The Japanese bobtail cat is a tiny, outgoing feline friend. The shortened tail, which is often referred to as a “pom” by breed enthusiasts, is the breed’s most distinguishing characteristic. It may be smooth, curved, or kinked, but it mostly resembles a bunny’s bushy tail as a result of a normal gene mutation. These cats are friendly and playful, which makes them excellent house pets. They’re skilled hunters, cuddly lounge cats, and clever enough to pick up tricks.
The Japanese bobtail is an old cat breed that is closely associated with Japan—and rightfully so. These cats are popular in Japan’s streets and were instrumental in safeguarding the country’s silk trade in the early 1600s.
The Japanese bobtail, on the other hand, is thought to have a much older history. Many scholars believe that this striking feline emerged at least a thousand years ago in China or Korea. According to some accounts, in the 7th century, the Emperor of China gave these bobtail cats to the Emperor of Japan. Others say that bobtail cats were first introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks as a way of defending rice paper scrolls from rodents.
In either case, evidence says that the cats were released in 1602 on the orders of the Japanese emperor to kill mice that were disrupting the silk trade in Japan. Since it was illegal to sell or keep bobtail cats as pets, they were a familiar sight on the streets of Japan.
In the 1960s, the Japanese bobtail was first imported to the United States. The cats drew notice due to their outgoing personality and distinctive look. In 1968, Elizabeth Freret is credited with bringing the first Japanese bobtails into the United States. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) approved the shorthair variety of the breed for championship status in 1976, less than a decade later.
The longhair bobtail would have to wait until 1993 for champion status, but today both breeds are CFA-recognized.
The tail of a Japanese Bobtail is one-of-a-kind, and no two tails are identical. The “bunny-like” tail can be no more than three inches long and can be curved, angled, bumpy, or a mixture of these things. Since the dominant gene for a shorter tail is present, it breeds valid from generation to generation. The back legs of the Bobtail are longer than the front legs, and they look strong and muscular.
Upright ears with well-defined right angles rest on a triangular head. The oval eyes lend the face an Oriental tinge. The Bobtail is a medium-sized, long cat with a lean, rugged appearance that does not take away from his calm demeanor. The Bobtail has a wide vocal range, often seeming to sing, and will often respond when spoken to.
Short-haired Japanese Bobtails have a medium-length coat with no undercoat. The longer haired version has a ruff on the chest but is only slightly so. Both are simple to maintain. Brushing and combing can be done twice a week, including an extra session during the shedding seasons of spring and fall.
Since these cats like riding on their owners’ shoulders, it’s important to keep their nails clipped. Both of these repair chores are usually handled well by Bobtails, making the task much simpler.
- Weight: 2 to 5 kg
- Coat length: Short and long
- Amount of shedding: Low and medium
- Color: Wide variety
- Pattern: Solid, bicolor, calico, tabby
The Japanese Bobtail is a sociable, energetic breed with a reputation for good health. They enjoy being with their humans regardless of the activity at hand, sprawling on the sofa with you to watch TV, keeping your newspaper, head bonking your diary, and even accompanying you to the front door to welcome visitors.
They have a strange habit of putting things in their mouths and are always up for a game of soccer or fetch on the spur of the moment. They’ll fly around the house playing chase with other cats, and since they’re such excellent jumpers, they’ve proved to be naturals in the new Feline Agility contests.
- Lifespan: 15 to 18 years
- Active: High
- Intelligence: High
- Vocalize: High
There are only a few health issues that this cat breed is known for. In general, the Japanese bobtail is thought to be very stable and not particularly vulnerable to any illness or condition. However, there are several common conditions that you should be alert to for any feline:
- Kidney disease
- Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)
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