American Shorthair: The Classic Companion

American Shorthair: The Classic Companion

The American Shorthair is a breed that has been a beloved companion in households for generations. Known for their robust health, easy-going nature, and classic good looks, American Shorthairs are a favorite among cat lovers. Originating from Europe, these cats were brought to North America by early settlers to help control rodent populations. Over time, they have become one of the most popular and well-rounded breeds in the United States. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about owning an American Shorthair, from the pros and cons to their dietary needs and potential health issues.

Pros and Cons of Ownership


  • Adaptable and Easy-Going: American Shorthairs are known for their calm and adaptable nature. They can fit well into any household, whether it's a busy family environment or a quieter single-person home.
  • Low Maintenance: Their short, dense coat requires minimal grooming compared to long-haired breeds, making them a low-maintenance option for busy owners. A weekly brush is usually sufficient to keep their coat in good condition.
  • Good with Children and Other Pets: American Shorthairs are friendly and tolerant, making them great companions for families with children and other pets. They are not overly demanding of attention but enjoy socializing on their terms.


  • Health Issues: While generally healthy, American Shorthairs can be prone to certain health problems, such as obesity and heart disease, which can lead to higher veterinary costs. Regular vet check-ups and a controlled diet are essential.
  • Less Affectionate: While they are friendly and sociable, American Shorthairs are not as affectionate as some other breeds. They enjoy being around their owners but are not typically lap cats.
  • Activity Level: They have a moderate activity level, which means they need regular playtime to stay healthy and happy.

Cost to Purchase

American Shorthairs are a popular breed and can be moderately priced. The price for an American Shorthair kitten from a reputable breeder typically ranges from $600 to $1,200, depending on factors such as the breeder’s reputation and the kitten’s lineage. Adoption is a more affordable option, and it's worth checking local shelters or American Shorthair rescue groups for available cats.

Recommended Type of Food

American Shorthairs require a balanced diet to maintain their health and prevent obesity. High-quality cat food that is rich in protein is essential. Look for brands that list meat as the first ingredient and avoid fillers like corn and soy. A mix of dry and wet food can help provide the necessary nutrients while keeping them hydrated. It's important to monitor their food intake and avoid overfeeding, as American Shorthairs can easily gain weight.

Recommended Type of Exercise

While American Shorthairs are not as active as some other breeds, they still need regular exercise to stay healthy. Interactive toys, such as feather wands and laser pointers, can encourage them to play and move around. Providing scratching posts and climbing structures can also help keep them engaged. Regular play sessions are important to prevent boredom and maintain a healthy weight.

Known Health Issues

American Shorthairs are generally healthy but are predisposed to certain conditions:

  • Obesity: Due to their moderate activity level, American Shorthairs are prone to weight gain. Regular exercise and a controlled diet are essential to prevent obesity-related health issues.
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): This common heart disease in cats can lead to heart failure if not monitored and managed properly. Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for early detection and management. 
  • Dental Disease: Regular dental care, including brushing and professional cleanings, is important to prevent dental disease in American Shorthairs. 


American Shorthairs are known for their calm and gentle temperament. They are very laid-back and enjoy a quiet, peaceful environment. They are not as demanding of attention as some other breeds, making them a good choice for people who prefer a more independent pet. American Shorthairs are also known for their loyalty and can form strong bonds with their owners. Despite their independence, they enjoy socializing and will often follow their owners around the house.

Defining Characteristics

  • Appearance: American Shorthairs have a distinctive appearance with their robust, muscular bodies, round faces, and large, expressive eyes. Their coat comes in a variety of colors and patterns, adding to their classic good looks.
  • Size: They are medium to large cats, with males typically weighing between 11-15 pounds and females between 8-12 pounds.
  • Coat: Their short, dense coat requires minimal grooming and is easy to care for.
  • Personality: American Shorthairs are known for their calm and easy-going nature. They are friendly, tolerant, and good with children and other pets.


If an American Shorthair seems like too much of a commitment, consider these breeds:

  • British Shorthair: Known for their easy-going temperament and similar plush coat, British Shorthairs are a good alternative for those seeking a calm and gentle companion.
  • Scottish Fold: With their distinctive folded ears and sweet disposition, Scottish Folds are another good option for those seeking a calm and gentle companion.
  • Russian Blue: Known for their striking blue coat and gentle nature, Russian Blues are a good alternative for those seeking a calm and affectionate cat.


American Shorthairs are wonderful pets for those who seek a calm, gentle, and easy-going companion. Their adaptable nature and low-maintenance coat make them ideal for a variety of households. With proper care, attention, and regular veterinary visits, an American Shorthair can bring years of joy and companionship to your home. If you're looking for a cat that is friendly, tolerant, and relatively low-maintenance, the American Shorthair might just be the perfect choice for you.


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