The Japanese Bobtail: a smart cat with lots of energy

Japanese Bobtail standing outside

The Japanese Bobtail is known for its beautiful voice and unique tail. He loves to play and likes to be surrounded by people. The Japanese Bobtail comes, as the name says, from Japan. Besides his appearance, this cat is also known for his personality. He is extrovert and quite lively. He demands a lot of attention and has a very strong personality. Would you like to know more about this interesting breed? You can read all about it in this article.


The origin: a cat from the Japanese islands

The Japanese Bobtail is one of the oldest natural breeds in the world. It is assumed that the original version of this breed comes from nature and therefore was not created by breeding. It is also believed in Japan that this cat brings good luck. For that reason, this breed is often used as a subject for Japanese ornaments. In addition, many old prints and paintings contain an image of a Japanese Bobtail. This cat used to occur only in people of nobility. Nowadays the cat is much more accessible and more common.

Written documents show that the Japanese Bobtail was first imported into Japan from China or Korea thousands of years ago. At that time, the cats were used to chase rats away from rice paper rolls in temples. Later they were also used to protect the silk trade by chasing rats away. In the 60’s this breed was first discovered by the American Elizabeth Freret and imported to the United States. In order to start a breeding program there. After a number of years of breeding they eventually ended up with the breed we now know as the Japanese Bobtail. Around 1970 this breed became really well known. First as a short-haired cat, but after that also as a long-haired cat.

In 1971 this breed was recognized by the CFA, after which the TICA recognized this breed a few years later. This breed is quite popular in America but is not very common in Europe. Attempts have been made to make this breed more popular in Europe, for example by importing it to France. Up till now this has unfortunately not worked out much, but that can of course change.


Character: outspoken, playful and affectionate

The Japanese Bobtail is an active and playful cat. It is a very affectionate cat that will always treat his owner with love. They love human attention and like to be the centre of attention. A Japanese Bobtail will therefore preferably offer you company all day long when you are at home. Besides that, this cat is also quite intelligent and curious. That is why it is important to create enough room for this cat to play. Something this cat likes to do is fetch toys, for example. They also like to play with other cats and are very good at doing an obstacle course. Because the Japanese Bobtail is so intelligent, he easily learns new tricks and can easily adapt to new situations. So, you can try out all kinds of things with your cat, the Japanese Bobtail will quickly pick this up.

The Japanese Bobtail is a perfect family cat and gets along well with children. In addition, it is no problem if dogs or other pets are present. This cat gets along well with other animals. What is also special about this cat is its beautiful voice. The sound is charming and melodic. Some owners of a Japanese Bobtail claim that it seems as if the cat is really communicating with you and sometimes even singing.

Infographic Japanese Bobtail

Appearance: a short “pom pom” tail

The Japanese Bobtail is known for its unique short tail. The tail of this cat has the shape of a ‘pom-pom’. What is special about the tail is that it is different in every cat, just like the fingerprint of a human. Under the fanning fur on the tail every cat has a different bone structure with different bends, angles and kinks. The tail is no longer than 8 centimetres. Furthermore, the Japanese bobtail is generally an elegant and refined cat that is completely balanced. Each body part contributes to a coherent whole.

The Japanese Bobtail has a medium body. Females are generally slightly smaller than males. His trunk is long, slim and elegant. The body is well muscled but not broad. As just mentioned, the body is well balanced. The neck and legs of this cat are therefore in proportion with the rest of the body. The hind legs are a bit longer than the front legs, but because his hind legs are in a deep angle when relaxed, his trunk stays horizontal. The feet of this cat are oval with five toes at the front and four at the back.

Furthermore, the Japanese Bobtail can be recognized by its triangle-shaped head with high cheekbones. Perpendicular to the head this cat has two large, upright ears. They are placed far apart and at rest the ears tilt a bit forward. The eyes of the Japanese Bobtail are oval and large. These give the cat a sweet and pronounced expression.

The coat of a Japanese Bobtail can be both short and long. The short-haired variant has semi-long hair that feels soft and silky. He does not have a striking undercoat. The Long-haired variant has medium to long hair with the same texture as the short-haired cat. The coat on the back of the body is longer than the coat on the front. Also, the long-haired Japanese Bobtail sometimes has a nice collar in the neck. The steep, smooth coat falls short against his body.

The coat colours that can occur with the Japanese Bobtail are diverse. The cat comes in both pronounced and somewhat lighter colours. The coat can have a solid colour, but can also be two-, three- or multi-coloured. Three-coloured cats are also called ‘Mi-Ke’. The nose leather, the soles of the feet and the eye colour often match the coat colour. The eyes of this cat are usually blue, but they also occur in other colours. The most common coat colours of the Japanese Bobtail are:

  • White
  • Black
  • Red
  • Chocolate
  • Cream
  • Lila
  • Blue

These colours are combined in the two-coloured and three-coloured variants and can be very lively or more diluted. Different patterns are also possible, this makes the Japanese Bobtail a cat with a diverse appearance. The most common patterns are:

  • Tabby
  • Tortie
  • Turtle
  • Cyper
  • Spotted
  • Smoke

You can see that there are many possibilities when it comes to the coat of this breed. This is also one of the reasons why this breed is so popular in America. If you want to know more about the different colour combinations it is wise to take a look at the breed standard.2


Education: he needs a lot of attention

Because this breed has quite a strong character, the upbringing is very important. The upbringing starts right from the birth of the kitten. The period in which a kitten is raised is also called the socialisation period. During this period a number of things are important. First of all, it is necessary that the kitten stays with its mother for the first few weeks. During the first weeks of his life attention from the mother is crucial for a healthy upbringing. During this period, it is also important to start with human touch. This way the kitten gets used to humans and the care of the cat will become a lot easier in later life.

After the socialisation period it is important to immediately teach the cat a fixed routine. Especially a routine around eating is very important. Cats have a natural tendency to develop overweight. The Japanese Bobtail is quite active, so he is less bothered by this than cats who are a bit calmer. However, it is still important to pay attention to his diet. Make sure he is fed at fixed times.

In addition, it is wise to ensure that there is always company present. This cat really loves attention. Are you single and away from home a lot? Then it is not wise to choose a Japanese Bobtail. We recommend that you only buy this cat if there is almost always someone in the house. This could be children, the owner, or other pets. Of course, it can always happen that there is no one at home, so it is also important to have enough playtime in the house so that your cat can have fun even when you are away from home. Also make sure that your Japanese Bobtail can play outside, this is an important part of his upbringing.

Japanese Bobtail sitting

The care: quite simple

The amount of care a Japanese Bobtail needs depends on its coat length. If you have a Japanese Bobtail that has a short coat, then this coat needs less grooming. Brushing once a week is then sufficient. If you have a long-haired Japanese Bobtail, it is certainly advisable to brush and comb 2 to 3 times a week. This will remove all loose hairs, reducing the chance of hairballs. Regular brushing is also good for the health of his coat and skin.

When it comes to caring for the teeth and nails, it is simply a matter of monitoring. If you see that the nails are getting too long you can choose to take care of them. Cats don’t always like this, that’s why the socialisation period is so important. It is also wise to always have a scratching post in the house so that your cat can sharpen his own nails and expend his energy.


Nutrition: ensure a diet with sufficient protein

Providing the right food for these cats is generally quite easy. The food for the Japanese Bobtail consists mainly of animal protein. This is the main source of energy for a cat. Because the Japanese Bobtail is a very active cat, it is advisable to take extra care that it gets enough protein. You can do this for example to buy a complete meal. On the products for cats, it is often indicated if it is a complete meal and what exactly it contains. This way you can be sure that there is enough protein present. It also contains enough vitamins and minerals, which are essential for the health of the Japanese Bobtail.

You can opt for both dry and wet food. Cats often like wet cat food better. However, it is advisable to go for a combination. If you notice that your wet cat food is preferable, you can adjust the balance a little and give it more wet cat food.


Diseases that are common in this cat

No hereditary diseases are known in this breed. Other breed cats with a short tail often have a higher chance of diseases of the spine. Whether this increased chance also applies specifically to the Japanese Bobtail is not known.

In general, Japanese Bobtails are very healthy and strong cats. These cats have a low mortality rate and a very good resistance. When the right vaccinations are given during his socialisation period and the cat is well dewormed and cared for, this breed will have a long and healthy life.

The only thing that needs to be taken care of, as has already been described under the heading of nutrition, is the prevention of obesity. When you notice that your Japanese Bobtail is starting to get fatter, it is wise to adjust the portion size.

Japanese Bobtail close-up

How old can the Japanese Bobtail get?

The Japanese Bobtail reaches an average age of about 15 years. This is a nice age for a pedigree cat. The age that a Japanese Bobtail can reach is of course influenced by his upbringing, care and environment. If you take good care of your cat it is more likely that he will have a longer, happier and happier life.


What you need to know before you take this breed into your home

If you are interested in taking the Japanese Bobtail, there are a few things to take into account. First of all, it is good to know that this breed is not very common in Europe, but more in America. This can make it a bit more difficult to buy a healthy Japanese Bobtail. There are breed associations in Europe, but often they have long waiting lists. Also, the litters of a Japanese Bobtail are often relatively small, and it takes a long time before kittens are available.

Although it may be difficult to buy a Japanese Bobtail in other places of the world, it is very important that you buy your Japanese Bobtail from a licensed breeder. In the United States there is a higher change to get a Japanese Bobtail. Unfortunately, when breeding cats, the breeder does not always make the right choices. They only breed for the money and don’t think about the health of the kittens. Do you want to know if you make a safe choice? Often when a breeder breeds more than one breed, he only does this for the money. Good breeders are interested in the future of the breed and are usually members of a breed club. It is also important that you know for sure that the kitten has stayed with its mother for the first 8 weeks. This is essential for his health. If you have to wait a little longer than 8 weeks for a kitten, this is a good sign!

When you are going to see the kitten, it is important to make sure he looks healthy. If a kitten is healthy then the eyes are clear, and he looks clean and not malnourished. Next to that the kitten should be playful and curious. It is also important that you ask the necessary questions about worming and vaccinations. The mother queen can also be a good indicator if the kitten is healthy or not. If the mother queen is social, fresh and clean, chances are that the kitten will be taken good care of as well.

In addition, it is important to consider whether you have enough time to give your Japanese Bobtail sufficient attention. Preferably there will always be someone in the house. If you choose to buy one anyway and do not give him enough attention, this will be bad for his health and he will probably die much sooner.


How much does a Janapse Bobtail cost?

On average, a Japanese Bobtail costs around $1200. The price depends on the breeder where you buy a Japanese Bobtail. If the price is much lower you can assume the kittens aren’t healthy.

Often you can get in touch with a recognised breeder through associations to make sure you are buying a healthy cat. If you choose to import a Japanese Bobtail from the United States, we can assure you that you will get a healthy cat, because the supply is larger in the United States. You can visit the website of The International Cat Association (TICA), to search for a good breeder.

Japanese Bobtail standing up

Do you also choose the Japanese Bobtail?

The Japanese Bobtail is a warm and cozy cat that can brighten up any household. Do you also have a Japanese Bobtail in your house? What are your experiences with this breed? Do things stand out? Do you have any tips for our readers? Let us know in the comments under this article!

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We are a team of cat lovers, doing our best to create and spread information about cats. On you will read all about different cat breeds, and what makes them so special. You will also find information about grooming and training your cat. Be sure to leave us a reply if you like our article.

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