Creatures of the Night
American Bobtail Information
What creature fits that description more than a cat?
Especially an American Bobtail cat. With those glowing
eyes, the tufts of fur on the ears and sides of the head, they
present the picture of a regal wild cat.
Welcome to that night-time world of the American Bobtail.
This very special breed of cat is unique to Catdom. It has
been developed, through selective breeding, to look like a
wild Bobcat or Lynx. There is no wild blood in the American
Bobtail, and no other breed was used in it's developement.
This breed was started in the '60's, when a young couple,
visiting an American Indian reservation, found a male, brown
spotted, bobtail kitten. They decided to adopt the little fellow,
and took him home with them. When he grew up, and mated
with the couple's color point female, the American Bobtail
was born. Since then, with the efforts of many conscientious
breeders, the American Bobtail has developed into quite an
Since the breed was developed using feral cats, that had to
be hardy to survive on their own, that hardiness continues in
the breed today. They are a medium to large size cat, with
females weighing 10 to 12 lbs, and males weighing 12 to 20
lbs or more.
The American Bobtail's tail length varies with each kitten. No
two are exactly alike. To be show quality, the tail has to be at
least one inch in length, and clearly visible over the back,
when the cat is alert, and not come below the hock in length.
The bobtail gene is a dominant gene. With a dominant gene,
only one parent needs to have the trait, in order to pass it
down to off-spring. The gene for a long tail, (the domestic
cat's common tail length), is recessive. With a recessive
gene, a kitten has to inherit the gene from both parents, in
order to be born with that trait. In other words, a long tail cat
cannot carry the gene for a bobtail. This is why long tail cats
breed true, and are common, and the bobtail is rare. On the
other hand, all American Bobtails who possess a natural
bobtail, also carry the gene for a long tail. When you breed
two bobtail cats, a few kittens will inherit a long tail gene from
both parents. Those kittens will have a long tail. On the
average, the percentage of bobtails will be as follows:
Two bobtail parents: 3 kittens out of 4 will be bobtailed.
One bobtail parent, one long tail ( or docked) parent: 2 out of
4 will be bobtailed.
These are just averages. We have had a bobtail and a dock
produce 5 kittens, all with bobtails. Then, her next litter, she
had five again, and this time, only one was born with a bobtail.
Almost all American Bobtail breeders dock the tails of long
We hope those who read this will have a better understanding
of how the bobtail gene works.
The American Bobtail comes in two coat lengths.
There is a longhair, which is more of a medium length coat,
which is very thick, resilient, soft to the touch, and
non-matting. A good brushing once a week will keep his coat
There is also a shorthair; which is not a slick, hard coat.
The American Bobtails short coat is thick and plush, soft to
the touch, with loft. You can even run your fingers through
The shorthair is not as popular as the longhair, so there are
not as many of them being bred. However, I love the texture
and easy care of the shorthair. They are also a great looking
Personality and Temperament
Personality, temperament and disposition is what people
really love about this breed. I have had more than one
person tell me, after purchasing a kitten, "I have never had a
cat like this before", when coming back to purchase another
kitten from us. They cite, as reasons for coming back for
another one; Their intelligence, their trainability, the way
they fit in with the family, even small children. They adapt
well to dogs, even running with them, just like one of the
gang. Quite a few people have told me about teaching their
kitten to fetch a ball, and walk on a leash. Some people
describe them as "dog-like", the way they like to follow you
around the house, and investigate every thing your doing.
They are just a great companion and pet.
If you are looking for a different, unique cat to share your
home and life with, an American Bobtail just may be the
friend you are looking for.
Deborah Desmond, owner
Ozbobz American Bobtails