders' associations recognize all coat colors, the "Silver Tabby" is particularly popular. Just like the British Shorthair cats of the same color, the American Shorthair Silver Tabby almost looks like the famous Whiskas cat.

Breeding of American Shorthair

Breeding of American Shorthair

The American Shorthair is today an integral part of the North American feline landscape! However, European amateurs of this breed often have to look a little longer before finding a breeder.

As for all other breeds, only a professional breeding of American Shorthair is a good breeding. The work and the passion that the breeder devotes to his animals and his offspring are essential to the success of the breeding and to the physical and mental health of the animals. A responsible breeder attaches importance to the fact that the mother of his cats can recover after each birth. This reduces the number of litters per year and the breeder's profit, but it is more important to have a well-balanced and healthy mother. He breeds his animals taking into account the possibility of genetic diseases and the compatibility of the parent animals. He also has his cats followed by a veterinarian during pregnancy. 

At their birth, kittens are also examined by a veterinarian and receive, until they move, everything they need to grow up: they are well fed, vaccinated, dewormed, and socialized with their brothers and sisters, the other cats in the cattery and the breeder's family. He does not give up his kittens until they are 12 weeks old, because the impregnation phase that takes place during the first three months is particularly important for the development of a balanced and healthy mental state. This is the only way for your American Shorthair to become the easy-going cat you desire!

In order for you to trust a breeder, he must also be a member of a cat breeding club. Only the umbrella organizations can issue the documents that certify that your cat is a true American Shorthair. This document may seem superfluous when you are only looking to give a new home to an adorable little cat. But the cat protection associations have a purpose. They check the breeding conditions of the kittens, the racial affiliation of the parent animals, and make sure that your kitten is a true American Shorthair.

All of this comes at a price. That's why breeding is rarely a business, and usually more of an expensive hobby. Cats from a professional cattery are therefore often more expensive than from unscrupulous breeders who offer undocumented purebred cats at a bargain price. However, this "bargain" will cost you more later on: inbreeding, chained births and lack of medical care mean that your cat may not be as healthy and as easy to live with as you would like. Trust only a professional breeder. You can also find many purebred cats in shelters who would be happy to move into a new home!

American Shorthair Health and Care

Being a short-haired cat, the American Shorthair is not very demanding in terms of care. It is advisable to brush your cat about once a week, especially during the molting period. Otherwise, he usually grooms himself and rarely needs help. Catnip and malt paste can facilitate the natural regurgitation of swallowed hair.

In addition, the American Shorthair belongs to a particularly robust and healthy cat breed. As a rule, an annual check-up at the vet is sufficient to keep your cat healthy and fit.

However, many American Shorthair enthusiasts report that the breed tends to suffer from feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). This disease causes an enlargement of the heart muscle. Your veterinarian will listen to your cat's heart during routine examinations. If he notices a heart murmur, he will usually prescribe an echocardiogram to confirm or refute his suspicion. HCM can be hereditary, so it is especially important to remove American Shorthair with HCM from breeding programs. There is no cure for this disease. However, your veterinarian can provide you with information on the lifestyle and proper diet for a cat with HCM, as well as information on medication.

American Shorthair feeding

An American Shorthair tends to gain weight if he has a calmer lifestyle or after castration. The best antidote is a healthy diet adapted to him. As carnivores, cats need high quality food that is rich in protein and carbohydrates. In this way, they receive everything they need to stay healthy, without consuming by-products that could be bad for their bodies and lead to weight gain. This is exactly what most quality convenience foods offer your cat. 

Make sure that the food you feed your American Shorthair contains mostly quality meat. You know that a food contains a lot of meat when it is the first ingredient on the list of components, which is sorted by quantity. The food should contain only a small amount of plant products, and ideally no sugar at all.

Raw foods or foods that you cook yourself are also good alternatives, even if they require a lot of work. This way you know exactly what your pet's food contains. By taking the time to learn about cat food, you will ensure that your pet receives all the nutrients it needs.

The best way to prevent your cat from gaining weight is to play with him regularly. Shake a cat fishing rod, throw him a ball, give him a toy shaped like a mouse... and try to encourage him to move. If you have room for a large cat tree, it will give your cat a chance to exercise. Smart toys are also great for curious little cats!

If you have fallen in love with the docile American Shorthair, there is only one thing left to do: find a breeder. We wish you and your American Shorthair a great time!

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