Everything You Need to Know About the American Bobtail Cat

Posted by Mateja Lane

WATCH NOW: American Bobtail Cats Have Nubby Tails!

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American Bobtail cats are a relatively new breed.

Becoming popular in the 1960s, the American Bobtail cat is a domestic cat most known for its nubby tail that makes it look like its a wild bobcat! They make great companions and are active cats in the sense that they love playing games with their owners. American Bobtails are easy-going and are as devoted as they are social.

These cats were bred to look like a domestic version of the wild bobcat, and were developed by breeding cats with genetically short tails. American Bobtails are relatively big cats and can be many different colors and patterns, according to the Cat Fanciers' Association.

The American Bobtail can be shorthaired or longhaired and don't need much extra grooming besides an occasional bath and brushing. They live between 11 and 15 years.

Did you know?

According to VetStreet.com,

  • The American Bobtail has a very short tail, which is the result of a natural mutation.
  • This breed came into being in the 1960s when a Siamese cat was crossed with short-tailed male tabby.
  • The health problems you need to watch is due to their bobbed tail.

"The American Bobtail is generally healthy, but tail-less American Bobtails can have spinal problems that affect their ability to control defecation. It is always wise to buy from a breeder who provides a written health guarantee."

This dog-like cat has a lot of fans! The bobtail is very sensitive to human emotions so it's often a therapy cat. Another fun fact is that a lot of truck drivers bring these cats on their long-distance adventures.

The Manx cat is another "tail-less" breed but doesn't have a tail at all!

Ever wonder the difference between an American Bobtail and the Japanese Bobtail?

The American Bobtail has a stubby tail that is longer than his Japanese counterpart, averaging 1 to 4 inches. The Japanese Bobtail resembles a tufted pompom and is no longer than 3 inches, and usually shorter. How cute!

To find bobtail breeders and more information about breeding programs, visit The International Cat Association.

Hover over the image for more information. 


The American Bobtail has alert and inquisitive eyes that can be of any color, but not different colors. The ears are tufted, like its wilder bobcat counterpart. The fur on the head can be either short or long, depending on the coat.


American Bobtails are friendly and outgoing. They are kind of like dogs in the sense that they love spending time with their owners playing games like hide and go seek. They are curious, like most cats, and have amiable dispositions.


The Bobtail coat can be shorthaired or longhaired, and really any color or pattern. The gray tabby coloration that looks most like a wild bobcat is most preferred by Bobtail breeders. The coat needs to be brushed, but not any more than usual grooming, and actually is double-layered.


The Bobtail is a solid, muscular cat that can weigh up to 13 pounds. The chest is broad and the body is considered long for a cat. They are athletic cats and love to play games that practice their natural predatory instincts, like fetch.


The American Bobtail's most prominent feature is its short tail. Each tail on a Bobtail is different in the sense that it can be kinked, be straight or curly, or slightly curved. The Bobtail tail is extremely expressive and you can tell whether the cat is agitated or alert by the position of its tail.


The Bobtail takes two to three years to come into full maturity. Looking for a reputable breeder is important due to the selective process that makes the Bobcat into the breed it is. They have no genetic health issues but vaccinations, neutering or spaying, and correct socialization is still important to have a happy and healthy feline.

Do you have an American Bobtail cat? Show us in the comments below!

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Everything You Need to Know About the American Bobtail Cat