Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Breed of the Day: American Bobtail
Reminiscent of wild cats, the American bobtail is a medium to large cat native to North America with a naturally occurring short tail. It is a well-muscled, solid cat with the power and grace of an athlete. It has the gaze of a hunter and the rolling gate that, along with its naturally bobbed tail give it the look of a wild cat but with the loving affection of a domestic cat. No two tails are exactly the same so they are truly the hallmark of the individual and are proudly held over the back when the cat is alert, often wagging to express the cat's mood. Developed by nature to survive in its native environment, the American bobtail has above-average intelligence and is a breed of moderation rather than extremes, taking up to three years to reach full maturity.
Although the American bobtail has been in the US for many generations, the true development of the breed began in the 1960s. Every breeder of the American bobtail has heard the story of Yodi, the patriarch of the breed. John and Brenda Sanders, a young couple, were vacationing in the south-west. They were driving through an Indian reservation in Arizona when they discovered a brown tabby kitten with a short tail and decided to take it home with them to Iowa. When Yodi came of age, he ended up breeding with the couple's female cat, Mishi, a non-pedigreed domestic color point, and the resulting kittens inherited Yodi's unusual short tail. The kittens soon caught the eye friends, Mindy Shultz and Charlotte Bentley, who saw the possibility of a new breed of felines. Using several of these bobtail kittens and out-crossing to a long-haired color point, they produced the first true American bobtails.
In 1989, The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized the American bobtail as a naturally occurring breed of cat, as the foundation stock of this breed comes from feral cats possessing a naturally short tail from different regions of the United States and Canada. Most breeders no longer use feral cats in their breeding programs.
The American bobtail is a great family pet that attaches itself to the whole family, and not just one person. The breed gets along well with children and other pets, even dogs. They like being with their families rather than being alone. They have a subtle personality which is affectionate and loving rather than demanding and in-your-face. Most are moderately active without being either a couch potato or full of high-strung energy. The American bobtail is a particularly intelligent breed and they can easily be taught to walk on a leash and play fetch.
The American bobtail can come in any color or pattern. This wonderful variety of colors and patterns comes in two coat types; the short-hair and medium-long. The short hair is plush and is comparable to a rabbits pelt. The longer-coated type is actually easy to keep with minimal brushing. Toms weigh on average between 12-16 pounds while queens weigh between 7-11 pounds. The weight should come from the well-muscled and substantial bone of the cat and not from being overweight. Of course, one of the most unusual traits is the cat's shortened tail. The desired length of the tail should be a minimum of one inch and a maximum no longer than the cat's hock. The tail mutation gene is not a controllable gene, resulting in different tail lengths of each kitten in the litter.