All About The American Bobtail Cat

If you ask me to choose the cutest cat ever, that would be one of my cats. However, if I had to choose the cutest cat breed, that would probably be the American bobtail cat. 

With their cute little tails and stocky bodies, American bobtails almost look like plush toys. However, these cats are not just cute. They are great pets and companions, so let’s review their main characteristics!

American Bobtail Cat Characteristics


Fur colorBrown, chocolate, grey, black, cinnamon, lilac, blue, fawn, cream, and red.
Fur patternTabby, calico, solid, bi-color, color point
Fur lengthLong and short, with a thick undercoat
Eye color & shapeAlmond-shaped and deep-set eyes that can be grey, green, orange, or another color, depending on the color of the fur
LengthMales 17”-19”
Females 15”-17”
WeightMales 7-16 lbs
Females 5-12 lbs
Expected lifespan12-15 years


TemperamentSocial and easygoing, American bobtails are affectionate and intelligent cats. They are playful and friendly, which makes them a perfect family pet
Kids and other petsGreat with kids and other cat-friendly pets
Sociable and cuddlyBobtails are also friendly towards strangers, and they are extremely sociable and cuddly
Activity levelModerately active cats, bobtails can spend hours playing, but they will also enjoy napping or simply resting somewhere near their owners

Requirements & Traits

FeedingMeat-based food, both in the wet and dry form. Kittens should be fed 3-4 times a day, while adults need to eat -3 times a day, depending on the portion size and the activity level.
GroomingShort-haired variants need brushing once a week, but they require less grooming overall than the long-haired variants. Long-haired bobtails should be brushed at least twice a week.
SheddingBobtails shed a lot
HypoallergenicNo, since they are a high-shedding breed, American bobtails can cause strong allergic reactions.

History and Origins

american bobtail history

The origin of the American bobtail is described by several urban legends. It is a relatively new breed, and one version says that this cat breed was a hybrid between a wild bobcat and an unnamed domestic cat. In another version, the first bobtail cat was found in the 1960s, and all other bobtails came from that cat.

However, regardless of the circumstances under which the first bobtail cat was spotted, the cause for its short tail is genetic. Scientists have identified a gene responsible for unusually short, “bobbed” tails. This is how these cats got their name.

Today, American bobtail cats can be found in long-haired and shorthaired variants. 

American Bobtail Cat Personality

Although they look somewhat wild, American bobtails are actually sweet, affectionate, and loving. They are loyal cats, friendly, and easy-going. Another great thing about these cats is that they are excellent travel companions, as they enjoy long car rides.

Oftentimes, bobtails are referred to as “golden retrievers” among cat breeds because they are extremely outgoing. Unlike most other cat breeds, bobtails are even friendly towards complete strangers. This makes them an excellent choice for therapy animals.

They love to be near humans, and they are great lap cats. Although they are moderately active, they can often be docile. Bobtails love children and other pets, which is another reason why this cat is so awesome.

American Bobtail Cat Appearance

American Bobtail appearance

Overall, bobtail cats look a bit wild, but they also look cute and almost cartoon-like. Bobtail cats are well-known for their short tails. These tails are usually between 1 and 4 inches long. Each bobtail cat’s tail is unique, and it can be straight or curvy, and even bumpy.


Bobtail cats come in short-haired and long-haired variants. They also have a warm undercoat beneath the outer fur. This thick undercoat also make them great for anyone living in an area with colder winters. Bobtail’s fur is shaggy, and its undercoat is soft and silky. 

Bobtail’s fur can come in many different colors and patterns. It can be brown, orange, grey, chocolate, cinnamon, lilac, red, cream, fawn, and blue. Regarding patterns, fur can be solid, tabby, bi-color- tri-color (calico), and color point.


American bobtail cats have large, deep-set, and almond-shaped eyes. Their eyes can be copper, brown, grey, green, orange, yellow, and even blue. Additionally, the eye color depends on the fur color. So far, heterochromia (mismatched eyes) hasn’t been noticed in American bobtails.


American bobcats grow and mature at a slower rate than most other domestic cat breeds. As a result, they will reach adulthood and full size after 2 or 3 years. However, they are considered a medium-sized breed, and they can grow quite a bit.

For example, male American bobtails will grow to 17-19 inches on average, while females usually reach a length of 15-17 inches. Also, male bobtails weigh 7-16 pounds, while females weigh 5-12 pounds on average.

Other Body Characteristics

American bobtail cats have long yet muscular, athletic, and stocky bodies. Their heads are a bit rounded, with apparent cheekbones. Bobtail’s ears are medium-sized and rounded.

Paws are big and round, and oftentimes, the front paws will have five fingers, while the back paws will have four fingers. Bobtail’s chest area is wide and strong, and hips are slightly higher than with other cat breeds, with prominent shoulder blades. 

Daily Life With American Bobtail Cat

American bobtail cat is relatively low maintenance compared to other cat breeds.


In terms of diet, American bobtail cats do well on a high-quality dry and wet food diet or a raw diet. Just like other cats, the American bobtail should only be fed meat and meat-based foods.

Don’t feed your American bobtail cat with your scraps, especially if those scraps are full of carbohydrates or if they contain dairy and vegetables. Many people think their cats will thrive on milk, but adult cats shouldn’t drink milk, and kittens should only drink cat’s milk.

Also, small kittens and young bobtails need to eat more often, 3-4 times a day, while adult cats should be fed 2-3 times per day. You can offer some snacks between meals, but don’t do it too often unless you want an obese cat.


While American bobtails can keep their personal hygiene very well on their own, you will still need to brush them more often than some other cat breeds. Otherwise, their somewhat shaggy fur can quickly become tangled. This is especially true for long-haired variants, which must be brushed more often than short-haired ones. 

Regular brushing should prevent this, but if you notice knots in your cat’s fur, try to brush it gently. If this doesn’t help, you will have to cut that part off to avoid more knots.

Also, If your bobtail gets too dirty, you might want to wash it. Otherwise, it is enough to wash them every few months. The eyes and ears area can get dirty, so you need to clean them gently. Use cotton pads and warm water.  


American bobtails are moderately active. They love to play, run, jump, and climb, but they will be perfectly content just to sit and relax, especially if their favorite human is nearby. 

Bobtails like exploring the outside, and you can take them outside on supervised walks. However, they should stay indoors during the hot summer months because their thick undercoat will cause them to overheat.

If, on the other hand, you live in an area with lots of snow, let your bobtail outside every now and then. This cat enjoys cold weather, and it will have so much fun playing in the snow. 

Few toys here and there can keep your bobtail entertained for hours. Also, if you want to further entertain your bobtail, you can make them solve some simple puzzles. American bobtails are known to be great problem-solvers, so keep that in mind when planning their activities.

Most Common American Bobtail Health Issues

The American bobtail is a relatively healthy and hardy cat breed, but like all breeds, they are susceptible to certain health problems.

American bobtail health

The best way to help ensure your American Bobtail stays healthy is to take them to the vet for regular check-ups and to keep up with their vaccinations. If you have any concerns about your cat’s health, be sure to speak with your veterinarian right away. Here are some diseases to look out for:

Spinal Issues

American bobtails have naturally short spines, which can cause various spinal issues. A too short spine can become deformed, and as such, it can cause various problems, such as incontinence, partial paralysis, movement problems, and even painful infections.

Because bobtails are born with extremely short tails, and some have no tails at all, this affects their spines. Cats’ tails have evolved to provide balance to the cat, and although short tails are cute, they can cause some serious issues down the road.


This syndrome is prevalent among older cats, but it can also affect young cats. It occurs when the cat’s thyroid glands produce more thyroid hormones than needed. As a result, the cat’s metabolism becomes disrupted.

Cats affected by hyperthyroidism lose their weight despite having an increased appetite. They also suffer from diarrhea, abnormally frequent drinking and urinating, hyperactivity, vomiting, and insomnia.

Clinical studies have shown that fur length and color are linked to an increased risk of hyperthyroidism. For example, long-haired bobtails are more at risk than their short-haired cousins. Similarly, color-point American bobtails suffer from hyperthyroidism more than tabbies, calicos, or two-colored bobtails. 


Although this disorder can be quite serious and cause significant health issues, ringworm infection is treatable when noticed on time. Despite its name, there are no worms in ringworm infection. It is actually a fungal infection that affects the skin.

This infection is caused by microorganisms that feed on keratin, a protein that builds hair and skin. If ringworm infection is left untreated, in some cases, it will self-resolve over several months. However, in the worst-case scenario, it can cause scabs on the cat’s skin, making fur fall off in large patches.

Either way, you shouldn’t ignore this problem and wait for it to resolve itself. Instead, you should visit a vet and follow the prescribed treatment until your bobtail is ringworm-free. 

Hip Dysplasia

Another disease that frequently affects American bobtails, hip dysplasia, happens when the hip socket doesn’t fully cover the femoral head (upper part of the thigh bone). This, in turn, causes frequent hip dislocations.

Also, hip dysplasia is painful, and it disables the affected animal. If you notice your bobtail limping without any signs of injury, you should take it to the vet as soon as possible. Although hip dysplasia is hereditary in most cases, it can be surgically treated. 

Polycystic Kidney Disease

This is a hereditary kidney disorder that causes the formation of cysts on the kidneys. It can eventually lead to kidney failure, which can be fatal.

If you notice your cat drinking water and urinating more than usual, it might signify polycystic kidney disease. Also, if your cat has decreased appetite or if it vomits and shows signs of lethargy, you should take it to the vet as soon as possible. 

American Bobtail Cat Name Suggestions

Enough talking about negative things; let’s move to a more cheerful subject: picking the best name for your American bobtail cat! 

Nomen est omen, says an old Latin proverb, and choosing a good name is really important. The chosen name might not be an omen, but it is nice when you can find a name that fits your cat’s personality and/or appearance.

When it comes to names for the American Bobtail cat, some of my personal favorites are:

  • Pom (because of their short tails that look like pom-poms)
  • Smudge
  • Poof
  • Bobby
  • Dexter
  • Sinky
  • Grace
  • Sunflower
  • Luna
  • Minnie
  • Zoom
  • Harley

Buying or Adopting an American Bobtail?

Adopting an American bobtail is a much cheaper option than buying them from a breeder. For only $74-$150, you can adopt an American bobtail cat, while buying it will cost you between $600 and $1200. 

Still, apart from the price, there are pros and cons to both options. Adopting a bobtail could save it from roaming the streets or living in a shelter where it will be crowded with dozens and hundreds of other animals.

On the other hand, when you buy your bobtail from a reputable breeder, you can stay assured that you got yourself a healthy animal, which can’t always be said for adopted cats. An adopted cat can cost you more in the long road if you happen to adopt a cat with underlying health conditions. 

Overall, no matter which option seems better to you, don’t base your decision solely on the price difference. Money comes and goes, but keeping your pet happy and healthy is priceless!

American Bobtail Cat Alternatives

American Bobtail cats are known for their short, “bobbed” tails. But did you know that they weren’t the only cat breed with this interesting feature? That’s right, there are several other bobtail cat breeds, with some of the most popular being the Japanese Bobtail, Pixie-Bob, Cymric, and Manx cats.

There are also other breeds that have long tails but share some similar traits with American Bobtails, and they are Maine Coons, American Curls, American Shorthairs, Ragdolls, and Persians.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are American Bobtails Good With Dogs?

American bobtails are great around other pets, and they will even happily play with dogs. Since they are outgoing and friendly, bobtails are often compared to dogs, and it makes no wonder they get along so well.

Are Bobtail Cats Talkative?

Not only are they really talkative, but bobtails can produce various sounds ranging from meowing and trilling to chirping and purring. They like to communicate with their owners and will do it frequently. Soon enough, you will start to understand them in a way.

Are Bobtail Cats Born Without Tails?

Some bobtail cats are born without tails, but more often, they have short tails that are 1-4 inches long.

Are Bobtail Cats Hypoallergenic?

No, bobtail cats aren’t hypoallergenic, and they can cause relatively strong allergic reactions. They shed quite a lot, especially the long-haired specimens, and intense fur shedding triggers allergic reactions.

Are American Bobtail Cats The Same As Japanese Bobtail Cats?

No, although these two cat breeds have similar names and physical types, they aren’t the same breed, and they aren’t even related. A gene that causes bobbed tails in American bobtail cats is dominant, while the gene responsible for bobbed tails in Japanese bobtail cats is recessive.

American Bobtail Fun Facts

  • Due to their energetic, easy-going, and friendly nature, American bobtails are often nicknamed “golden retrievers of the cat world.”
  • American bobtail cats are late bloomers – they need 2-3 years to reach the adult stage and fully mature, which is unusually long for domesticated cats.
  • American bobtail cat breed is relatively new, and it has been officially recognized by several cat organizations, mainly in the USA, but some countries and their respective cat organizations haven’t recognized American bobtails as a separate breed yet. 


If you want a cat that will look cute and wild at the same time, you should consider getting an American bobtail cat. These cats are still relatively uncommon, but they are gaining more popularity each year. 

It makes no wonder, as these cats are sociable, kind, friendly, and affectionate, and they are even great travel companions! They are great with kids and other pets, including dogs! There are many negative stereotypes about cats, and American bobtails are breaking them all!