The Japanese Bobtail is an affectionate and furriendly cat best known for its sweet nature and inimitable, pom-pom tail. They are quiet, gentle and fun-loving kitties who truly cherish every moment with their favorite hoomans.
Japanese Bobtails, who were kept by the emperor of Japan himself thousands of years ago, are surrounded by many mystical stories and myths that are bound to captivate you. Here is everything you must know about your darling Japanese Bobtail cat!
Japanese Bobtails are relatively small to medium-sized cats, weighing on average 5 to 10 pounds. Their heads are triangular, ears pointed and eyes oval. Their hind legs are slightly longer than their front legs. Their coat can be either short or long, but it is always very soft and dense. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, but calico and bi-color versions are most common. The typical color combinations are black-and-white or red-and-white.
The most distinctive feature of the Bobtail is a short, pom-pom tail. The Japanese Bobtail is one of the few cat breeds with a naturally occurring stubby tail that isn’t associated with skeletal disorders. This short tail is a cat body-type mutation caused by the expression of a dominant gene. Therefore, all kittens of a litter of at least one Bobtail cat will also have kinked tails.
Legend says that the Japanese Bobtail is an ancient cat breed that was originally gifted to the emperor of Japan over 1000 years ago. A tricolor cat with a bobbed tail, much like the Japanese Bobtail, is actually a symbol of good fortune in Japan, hence their popularity in their home land. According to this theory, some years later, in the 1600s, this cat became a common Japanese “street cat”, as Japanese authorities decreed that all cats should be set loose to help deal with rodents.
Of course, the true origin story remains a mystery, as genetic analysis showed that the Japanese Bobtail isn’t actually genetically similar to other Japanese cats. What we do know, however, is that the first known person to import this breed to the United States was Elizabeth Freret in 1968. The short hair variety was given Championship status by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1976, and the long hair variety in 1993. Even though there are numerous breeders across the US, Europe and Japan, the breed is still rather rare.
Health and care
The Japanese Bobtail is overall a fairly healthy cat breed with very few medical issues. Their kinked tail has not been associated with any health issues, and it does not represent a health concern. However, these cats can be prone to obesity, so you may want to keep a stricter eye on those treats! On average, their life span is from 9 to 15 years. Weekly grooming should suffice in terms of coat care. For a few tips about dental hygiene, please read this article.
The Japanese Bobtail is a charming, fun and lovable cat that enjoys every moment with its favorite hoomans. Due to their quiet, gentle and affectionate personalities, they get along well with children and other pets. These kitties are highly intelligent and usually known for their playful and mischievous nature. This is the kind of cat that you can work with very well if you’d like to teach them a few tricks. They also love water and will gladly enjoy an occasional splash from your hand, the faucet, or a puddle. They also love to fetch!
Quick facts about the pom-pom cats
1. Bobtails mean good fortune in Japan. In Japan, all cats were always loved, but the iconic Japanese “waving cat” figurine (the Maneki-Neko or the Beckoning Cat) was especially valued as it was believed to bring good financial fortune to its family. The Beckoning cat depicts the Japanese Bobtail.
According to legend, one day, a long time ago, the Beckoning Cat stood before the doors of the Gotokuji Temple in Japan and raised its paw to a passing lord. The feudal lord followed the cat into the temple. Just a few moments after, a lightning bolt struck the exact spot the feudal lord had been standing in. The Beckoning Cat was credited with saving his life, and even to this day, it is the symbol of success, harmony and happiness.
2. The Japanese Bobtail is not related to other short-tailed cats. Despite sharing such a prominent and similar feature, no, the Japanese Bobtail is not genetically similar to other short-tailed cats such as American Bobtail or Manx. They don’t share the same genetic mutation for stubbed tails.
3. They are one of the chattiest cat breeds out there. This intelligent and active cat is very talkative, and it will communicate with you regularly with a very wide range of meows and chirps. Some people describe their Japanese Bobtail’s voice as singing-like.
4. No two tails are the same. The naturally-occurring stubbed tail characteristic for the breed can be kinked and bent in my different ways, and it is said that no tail can resemble another one.
5. They are exceptional jumpers. Because their hind legs are longer than their front legs, they are exceptionally great at jumping. This makes them one of the more agile domestic cats out there.
The Japanese Bobtail is a charming, smart kitty who will enrich the life of any lucky hooman. They are sweet, mystical and fun-loving. Do you have a Japanese Bobtail of your own? Share your story with us on FB, Instagram and Twitter!