American Shorthair cat (English American Shorthair cat) or Kurzhaar, a breed that is considered a symbol of the United States, along with baseball and apple pie.
Shorthair cats have been living in America for more than 400 years, they arrived with the first settlers.
They were used as rat-catchers to reduce the rodent colonies that accompanied the ship at that time. This cat has a muscular body and strong legs designed for hunting. In content they are uncomplicated, inexpensive, friendly and unpretentious.
Obviously, the American cat breed came to the United States from Europe, as there are no species in North or South America from which they could be derived. American Kurzhaar hails from Europe, but in America they live more than 400 years.
Who knows, maybe for the first time these cats landed along with Christopher Columbus? But, they certainly were in Jamestown, the first British settlement in the New World, and we know this from records from magazines dating from 1609.
Then it was a rule to take cats on board the ship. It is believed that she arrived in America on the Mayflower ship, which carried pilgrims to establish the colony.
The function on this journey was purely practical, trapping rats and mice that destroyed food supplies on ships.
Over time, she was crossed with other cat breeds: Persian, British Shorthair, Burmese and acquired the form by which we know her today.
No matter where they sailed from and when, but cats became full members of society, serving him as protectors of barns, houses and fields from hordes of rodents that also sailed on ships.
From this point of view, functionality was more important than beauty, and the first colonists paid little attention to the colors, body shape, and colors of American shorthair cats.
And, although natural selection is harsh both for people and for cats, they managed to adapt and develop strong muscles, jaws, and a quick reaction. But, the popularity came to the breed from the middle of 1960, when she began to participate in exhibitions and win prizes.
At the beginning of the century, these cats were secretly crossed with Persian cats, to improve the exterior and give a silver color.
As a result, they changed and acquired the features characteristic of Persian cats. Since the Persians were very successful, such hybrids became popular.
But, as time went on and new breeds replaced the American Shorthair. Kennels were interested in cats such as Persian, Siamese, Angora and forgot about the kurtshaars, who served them faithfully for years.
A group of enthusiasts who loved the classic look of American Shorthair started a breed conservation program, although they left a silver color as it became popular.
At first, things went tight, as they did not receive any support from other breeders. In those days, they could not win in the show rings against the new breeds, they could not even be represented in them, since no standard existed.
And this went on until 1940, when slowly and with a creak, but the breed's popularity began to grow.
In September 1965, breeders voted to rename the breed. Today they call it an American Shorthair cat, or a kurtshaar (do not confuse it with a breed of dogs), previously they called it - a domestic shorthair.
But, the nurseries were afraid that under this name she would not find demand in the market, and renamed the breed.
Today they are officially recognized, occupy the most popular in the United States, fourth place among all cat breeds.
Real toilers, hardened by years of hard life, American smooth-haired cats are muscular, of dense build. Large or medium size.
Mature cats weigh from 5 to 7.5 kg, cats from 3.5 to 5 kg. They grow slowly, and grow to the third or fourth year of life.
Life expectancy is 15-20 years.
The head is small, round, with wide-set eyes. The head itself is large, with a wide muzzle, strong jaws capable of holding prey.
The medium-sized ears are slightly rounded at the tip and are wide enough on the head. The eyes are large, the corner of the outside of the eye is slightly higher than the inside. Eye color depends on color and color.
Paws of medium length, with powerful muscles, end with a dense, rounded pad. The tail is thick, of medium length, wider at the base and tapering at the end; the tip of the tail is blunt.
The coat is short, dense, and hard to the touch. It can change its texture depending on the season; in winter it becomes denser.
But, in any weather, it is dense enough to protect the cat from cold, insects and injuries.
More than 80 different colors and colors are recognized for the American Shorthair cat. From tabby with brown spots to blue-eyed cats with white hair or smoky. Some may even be black or dark gray. The coloring of the tabby can be considered classical; it is the most popular at exhibitions. Only cats with clearly visible signs of hybridization are not allowed in the competition, as a result of which the signs of other breeds prevail. For example, colors: chocolate, lilac, faun, sable.
Any sign of a hybrid breed, including: long fur, plume on the tail and neck, bulging eyes and eyebrows, tail with creases or point color - this is a reason for disqualification.
The expression “all in moderation” comes to mind when you need to describe the character of the American Shorthair cat. This is not a couch potato, but not a fluffy bouncing ball.
It will suit you if you need a cat that is happy to lie on your lap, and not on your head, and will not go crazy while you are at work.
Like the colonists who brought it, the Kurzhaar loves independence. They prefer to walk on their feet and do not like to pick up, if this is not their idea. Otherwise, they are smart, affectionate, loving people.
They love to play, and remain playful and old. And the hunting instincts are still with them, do not forget. For lack of rats and mice, they catch flies and other insects, realizing them in this way. They also like to look at birds and other activities outside the window.
If you let out, then get ready for gifts in the form of mice and birds, which she will bring. Well, in the apartment, keep a parrot away from her. They also love high places, such as the upper shelves or the tops of trees for cats, but they can be weaned out of climbing furniture.
American Shorthair will adapt to any situation, and to another animal. Kurzhaars are calm in nature, good-natured cats, popular among families, as they are patient with leprosy of children. These are smart and curious cats that are interested in everything that happens around.
They like a company of people, but they are independent, many of them are tame, but some prefer to be around. It is better to avoid constant attention, but to leave the cat to itself.
If you need a calm and quiet cat when you come home from a hard day, this breed is for you. Unlike other breeds, it rarely requires something, unless you forget to feed. And even then she does it with the help of a melodic, quiet voice, and not a nasty siren.
Maintenance and care
These cats do not require special care. Like the British Shorthair, they are prone to overeating and gaining excess weight, so you should not overfeed them.
To avoid these problems, do not give too much and play with the cat so that it maintains a high level of physical activity.
By the way, these are born hunters, and if you have the opportunity, let the American Shorthair into the yard, let them realize their instincts.
Caring for them is simple. Since the coat is short, it is enough to comb out once a week and regularly clean the ears, trim the claws. Not a superfluous clawfish, to which a cat needs to be trained.
Choosing a kitten
Buying a kitten without documents, you pretty much risk it. In addition, in the nursery, kittens are vaccinated, accustomed to the toilet, checked for illness.
Want to buy an American Shorthair kitten? Remember that these are purebred cats and they are more whimsical than ordinary cats.
If you do not want to buy an American shorthair cat and then go to veterinarians, then contact experienced breeders and good nurseries.
Because of their stamina and unpretentiousness, American Shorthair live up to 15 years or more. Some of them suffer from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a progressive heart disease that leads to death.
Symptoms are so blurred that sometimes a cat dies suddenly and for no apparent reason. Since this is one of the most common feline diseases, in the US there are laboratories that detect a tendency to HCMP at the genetic level.
In our countries, such achievements are not yet possible. This disease cannot be cured, but treatment can slow it down.
Another disease, although not fatal, but painful and worsening the life of a cat - hip dysplasia.
With a mild course of the disease, its symptoms are almost invisible, but in severe cases, it leads to severe pain, stiffness of the limb, arthritis.
These diseases, although found in American Shorthair, are much less common than in other breeds.
Remember, these are not just cats, they are the discoverers and pilgrims who conquered America and exterminated the army of rodents.