Not all cats are lap cats. Some prefer to stand aloof, ignoring your entreaties and rejecting all attempts to invade their personal space. The American Shorthair isn’t one of these.
They positively love being fondled, petted and even picked up and carried around. They’re absolutely ideal for the cat lover who enjoys physical affection from their kitties. Unlike some breeds, they’re not clingy cats — they don’t become distressed if you’re not paying attention to the right that minute.
They’ll happily enjoy your company and your affection, then entertain themselves happily when you’re busy or out of the home. Read on to find out more about these charming cats.
Do American Shorthair cats like cuddles? Yes, this breed is very physically affectionate. They like cuddles, petting and lap-time. While they won’t pester you or become anxious if you’re not making a fuss of them, American Shorthairs will ask to be petted and definitely enjoy being cuddled.
You’ve arrived on this page because you have questions about the American Shorthair breed and their level of affection. Maybe you’re a first-time cat owner who wants a friendly pet, or perhaps you’re an experienced owner and just want to know if this breed is right for you.
Are American Shorthairs affectionate? Will an American Shorthair get on with my other cats? Are they child-friendly? Are they good with other cats or pets of different species? Keep reading. We have the answers you’re looking for.
Do American Shorthair Cats Like Cuddles?
Yes. American Shorthair cats (ASH cats) are inveterate cuddle-bugs. I don’t think I’ve ever met one who wasn’t a liberal bestower of kitty affection. They’re very affectionate creatures and love nothing more than to be snuggled on your lap or to curl up next to you in your chair for pets. If you’re looking for a happy and willing lap-cat, you can’t really beat an American Shorthair.
This breed bonds readily with their human families. I’ve known some cats who will only attach themselves to a single person, refusing all attempts by others in the household to get close to them. Other cats may be very friendly to their families, but hide under the bed when you have guests over.
Not so the ASH. They don’t play favourites, wanting to spend time with everyone in the house. They are outgoing without being pushy and will want to get to know everyone who comes to your home.
Unlike the very similar British Shorthair, I have seldom met an ASH who didn’t love to be picked up and carried. While most cats will (at best) tolerate this procedure for a few seconds before wriggling free, the ASH seems quite happy to be held this way indefinitely. A friend of mine has an ASH tom that likes to be picked up in his arms ad carried around the house like a baby.
Although highly affectionate, I’ve never found cats of this breed to be overly demanding. They will certainly hop up into your lap if you sit down, but won’t mind too much if you gently dislodge them. They’ll come up to you and ask to be petted, but won’t insist upon it if you’re busy. My own ASH boy is perfectly happy to hang out nearby while I’m working or reading, waiting till I have time to give him pets.
Do American Shorthairs Like Children?
This breed is wonderful with kids. They seem to actively dote on children, especially on babies and toddlers. Introducing a new baby to the cat, or vice-versa, can be a rather fraught process; with the ASH, there is very little friction. The only note of caution I would sound is that this breed can be a little too tolerant, allowing children to pull their ears and tails without the warning swats and hissing that other cats might offer. For this reason, I strongly recommend that you always supervise little children when they’re playing with the cat.
It’s all too easy for a small child to hurt a cat, even without meaning to. It’s never a great idea to leave children alone with animals in general, of course. Until the child is old enough to understand that the cat is not a toy, keep an eye on them.
Older children make wonderful playmates for American Shorthairs. This breed is very playful when young, but once they get past their first year they can start to become rather sedentary. It’s important for their caregivers to ensure that they are encouraged to exercise, with plenty of active play.
Engaging their prey instinct (which is strongly developed) is the best way to do this. An energetic child equipped with a teaser toy will do your ASH a world of good.
Are American Shorthair Cats Good With Other Pets?
This depends largely on the type of pet. With other cats, they seem to get on very well. The trademark sociability of the American Shorthair extends to other felines, and they’re willing to make room for another cat without starting fights.
The introduction is key here. Whether you’re introducing a new cat to your ASH or a new ASH to another cat, you will need to give the cats time to get used to each other. You will need to separate them at first, placing them in different rooms for a day or two to allow them to get used to each others’ smell.
The next stage is to let them see each other through a barrier — have one cat in a carrier, or place a baby gate between them. This is best done at feeding times, creating a positive association with the other cat. Do this a few times before allowing the cats to meet without the barrier, and supervise their interactions until you’re sure that they’re getting along.
Dogs can be a bit trickier, since they don’t “speak cat” and may be over-friendly or aggressive. Again, you’ll want to introduce the animals in stages and supervise them very carefully.
Smaller pets such as birds, rabbits, rats etc. are at dire risk from your American Shorthair. Despite their docility around humans, the predator instinct in this breed is very, very strong. They can and will hunt and eat other pets if they happen to look like prey. If you have small animals in the house, put them in another room where the cat is not allowed to go. Cages, hutches etc. must be solid and secure.
An ASH is quite capable of opening a cage door or simply knocking it over. They will certainly try, creating unnecessary stress for the other animal. For best results, don’t let the cat see the rabbit.
American Shorthairs and Separation Anxiety
If you’re a busy professional who’ll be away from home for most of the day, it’s a good idea to look for a breed with a low tendency to become anxious when left to themselves. Like their British Shorthair cousins, the American Shorthair does very well when left home alone. They’re tremendously friendly when you’re around, but also remarkably self-sufficient when you aren’t.
While cats of any breed can experience separation anxiety, especially when they’re adapting to a new home, the American Shorthair seems remarkably resistant to it.
They love attention, yes — but they don’t seem to struggle without it. Some cats, especially more sensitive breeds like Ragdolls or Persians, can suffer significant distress if you’re not around to make a fuss of them. In contrast, an American Shorthair will go and play with her toys for a while and then curl up for a nap. She’ll be delighted when you return home for more hugs and petting, but she won’t cry or act out.
Leaving your ASH alone overnight or even for a couple of nights is usually fine, so long as you provide plenty of food, water and entertainment such as toys. If you’re away from home for more than a day or two, you should, of course, arrange for a pet-sitter to pop in and check on her.