All About The Domestic Short-Haired Cat

domestic short-hair cat

The Domestic Short-Haired Cat, or decidedly, in Britain, termed the British Shorthair, and commonly nicknamed the “alley” cat or “tomcat”, comes in a variety of sizes and colorings, yet each share the same characteristics of sturdy stature and round-shaped head. This breed of cat is a mixed breed. Contrary to the belief concerning pedigree standards, this breed benefits the domestic short-haired cat by declining the susceptibility to health concerns and hereditary disorders common in specific breeds of cats.

It’s unfortunately common to find this loveable breed in animal shelters due to overpopulation. The domestic short-haired cat is widely accepted as a loving and healthy breed of cat with an added plus of a long life span if raised indoors!

domestic shorthair cat

Catch Them Outside

Fun fact for all the cat lovers, or fun fact lovers, out there! The domestic short-haired cat found passage to the United States aboard the Mayflower from Europe due to the breed’s well-known and readily revered hunting ability. Thanks to these skillful hunters, the rodent population aboard the ships was minimized or wiped out and, thus, given a free trip to the United States of America where the breed would eventually overpopulate.

To this day, the domestic short-haired cat is often kept as barn cats due to their magnanimous hunting skills. Like they did on the historical Mayflower ship, these skillful cats are keeping rodent and bug populations down!

Name Change

Initially, and to some still, known as the “Domestic Short-Haired Cat”, this breed received a name change in 1966 and is now referred to as the “American Short Hair”. This was due to confusion between other short-haired breeds of cats.

The name change was also meant to pay respects and homage to the breed for the efforts done to prevent rodent food infestation. The first cats to step paws down onto American soil have been, therefore, greatly respected in their heritage and history.

This has since been changed as the two breeds of cats are, in fact, different. Believed to be the same, the American Short Hair is a crossbreed of long-haired and short-haired cats native to the United States. The Domestic Short Haired Cat, contrastingly, is believed to originate from a range of breeds of cat from Scotland and then, later on, from Europe to the United States aboard the Mayflower.

What A Personality

Just like their differing coloring and patterns, Domestic Short-Haired Cats can have a temperament that changes with each feline. This breed is well-known for being friendly in its companionships, most likely due to the many years at the sides of humans. Though this may be the case, each Domestic Short-Haired Cat owns its own personality or temperament.

One may welcome strangers with the purring vibrations well-loved as a sign of affection or happiness. Another may scurry under the bed and refuse to come out unless the newcomers leave their humble abode. Like their ancestral relationship with their human companions, Domestic Short-Haired Cats have fluctuating temperaments depending on the specific cat, though, all-around, these loving creatures are reliable and affectionate with the ones they deem safe and worthy of their attention.

Natural Athletes

We already know how skilled the Domestic Short-Haired Cat is at hunting, but what about its other innate, instinctual abilities?

The Domestic Short-Haired Cat, as is confirmed by their normally larger and muscular stature, aren’t the most agile cat breed out there–contrary to the proof of such when hired aboard the Mayflower for their rodent-catching prowess.

Exercise Time

As Domestic Short-Haired Cats are natural athletes and prime hunters, it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to state that this breed enjoys being active. Proper physical activity and exercise time for the Domestic Short-Haired Cat is necessary for a happy and healthy kitty.

Give your Domestic Short-Haired Cat time to explore, inside or outside—–in a safe environment, of course!—-or set time aside for playtime to encourage your cat to engage in physical activity. Each cat has its unique personality, so the activity can be personalized depending on the kitty in question, but, either way, promoting exercise time for your Domestic Short-Haired Cat is recommended to stimulate their brain and encourage a happy, healthy cat.

domestic short-hair cat

Note The Looks

Though differing in coloring, patterns, and size, each domestic short-haired cat boasts a large and musculature stature with large ears at the highest point of its head. You may note that they have rounded paws to match an oval-shaped, very pettable, head.

Compared to the American Short-Haired Cat, the Domestic Short-Haired Cat has a plume-shaped tail. This means to illustrate the usually long and fluffy fur at the tip of the tail and its rounded tip. The Domestic Short-Haired Cat presents a lush and fluffy coat—perfect for endless pets.

One Tabby, One Calico…

A litter of Domestic Short-Haired Kittens doesn’t retain the same features as the parents. In fact, a litter of Domestic Short-Haired Cats will have, almost, entirely different features and personalities more often than not.

This means for a fun surprise as the litter could end up having two tabbies, one calico, and one or two tuxedo cats! You just never know what you’re gonna get.

A Common Cat

The Domestic Short-Haired Cat is so common that the breed makes up around 90%, in terms of breed type, in the United States. Not that surprising when you consider that they came to the United States by ship!

Short Hair Cat Breeds

There are quite a few breeds of cat referred to under the term “Short Hair Cat”. It can be quite extensive, but we’ve shortened it to the list below that’s recognized by the World Cat Federation and Cat Fanciers’ Association, Inc.

domestic short-hair cat

American Short Hair

In 1906, The Cat Fanciers Association recognized the American Shorthair cat that came aboard the Mayflower to the United States. During this recognition, they referred to the American Shorthair as a “Domestic Shorthair” which they later, in 1966, termed the “American Shorthair” to differentiate between the two breeds.

These “working cats” were readily valued for their rodent-eradicating hunting skills. The American Short Hair cat is purposely bred to distinguish it from other cats that may be found in alleys or parking lots, marking it different from the “Domestic Short-Haired Cat” which is deemed a mixed-breed cat.

It’s essential to note that though a cat without a pedigree may appear similar to an American Shorthair, there’s one massive difference. The pedigreed cat, in this case, the American Shorthair, will produce kittens of the “same physical conformation, coat quality, and temperament” while a non-pedigreed cat will be unable to, according to The Cat Fanciers Association.

The Sphynx

Known to many as “the hairless cat”, the Sphynx cat breed originated from the birth of a domestic cat. Born with a genetic mutation that was found to be natural, this breed isn’t always completely hairless. For some Sphynx cats, it’s noted that there’s short hair present, hence, the addition to the list of domestic shorthair cats.

Devon Rex

Honing an elfin face paired with big, impish eyes, the Devon Rex cat is a breed of short hair cat. Drastically different from other cats in personality, this breed is associated with a social, affectionate, and curious attitude not commonly associated with most cats.

Scottish Fold kitten

Scottish Fold

Uniquely recognized for their folded ears, the Scottish Fold cat has, since its discovery, taken hold of the hearts of many Americans. Since its inception, it’s been allowed for outcrossing between the Scottish Fold cat and the American Shorthair and British Shorthair cats, even though the Scottish Fold doesn’t necessarily resemble the two breeds.

European Shorthair

The European Shorthair, like its successors, the British Shorthair and American Shorthair, is historically recognized for having traveled with Romans throughout ancient Rome and Europe. This breed was used to protect food supplies from rodents and other pests. In today’s society, this cat breed may be commonly known as a housecat but its genetic history goes back hundreds of years.

In fact, in 1992, the Europen Shorthair was officially recognized by Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) as a breed of its own, separate from the British and American Shorthairs.

Norwegian Forest Cat

This breed is not classified as a short-haired cat—-BUT, there are some interesting facts about this breed that should be discussed.

The Norwegian Forest Cat, like the Domestic Short-Haired Cat, was used to keep Viking ships and barns clear of rodents. Stunningly enough, this striking breed almost went extinct due to the hybridization of the Norwegian Forest Cat and Domestic Shorthairs that roamed Norway. Thankfully, Norwegian cat fanciers took matters into their own hands to save this history-laden breed.

American Bobtail

This breed is recognized by its bobbed tail, resembling the wild bobcat. The interesting tail was developed through a natural selection of feral domestic cats that naturally sported a bobbed tail, like in the case of the Devon Rex and the Sphynx cat breeds that naturally came about. The American Bobtail comes in coat lengths of two different kinds: a shorthair coat and a medium-length, longhaired coat.

Colorpoint Shorthair

The Colorpoint Shorthair is a man-designed breed of a red tabby American Shorthair and a seal point Siamese, which originated in this loving, talkative breed of cat. Cousins of the Siamese cat, the Colorpoint Shorthair has a total of 16 colors that are known to the breed.

Bengal Cat

A heritage lying with non-domestic cats, presented in 1963, when an Asian leopard cat was bred with a domestic cat to create the striking breed of Bengal Cat. The breed of Bengal Cat today is only bred with other Bengals for pedigree breeding purposes to preserve this stunning cat known for its immense devotion to its companions.

Celtic Shorthair

Based in Central Europe, the Celtic Shorthair was considered, originally, to be the same as the European Shorthair, but this has since been differentiated. The Celtic Shorthair is classified as an average-sized European domestic cat by the WCF. There are no breeding goals with the Celtic Shorthair, allowing for natural development in the cat breed.

Domestic Short-Hair Cat

British Shorthair Cat

On the calmer side compared to other shorthair breeds, the British Shorthair Cat isn’t the most agile feline of its species. Not as large as the Maine Coone, the British Shorthair Cat is still large and sturdy in stature.

The British Shorthair Cat’s ancestry can be traced back to Rome, where the European Shorthair came into existence from the breeding of domestic “working” cats. Shockingly enough, this breed of cat is the oldest known English feline breed!

Exotic Shorthair

Bred to be a short-haired version of the Persian Cat, the Exotic Shorthair was an outcross used by American Shorthair breeders. In 1966, this breed was finally recognized as its own—-the Exotic Shorthair—-by the Cat Fanciers’ Association but then proceeded to shut out the Exotic Shorthair outcrosses in 1987.

A Heads Up For A Breed With Quite The Appetite

Known to have a voracious appetite, domestic short-haired cats must have their food measured each day or you might find yourself with a chunky, yet still very cute, cat on your hands.

An excessively obese or overweight cat can negatively impact its health. Risks like developing heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus are only a few negative results that aren’t uncommon when concerning a highly overweight cat. That’s why it’s important to set a schedule and feeding time for your Domestic Short-Haired Cat, especially as they are recognized to be overzealous eaters. We’re sure you can relate here, as well.

what should my domestic short-hair cat weigh?

Is My Cat Fat?

Obviously, the most recognized step is to consult your veterinarian. As trained professionals, they’re the best bet in fully comprehending what’s defined as “healthy” or “unhealthy” for your cat. Always consult a trained professional first and foremost!

Check-Ups To Assess Weight

It’s important to always set up recurring check-ups with your veterinarian to properly assess the overall health of your pets. In this case, appointing regularly scheduled appointments to assess the health of your Domestic Short-Haired Cat is essential not only in concerns of weight and preventing obesity and its following risk factors but for other health concerns that could be otherwise missed with irregular check-ups.

Guiding Your Domestic Short-Haired Cat To A Healthier Weight

After consulting your veterinarian, they should provide you with some steps to adjusting the feeding schedule, and the amount provided to, your Domestic Short-Haired Cat. A veterinarian may provide, or recommend, specific products that have been scientifically formulated to provide more nutrition while encouraging weight loss in your overweight Domestic Short-Haired Cat.

It’s not recommended, whatsoever, to merely reduce the amount of food given to your cat. This could leave your Domestic Short-Haired Cat malnourished. Instead, it’s vital to follow the guidance of the veterinarian, and the products they recommend, by utilizing products that are designed to provide a nutritious, but less calorie-dense, food for your cat and its advised healthy weight goal.

Consistency Is Key

When guiding your cat to a healthier weight goal, you need to be consistent in feeding frequency and portions. The temptation may come to “make up” for your kitty’s restriction in food by supplementing treats here and there, every now and then, but it’s recommended to consult what “snacks” are appropriate for your Domestic Short-Haired Cat during this process so that it doesn’t hinder the process and its results.

How Often To Weigh Your Domestic Short-Haired Cat

Every 2-3 weeks! If this isn’t attainable, your Domestic Short-Haired Cat should be weighed in at least once a month, at a minimum, during this process of weight management. Weigh-ins can be an essential step in successful feline weight loss by promoting accountability and boosting morale. If results aren’t occurring, there can be other steps that need to be taken to encourage progress.

My Cat Has Reached Its Weight Goal…Now What?

Now that your Domestic Short-Haired Cat has obtained its healthy weight goal, the next step is going to be maintaining the healthy weight and discouraging further weight loss or weight gain. Maintenance is the new goal!

Speaking to your veterinarian for guidance on the next steps is important as they will guide you in measuring out portions or recommending foods best for maintaining a healthy weight while continuing to provide for your kitty nutritionally. The process of feline weight loss and management can be a stressful and tricky one, but with the help of a trained professional and the discipline of consistency, it’ll be worth it for you and your favorite feline.

domestic short-hair cat


Totaling this grand summary of the Domestic Short-Haired Cat, we’ve come to know the surprising history of these skillful hunters. The friendly, yet differing, temperaments of each is fun to see. The wonderful surprise of individualized coloring and patterns that come with the birth of each litter of Domestic Short-Haired Cat is exciting to guess. And the greedy eating habits of these voracious eaters can be both entertaining and horrifying to see.

We hope this article was informative in its content on the Domestic Short-Haired Cat. Share this article with friends and family looking to learn more about the history of the Domestic Short-Haired Cat!

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