Japanese Bobtail

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(11 Reviews)

Is the Japanese Bobtail right for you?

The basics:
You may have seen the likeness of the Japanese Bobtail beckoning amicably to you from the window of shops and restaurants: a white ceramic cat with black and orange patches on its head and legs, one paw raised in a wave, the other often grasping a Japanese coin. The figure is called maneki-neko, or “beckoning cat”, and it’s a Japanese talisman of good luck and fortune. The Japanese Bobtail has been part of Japanese culture for at least 1000 years, appearing in artwork and legend. Though the stories vary, it’s not hard to see how this out-going and people-oriented cat would end up as a welcoming symbol to guests and patrons.

Though the Japanese Bobtail was once a prized mouser, this short-tailed cat would much prefer to spend his days keeping his family company. This breed has been described as the “people-pleaser” of the cat world, and though they enjoy investigation and exploration, they prefer to find ways they can spend time with you.

Perhaps the Japanese Bobtail is best summed up by the German doctor Engelbert Kaempfer in 1701, who while living in Japan wrote, “there is only one breed of cat that is kept. It has large patches of yellow, black and white fur; its short tail looks like it has been bent and broken. It has no mind to hunt for rats and mice but just wants to be carried and stroked by women.”

If that sounds like your kind of cat, you may have to do some searching if you live outside of the United States. Even in their country of origin, the purebred Japanese Bobtail has become somewhat rare.

Appearance / health:
The Japanese Bobtail is a medium –sized cat known for its bobbed tail. The frame is lean and muscular, with long, slender but powerful legs. The back legs are slightly longer than the front, which elevates the hind end slightly above shoulder level. No two tails are alike, though the average length of a Japanese Bobcat’s tail is four inches. The tail curls and corkscrews, and may be flexible or rigid. It’s tufted with hair so that it takes on pom-pom-like appearance. The bones in the tail of this breed may be fused or jointed, giving them the ability to wiggle it expressively. The bobtail may be sensitive, and should be handled with care.

They have a somewhat triangular head with well-defined cheekbones and large, slanted eyes. The eyes can come in many colors including blue, and the Japanese Bobtail is more prone than most breeds to having two different eye colors. The ears are large and set high on the top of the head, giving this cat an alert and inquisitive appearance.

The Japanese Bobtail can have short or long hair. The fur is soft and silky, lying close to the body with very little undercoat. Longhaired Japanese Bobtails may have shaggy hair along the belly and “britches”. Because of the silky texture and sparse undercoat, the longhaired Japanese Bobtail is easier to groom than many other longhaired breeds. They may come in a wide variety of colors, though the most traditional coloration is a tri-colored cat with white, red, and black patches.

Behavior / temperament:
The Japanese Bobtail is outgoing and charming with a distinctly “people-pleaser” personality. They crave companionship but the Japanese Bobtail is not a cat to spend much time lying around as a lap cat: they prefer interactive games, including fetch, and they may be seen carrying their toys around the house – just in case you want to play. They have a tendency to carry off things they find and like, so if you’re missing a metallic hair scrunchy, check the cat’s bed!

Highly intelligent, curious, and active, the Japanese Bobtail will explore your home from top to bottom. They’re powerful jumpers, so don’t be surprised to see them cruising the tops of the bookcases. They tend to respond well to leash training, as this is a cat who both wants to see and experience new things, and spend time with you. They have a strange fondness for playing in the water -particularly if there’s something floating around in there, so keep a good lid on the fish tank. Puzzle toys may be a good investment for your Japanese Bobtail, particularly if you’re going to be gone during the day.

Because the Japanese Bobtail is outgoing, gregarious, and playful they don’t mind a more boisterous household, and enjoy the company of children – especially if chasing toys is involved. They tend to enjoy the companionship of other animals, particularly if the other animal is also outgoing and playful.

The Japanese Bobtail is a moderately noisy cat, so if you’re not interested in holding frequent feline conversations, you might not be a good match. Busy homes are not a problem, so long as the Japanese Bobtail is still given much-needed daily interaction.


pillow cat, intelligent breed, people oriented breed, songy voice, loving best friend, entire family


daily combing


different vocalizations

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