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What is an American Bobtail?

By Jacob Queen
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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The American bobtail is a rare cat breed with an appearance that is similar to a bobcat. They have a very short, stubby tail and a wide-bodied physique. Breeders aren’t fussy about their coloring, and they allow for short- and long-haired versions of the cats. In terms of size, the American bobtail can go over 15 pounds (6.8 kg). These cats are rare, and there are waiting lists of people hoping for the chance to own one.

The breed was developed in the 1960s, and the original cat used to create the breed was a stray cat with a mysterious origin named Yodie. He had many characteristics that were similar to a bobcat, and his owners at the time assumed that he had a bobcat ancestor. Over the years, experts have varied on their opinion regarding Yodie's background, but most don’t think the cat was actually half bobcat. Usually, the offspring of domestics and bobcats can’t reproduce. Whatever Yodie's origin was, when he was bred with other cats, his bobtail gene was passed on to his offspring, which made it possible to create the breed.

Once the breed was developed, breeders had a hard time meeting the physical standards, which were quite strict in terms of color and other things. Breeders were trying to make exact copies of the cats that fit the requirements, which meant breeding a lot of similar cats together. Eventually, this led to inbreeding and a thinned-out gene pool. Several years later, the standards were relaxed as a way to save the breed, and breeders started going for classic bobcat-style looks while ignoring a lot of the less important specific physical requirements. Many other breeds have been used over the years in the creation of the American bobtail, including the manx and the Persian.

The American bobtail is meant to be a fun and intelligent cat. Some people have described their behavior as dog-like because they can show a lot of devotion to their owners, and they form a closer bond with people than some other cat breeds. Breeders say that an ideal American bobtail shouldn’t be overly needy or overly hyperactive, but they also shouldn’t be too lazy or withdrawn. Sometimes a particular cat may not meet these standards exactly, but this is what breeders are looking for when refining the breed.

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