He might look like a wild cat, but inside he's an affectionate, short-tailed lovebug. The American bobtail cat, a fairly new breed, combines the gaze of a great hunter with the attitude of the class clown. Very adaptable, he's a handsome and welcome addition to your home.
Although legend has it that the American bobtail is a cross between a domestic cat and bobcat, that's just an old cat's tale. The breed first developed in the 1960s from mating a Siamese female and male tabby with a short tail. Those offspring produced kittens with bobtails, approximately half the size of a normal tail. The mutation continued, with regular outcrosses to Siamese-type cats. The International Cat Association recognized the bobtail as a naturally occurring breed of cat in 1989.
Although bobtails come in any color, the preferred look imitates the wild feline. The adult bobtail appears muscular, heavy and substantial, weighing up to 16 pounds. Males are larger than females. The fur is either short or long. That bobbed tail can't drop below the cat's hock in length, but must be at least 1 inch long. The tail might be straight or bumpy. He often carries his little stump straight up when walking.
Smart and playful, bobtails make great companions. If you'd like to have a dog but your lifestyle doesn't allow it, a bobtail makes a fine canine substitute. He can even be leash-trained. Bobtails like playing games, including fetch. They enjoy spending time with their people. They generally get along well with dogs, other cats and well-behaved children. He's a moderately active and relatively quiet kitty. Because of his good nature and innate sensitivity, he makes a suitable therapy cat.
Bobtails mature slowly, not reaching their full growth until age 2 or 3. While generally healthy, some bobtail kittens are born without tails, much like Manx cats. These cats, known as rumpies, might suffer from spinal bifida, resulting in an inability to control their bladder and bowels. The mutation resulting in Manx cats also produces a fair number of kittens with spinal issues. Because of the difficulty of caring for these animals, breeders generally euthanize them.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.