Acquired: Other (stray, given cat by friend etc.),
Rescue / shelter organization
Pennsylvania, United States
Posted Jul 20, 2015
As a child, my mother always fed and nurtured the ferals out back. Some would even be comfortable enough to come into the house -- one even birthed her kittens in our basement! One of the feral kittens became our wonderful Miss Kitty, the first cat I ever owned. She was a beautiful tri colored long haired girl, and I loved her. Unfortunately, our giant German Shepherd didn't feel the same way, and Miss Kitty left our company almost as quickly as we had owned her. My 8 year old heart was broken.
Fast forward to 2012. I am 23, a recent college graduate and living by myself in a one bedroom apartment. No obligations, no commitments, no dogs, and a very understanding landlord. What else was I to do but get a cat? I scoured internet listings and the Humane Society, but I couldn't seem to find the right match for me. Eventually, I reached out to a girl on Craigslist who had rescued a pregnant female who had just had kittens that would be ready to go in a few short weeks. One of the kittens was described as "a tortoiseshell with the sweetest face." Something about that description struck me, and after some communication back and forth, it turned out the seller was only a few blocks away from my home. So off I went the next day to decide if any of these kittens would be a good fit for me, particularly that sweet-faced tortoiseshell that was so specifically listed.
Fast forward again to three years from that first visit. That sweet-faced tortoiseshell? Her name is Autumn now, and that face of hers has gone from sweet to elegant. There is so much to say about my beautiful girl and the experience of owning a cat in general. Autumn is incredibly laid back, and has absolutely no problem acclimating to any situation (she adjusted to her new home with me in less than two hours). Not only is she laid back about her environment, but she also is exceptionally well behaved around other cats. Any time she has been exposed to another cat she has behaved herself, and actually been very nurturing, particularly to kittens. She is not very hyper and loves to cuddle up on the couch with me, and sleeps on my chest every night. Head butts are a regular occurrence; when this cat wants to be petted then it has to happen!
Grooming is not an issue. Autumn has short hair as is typical of her breed, but it is also quite soft and thick, so giving her a once over with a brush is all she really needs. There is no major shedding but the reality is that I do have to keep a lint roller handy for my dark clothes and furniture.
Scratching is an issue and a given. Autumn loves to claw my coffee table, as well as anything and everything leather I leave out (this cat likes quality goods). It is an easily rectified problem as long as you can distract your kitty with something more appealing to claw.
As far as health goes, I have never owned a healthier animal. American shorthairs are known for being exceptionally hardy, and if you are looking for a cat that never gets sick and is not going to blow over with a slight breeze, this is the breed for you!
In general, this breed is excellent for a first time cat owner. They are hardy, adaptable, well mannered, and require minimal grooming. If you're in the market for a cat but aren't sure which direction to head, I would absolutely recommend this breed. You will not be disappointed; I definitely am not!