Acquired: Bred cat myself,
Other (stray, given cat by friend etc.),
Rescue / shelter organization,
Worked with pet (didn’t own)
Roanoke, Virginia, United States
Posted May 26, 2015
I have never been in a situation without domestic shorthairs running my life. When I was born, Junior, PJ, Midnight, and Jasmine were around. Then came Herby, followed by Geronimo and Ferdinand. Geronimo stuck around, and added to him was Jezebell, who came to us pregnant and birthed Isabelle, Jack-Jack, Grumpy, Jake, and Sammy. I went to work for a veterinarian and came in contact with hundreds of felines. My roommate came in a brought another cat, Starlingclaw, she had adopted already pregnant. At this same time, I adopted Charleston. Starling gave birth to Nigel, Sun, Freddy, Tawnystrike, and Skunkfrost. I worked for another vet office so, again, hundreds more cats interacted with me. Tinypaw found us when he was about 4 months old. Between elders passing, some of them dying from outside causes, and my roommate taking a few kids with her, I am left with Geronimo, Nigel, Sun, and Freddy. So my experience with this breed is extensive.
The issue being, it is hard to give an informative review on an animal that differs so greatly among themselves.
We had our vocal drama students that needed constant attention. Grumpy, Starlingclaw, Tawnystrike, Nigel, and Sun have always demanded all eyes be on them. Skunkfrost was similar, but she was a gentle contact type lady, just needing to be allowed a place on your lap to be content. The other five not only needed to be touching you and talking to you, but you had to be actively part of the conversation.
Charleston and Ferdinand were the 'friends to everyone', very laid back toms. Isabelle was similar, but she was a bit more restrained in her affections.
Herby, Jake, and Freddy were slightly more aggressive and anxious. Herby had an abusive past, while Jake and Freddy both suffered from different mental disorders and visual disabilities. They were all kind cats, just had a high level of self preservation.
Jezebell had two different sides. On the one, she loves goats and humans. She'll hop on your lap or a goat's back and purr loud enough for the neighbors to hear. Dogs were another story. My friend raised her from kithood and gave her to me when she became pregnant, so I know she had no bad experiences with dogs, but she just decided they all need to be dead.
Geronimo and Jezebell are both highly independent, sometimes disappearing for a week at a time, before coming home and acting as if nothing happened.
Other than Skunkfrost having a sensitive stomach, Charleston having weak teeth, and Geronimo having a very light appetite, they were all very easy going eaters. The early group of them were kibble based eaters, but as time wore on, the newer generation was few a raw diet. This helped Skunkfrost greatly, her stomach never once rejecting raw meat, but having always thrown up kibble and canned food. Tinypaw and Sun were the most enthusiastic over raw food, but everyone was content no matter what kind of meat they received (aside from cow, which everyone decided they hated).
Aside from Geronimo, none of them were heavy shedders. Geronimo has high anxiety, so the veterinarian claims that is a big cause of his constant shedding. As a breed, most healthy shorthairs shed heavy right before the warmer months, and then remain relatively clean the rest of the year (in my experience, further research may be needed).
When people think of cats, they typically do not consider them as guard animals. Some, however, may surprise you. Geronimo is the most cowardly cat I have ever come in contact with, but just the other night he chased off a lone coyote to protect me. Of course the coyote was no threat to me, but the moment Geronimo saw me approaching, he lunged down from his hide away and spooked the canine, giving chase until he realized my shouts for him where to come back so I could take him inside to safety.
That leads me into their intelligence. Even the two that suffer from a handful of mental disorders are very intelligent problem solvers. All of them manage to work everything out in their favor, manipulating the world around them. Aside from Freddy and Jake, they are all fast learners of commands, too. We notice Starlingclaw reacting whenever we'd tell the dogs to sit, and realized she knew all the commands the dogs knew, without any training, purely by observation.
All in all, american shorthairs are very easy to live with. They are clean by nature, usually affectionate (unless you have upset them, in which they are very good at providing the cold shoulder), highly intelligent, and very loyal. 10/10 would agree being a crazy cat man/lady is good for the soul :)