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What are the differences between these two cat breeds?
Japanese bobtail's telltale characteristic, of course, is a short “bunny” tail that can be flexible or rigid, with one or more curves, angles, or kinks, ideally extending out from the body no more than three inches. The fur fans out to create the look of a pompom on a shorthair, or a blooming chrysanthemum on a longhair. Each cat in the breed has a unique tail.
The Japanese Bobtail is known as well for its tricolor calico pattern called “mike” meaning threefur and pronounced “meekay” but other popular colors are black and white or red and white. He also comes in solid colors and tortoiseshell and tabby patterns. Some cat registries permit pointed or sepiatone coats. Bold, dramatic markings and vividly contrasting colors are a trademark of this breed. The eyes can be any color, including blue or oddeyed.
The silky coat can be shorthaired or longhaired. In both lengths, the cats have a little undercoat. Longhaired Bobtails may have a ruff around the neck, long fur on the belly, and fur that is noticeably longer on the tail and upper hind legs than it is on the upper part of the body. Some have tufts of fur on the ears and toes.
He has a slender but muscular body, long, slender legs that are noticeably longer in the rear, although they are angled in such a way that the body remains level rather than rising up toward the rear, and a finely chiseled head with high cheekbones, large oval eyes set at a slant, and large, upright, expressive ears.
With his short tail, tufted ears and toes, and powerful body, the American Bobtail has a distinctively wild look, similar to that of a bobcat, but he’s a domestic cat through and through. He ranges in size from medium to large and matures slowly, taking up to three years to reach his full size.
Since this breed is distinguished by his short tail, it’s as good a place as any to begin a description of his looks. Each tail is unique. Most are 1 to 4 inches long, but they can be shorter or longer. The ideal bobtail is flexible and expressive, long enough to be visible above the back when the cat is alert, and maybe straight with a fat pad at the end, slightly curved or kinked, or bumpy along the length of the tail. Kittens are almost never completely tailless, as sometimes happens with the Manx. Some litters have kittens with fulllength tails. They won’t be stars in the show ring, but they can be used in breeding programs.
The noticeably athletic body is covered with shaggy fur in two lengths. The shorthaired American Bobtail actually has a mediumlength double coat with hard outer hairs overlaying a soft, downy undercoat. When the coat is a dilute color, a lynx point or a silver, the coat may have a softer texture. Longhaired Bobtails have a ruff around the neck and long hair on the britches (upper hind legs), belly, and tail. On the face, the longhair may look as if he is sporting mutton chops. The fur comes in all colors and patterns. The eyes can be any color except odd.
This active and affectionate Japanese Bobtail cat will “talk” to you in a soft, chirpy voice. You will be amazed by the range of his feline vocabulary. He’s not loud at all, but he does have a lot to say and a range of tones in which to say it.
This is an adaptable cat who travels well, making him a good choice for boisterous families or people who enjoy an RV lifestyle. On the downside, he can be headstrong, and it’s difficult to change his mind about which things are okay to do and which ones aren’t. He is a busy cat and must have companionship people or another Bobtail would be his first choice, but a dog will do in a pinch to keep him entertained when you are outearning the money for his food and toys. Remember that a bored Bobtail is an amazingly creative Bobtail, and not necessarily in a way that you will appreciate.
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