America has been the birthplace of many an amazing cat breed. These cat breeds are usually great for first-time cat owners. No need to look too far away from home the first time, because American cat breeds have got you covered!
Upon our extensive research on each of these breeds, we found out that each has a unique story of origin, breeding, and development. Even if you rely more on physical traits, each breed still has a lot to offer. It is such qualities that make each breed stand out uniquely, which in turn offers you a wide variety of traits to choose from.
We’ve collected all relevant information on every American cat breed. There are six popular American cat breeds in total. Have your pick below.
Here is a cat who thrives on human interaction—one who enjoys playing games and can give their full attention to interactive toys and games.
The breed is known to play ‘Alpha’ in a multi-pet household. This means they will have the best spot while eating, fight to be the only one on your lap, and hog the warmest spots or the best view near the window.
The cat is smart and will converse with their owner in a cool manner. With proper training and resilience, you can teach them to walk on a leash and do tricks.
The Bombay cat originated from Kentucky in the late 1950s. The breed development is credited to Nikki Horner of Louisville. Her aim was to have a black, sleek, and shiny panther-looking cat. This she achieved by crossing Burmese cats with American Shorthairs. The resulting breed was a muscular cat with a friendly personality and the looks of a miniature panther.
Similar cats were also achieved by British breeders who used Burmese cats and black domestic shorthairs. The current Bombay cats came to be recognized in 1978 first by the Cat Fanciers Association, and later by all other cat associations.
A full-grown Bombay cat weighs between 6 and 11 pounds. They have a characteristic black coat but with the profile of a Burmese cat. They are, however, more heavily built with muscular limbs, a rounded head with eyes set far apart, and short shiny coats that have the feel of glossy leather.
It takes the breed about two years to grow to adult-weigh, which makes them one of slowest developing cats. That said, they do reach sexual maturity at quite an early age of about five months; they should, therefore, be neutered or spayed at around the same time to control their reproduction.
Their coat care is basic with a weekly brushing being sufficient. They can do with a bath when their coat gets dirty or loses its luster; this helps in spreading their body oils and maintaining their sleek look.
The breed is susceptible to diseases that plague their parent breed such as craniofacial defects, which is also seen in Burmese cats. The condition results in deformity of the head or facial features. You should, therefore, get your cat from reputable breeders and ensure timely visits to the vet thereafter. With proper care, the cat can live up to 16 years.
#2: American Curl
As the name suggests, the American Curl breed stands out due to its curled features, specifically the ears. Apart from this, the breed has striking facial expressions that make them sweet furbabies.
The breed comes in a silky coat that can be of any color including chocolate tortoiseshell, silver patched, and lilac points. Their coat can either be long or short with the longhairs having a beautiful plumed tail.
Kittens are born with straight ears which start to curl 2 to 10 days after birth. The curling and uncurling continue until after four months of age when they take their permanent shape. The ears can still be straightened when the cat is alert; this is, however, to a small degree with the tips still pointing towards the skull.
The breed can be traced back to Shulamith, a stray kitten with silky black hair and curled ears that pointed backward. She became the pet of Joe and Grace Ruga, a couple who lived in Lakewood, California. Her name was borrowed from the Christian Bible’s book ‘Songs of Solomon.’ She is named after a princess described as being ‘black and comely.’
Her first litter after being rescued had two kittens with curled ears. After it was established that the curl gene was a dominant one, cat fanciers started selectively breeding these new felines in 1983, making American curls to be among the newest cat breeds. The breed was recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 1986. The International Cat Association (TICA) followed suit in 1987.
American Curl was the first breed with two coat lengths to be fully recognized by the CFA. They also took a very short time, six years, to be developed from strays to pedigrees.
The breed is known for being quite active with both kittens and adults, having lots of energy. They love to leap from one place to another, a trait that has seen them being christened ‘Peter Pan.’
They can be quite a handful around the house. This mostly stems from the intelligence that allows them to learn tricks at a fast rate. They can learn to open doorknobs and loose cabinets, walk on a leash, and play fetch.
They enjoy the company of older kids who can keep them engaged with puzzle games. If yours is a multi-pet home, they will fit in and won’t hog all the attention since they can be good company to themselves with a few toys.
American Curls are shedders, so they need better care to keep the shedding under control. Weekly combing will do especially for the shorthairs that have thick undercoats that are known to mat and knot. Baths are not particularly necessary with the breed unless the cat becomes too dirty.
The breed is generally healthy, but their ear canals are narrow, which can lead to wax build-up and infections. For this, clean them using a moist cloth and take care not to get water into the inner ear.
#3: American Bobtail
The American Bobtail has a muscular and powerful body with tufted ears and paws that give them a truly wild look. Don’t let the wild ‘bobtail’ look fool you, though. These cats are cool domestic pets.
The most distinctive feature of the breed is their short tail, with a length that mostly varies between 1 and 4 inches.
The breed has both long and short-haired coats. The shorthairs have a shaggy double coat with the outer hairs being coarse and the undercoat being soft. Shorthairs with soft colors like silver may have a softer coat. Longhairs have a rougher appearance with britches and ruffs on the neck, belly, and tail.
Bobtails came about as a result of a genetic mutation and can be found in most places around the world. The American Bobtail originated from Arizona whereby a couple, John and Brenda Sanders, acquired a short-tailed kitten.
The Iowan couple was on a vacation, and once they were back home, the new cat whom they named Yodi impregnated Mishi, their other cat. From there, the breed took root with a short-tail being the driving factor. The breed was consistently developed by crossing the resulting litters with non-pedigree native shorthairs and longhairs.
The breed has a dog-like personality. This is evident from their devotion to their owners and the general preference of human company. They thrive on being involved in your activities all day long. With training, they can walk on a leash.
American Bobtails also stand out due to their high adaptability. This allows them to fit in households as well as camping and other outdoor activities like driving. The breed is also a favorite of researchers owing to its high intelligence and instinctive nature.
The breed is healthy and is not predisposed to diseases. These cats need to be brushed at least once a week especially during fall and spring when they shed a lot. They rarely need baths, but with training they will gladly take one once in a while. With proper care, they can grow to 13 pounds and live to around 11 to 15 years.
#4: American Wirehair
The American Wirehair breed is one that stands out due to its multi-colored coats that are just a marvel to look at. Their coat is short, spring, and coarse, hence the name ‘Wirehair.’ The coat can also be spiky throughout the body, including the whiskers and the fur around the ears. Generally, running your fingers through a Wirehair’s coat feels like petting a sheep.
The wiry coat is the result of a random mutation. The mutation is, however, due to an incomplete gene; hence, even breeding two kitties with wiry hair may not result in cats with the same coat. The breed standard calls for short, dense coats, but long coats can also occur. However, this variety won’t be acceptable in cat shows.
The breed comes in different colors and patterns including tabby and bicolor. Their ears are medium-sized, slightly tilted and rounded on the tips. The breed is medium sized with a muscular body and strong legs. Their tail is tapered into a rounded tip.
American Wirehairs came about as the result of a natural mutation which has only been found to occur in the United States. The current breed originated from upstate New York where it was first spotted in 1966.
The litter with the wiry coat came from a domestic shorthair cat. Joan O’Shea, a local breeder, was taken in by the springy coat so much that he bought the kitten from the owner for $50.
He named the kitty Council Rock Adam of Hi-Fi and started breeding him with American Shorthairs. The CFA recognized these cats as individual breeds in 1978. However other association such as TICA considers them as belonging to the American Shorthair breed.
Their personality is similar to that of American Shorthairs, which is good-natured, playful, and adaptable. They love human company, and their facial expressions have seen them being described as a bit ‘clownish.’ They are not very vocal and will follow their owner around without making any sound.
The breed is smart, which makes them teachable; they can learn tricks, play puzzle games, and engage with interactive toys. They are good with strangers, and with a little nudging, they will be in your guest’s lap trading purrs for petting.
American Wirehairs are known to be healthy and are not prone to many diseases. Like all cats, however, they need proper care and grooming to keep pest and parasite infestation away. Keeping them indoors will protect them from disease-carrying strays; this will also prevent them from getting into fights with dogs and other larger animals in the outdoors.
The breed does well in homes with children who know how to respect cats. These furry friends also make good company to other cats, especially if they are introduced at an early age.
#5: American Shorthair
The American Shorthairs are known for their hunting abilities which are innate traits they have retained to date. These abilities are enhanced by strong and muscular bodies made for long hours of stalking and capturing prey. The breed comes with strong legs that allow them to pounce, climb fast, and even waylay rodents with ease.
The breed is a medium to large-sized feline with a long and agile body. They have full cheeks and wide eyes that give them an awed and open expression. Their ears are large or medium-sized and rounded at the tips.
These furbabies come in a variety of colors and patterns including solid, tabby, bicolor, and tortoiseshell. These colors manifest in a beautiful short coat. Among the many coats, the most popular one is the silver tabby.
American Shorthairs are said to have arrived in America aboard the ships that brought the early settlers. This places their origin in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in the early 17th century. They may also have arrived in Jamestown with Spanish settlers or via Viking ships that docked in Newfoundland.
Among the many skills that endeared them to these founding families was their mousing skill. The breed has been credited with saving crop colonies from destruction by rats and other rodents. These hard-working cats were also favored by shopkeepers since they could keep vermin from getting into food stores.
These lovely pets were among the first to get recognition as a major breed, and they were in an exhibition during the first New York cat show in 1895. CFA recognized the breed in 1906 with other organization following in the same path later. The name ‘American Shorthair’ was coined in 1966 to differentiate the breed from domestic shorthairs.
The breed is cool-natured and fun to be around. They are not attention seekers but will do with a little petting one in a while. In a multi-pet house, you will find them being active and joining in play. But they are still cats, so don’t be surprised to find them spending their day sleeping.
When it comes to health, the breed has been found to be mildly susceptible to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is a heart disease; to this end, you should have a vet give the green light before you acquire one of these furry friends.
#6: California Spangled
The California Spangled is a fairly new breed that has made its way into the list of most expensive cats. The breed was developed in 1980 with the aim of producing cats that resembled wild felines like ocelots and leopards.
The breed truly resembles miniature leopards, complete with spotted coats. They have powerful cylindrical bodies that are built for fast movement. They move like wildcats who are on the hunt. Their wild look is further enhanced by triangular faces with piercing eyes and alert ears.
The breed development is credited to Paul Casey, a screenwriter, and scientist from Los Angeles. He was inspired to create the breed after spending time in Africa during the Olduvai archeological digs.
The idea stemmed from the realization that most big cats were facing extinction—this was partly due to people being either too afraid of the cats or having no real connection to them. By having a wild looking domestic cat, people could at least learn to care and in return protect the big cats.
To start with, Casey crossed a female Traditional Siamese with a Spotted Angora. The resulting kitten among others in the litter was a silver-colored male who had block shaped spots. This was still not quite the desired look which called for more experimentation.
British Shorthairs, Manx cats, Abyssinians, and American Shorthairs were added into the breeding program. These brought about the spotted look with the wild look coming from Malay and Egyptian street cats.
The breed standard was achieved in 1985 and received recognition from a small group of cat lovers. The Spangle’s coat comes in a variety of colors including gold, blue, bronze, charcoal, brown red, black, silver, and white.
The California Spangled Cat Association (CSCA) was created in honor of these cats, with the aim of continuing their breeding and the protection of wildcats. The breed has made headways in terms of recognition and is now being considered for Champion status by TICA and the American Cat Association (ACA).
The California Spangled is an intelligent and smart breed. They are known to be crafty in ensuring that they have their way around the house. The breed will return love with affection and loyalty to their owner.
The breed can be kept active with hunting games or moving-object games like laser pointers. These cats are good jumpers and can leap to high places and perch out of your reach.
The breed is not susceptible to particular diseases but still needs to be well taken care of. Keeping them from pests is easy with regular combing of their coats. Baths are not particularly necessary but will come in handy when they have gotten themselves dirty—especially when they are allowed outdoors.
American cat breeds are a group of cat breeds that share a common American origin. The breeds come packaged with different qualities which are as unique as they come. Whether you are drawn to the interesting journeys from their origin to the present, the diverse temperaments, or the varied physical characteristics, you are spoilt for choice with the above breeds.
Of utmost importance is to learn what your cat needs to thrive and live a fulfilled life; make plans towards accommodating that and voila! You are set with a furry companion for life. Remember to only get your cat from reputable breeders, and if you choose to adopt one from a shelter, have them thoroughly checked by a vet.
What is your inspiration towards American cat breeds? Have you made your pick from our list? Do you know of any other American cat breeds that are not on our list? Let us know all about it by leaving your comments below. We’d also like to suggest our article on country cat names to you, so you know where to start picking a name after adopting an all-American cat!