Acquired: Other (stray, given cat by friend etc.),
Ohio, United States
Posted Aug 27, 2012
The American shorthair is pretty much your stereotypical cat. My family’s had two, one named Cloud and one named Puff. Cloud lived for fully 19 years. Puff is still alive, at eight years and going strong.
Cloud was lazy and laid-back, but friendly; very patient with small children and quite willing to be cuddled. Puff is active and slightly standoffish. Every so often, she will seek out one of her human housemates and cuddle up, but she does not like it when others seek her out-she socializes, but only on her terms, and only when she feels like it. Puff is also quite the hunter-it’s impossible to keep her inside for more than a few hours at a time before she begins aggressively trying to get out. When she does get out, she usually returns with the corpse of a small rodent. She enjoys playing quite a bit-she can be amused for hours with a laser pointer, like most cats. Cloud, on the other hand, would kill mice that actually entered the house, but never cared to go out and hunt. Socialization with Cloud was more in the form of finding where she was sleeping, carrying her to a couch, and letting her curl up on your lap. Neither cat was particularly vocal; both animals meowed only to make clear that there was something that they needed, usually food.
Every American shorthair is different; this is probably the most generic breed of cat available. But common among the American shorthairs I have owned and encountered has been affectionate behavior, to a point, and a playful attitude that took the form of games having to do with hunting and stalking.
Because American shorthairs are such hunters, a household with one of these cats usually doesn't have rodent problems. Mice and other small rodents simply cannot get a foothold; the cat hunts them and kills them pretty much automatically. Rats pose a serious threat, but then, if you've got rats, you need an exterminator anyway.
Our cats were willing to socialize, but not to the same extent as a dog might be. Both cats would socialize, but only when they wanted to and only on their own terms. When they do socialize, however, it's quite pleasant; they'll often hop up into your lap or rest on your chest as you're laying down. They're almost always up to play, as well-bring a laser pointer or something that dangles from a string. They'll go nuts.
My advice regarding cats to a potential owner would be this. First, please, please consider forgoing a declawing procedure. It’s true that it saves your furniture, but this comes at a cost to the cat’s health. Cloud was declawed before we got her, and Puff never was. Cloud was hurt more than once in fights with other cats, for lack of any ability to defend herself. Eventually, she stopped going outdoors, and her health began to deteriorate for lack of exercise. Puff, on the other hand, is quite able to defend herself, and remains active and healthy as she enters feline middle age. Second, if you absolutely must declaw, understand from the beginning that a declawed cat is an indoor cat. Never let a declawed cat out, not even for a little while. You’ll have trouble keeping her indoors from some time, from that point forward.
Short form: Friendly and loving to family, standoffish with new people, Death Incarnate to household vermin and the local squirrel population.