If you're looking for a hardy cat that's not too big, not too little, but just right, the American shorthair fills the bill. Don't confuse him with a domestic shorthair, the generic term for the average cat. The American shorthair is purebred, with an ancestry going back to the Mayflower.
It's true - the descendants of today's American shorthair probably did come over on the Mayflower, where they were in charge of rodent control services for the ship. Once upon a time there were referred to as the domestic shorthair, but that changed in 1966 when the name was officially changed in the Cat Fanciers Association. The progenitors of the American shorthair worked for a living on farms and in factories, shops and homes. As exotic and longhaired felines were imported to the New World and bred with native cats, 19th century cat fanciers concerned about the gene pool of the classic, medium-sized American shorthair began preserving the bloodlines.
Male American shorthairs top out at about 12 pounds, with females slightly lighter. Even though these cats aren't exceptionally heavy, they are big-boned, solid-looking felines. American shorthairs should resemble the working cats they were and still are. They aren't delicate, exotic little cats, but the kind that helped keep America's homes and workplaces rodent-free for centuries. Ideally, American shorthairs are well-muscled, with powerful limbs. The robust appearance is no facade -- many of these cats live into their late teens.
Although the classic American shorthair sports a silver tabby coat, according to the Cat Fanciers Association, the breed is recognized in over 80 colors. That's not a typo - 80, not 8. There's no question you'll find a color you'll like. While most American shorthairs have green or yellow eyes, blue-eyed varieties also exist. His coat is fairly thick, so he requires regular brushing. Just think - there's a beautifully muscled, well put together cat or kitten out there in your favorite color who'll make an excellent companion. Even if you choose the classic silver tabby, that's a beautiful combination of black against silver, with the tabby markings accentuating the American shorthair's round-sized head.
Along with a "just right" size, the American shorthair's also got a "just right" temperament. He's not too active or too lazy, not too shy or over-friendly. He knows the art of good feline companionship. He's not demanding or "in-your-face." American Shorthairs usually get along well with kids, dogs and other cats.
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