Apartment, Home or Rural
Affectionate, Active, Quiet
Family with Children
Standard Solid, Standard, Shaded
The American Shorthair, a large cat with a muscular cobby body, medium legs and tail, and a round head with a square muzzle and blunt ears, has a short, thick, and smooth coat with a heavy undercoat. The basic cat in the U.S., it is playful, inquisitive and an excellent hunter, adapting well to almost any environment. A composite of those cats brought on the Mayflower and by other early British and French settlers in New England and eastern Canada, the American short-hair has evolved into a hardy breed ideally suited to the New World. Slightly more lithe than its European cousins, the American short-hair is perfectly adapted to the slightly faster rodents found in the American countryside.
A British Shorthair named Belle (though it was a tom) was imported into the U.S. in 1901 and, through cross-breeding with native American stock, formed the basis for the American Shorthair as a show breed. The first true American Shorthair show cat was Buster Brown, bred in 1904. Originally called simply Shorthairs by contrast with the then only other American breed, the Maine Coon, they were later called Domestic Shorthairs, a name that still clings to the unregistered Heinz~ variety. With its extraordinarily keen hunting instincts, its neat and tidy ways, and its ready adaptability to new environments, this is the quintessential work cat. Many American (or Domestic) Shorthairs may be found earning their keep in all walks of life across the country.
Besides the obvious farm cat and ship’s cat, working cats are to be found in such diverse places as firehouses, police stations, hardware stores, and libraries: anywhere the mouse or rat might decide to make his home. Such working cats are not really cats in the sense of this book, but are beloved and contributing members of their firms. With its short-but-thick coat, the American Shorthair can cope with all but the most extreme of weather, and is often found happily roaming outside in conditions that would frighten a brass monkey. Being a naturally peaceful and loving breed, tolerant of abuse at the hands of small children, it makes the ideal all-around cat.