Archive for the Japanese Bobtail category

Rare Breed Profile: Japanese Bobtail

Japanese Bobtail

The Japanese Bobtail cat is a rare breed that has also endured something of an identity crisis. It can’t seem to decide if it’s a cat or a rabbit. These animals have short, bobbed tails, as their monikers suggest, and they’ve even been known to hop to get from one place to another, ran than walk or run. That sounds more like a bunny than a kitty.

Still, even with their dual personalities, they make for winning companions for owners who appreciate fascinating back stories in their household pets.

Ancient History

That back story began 1,000 years ago, when the cats are believed to have begun breeding. They’re native to Asia, specifically Japan, though they don’t pop up a lot in written history until 1602, when the Japanese government demanded that all owners set their cats set free from their home and onto the streets of the country to help take care of a rodent infestation.

The rodents were eating all of the country’s highly valued silk worms, and the freed cats helped to eradicate the mice and rats and spare the silk worms. Buying or selling these cats was illegal, and so Japanese Bobtails began thriving on the streets, fending for themselves and seeking out their own food.

It wasn’t until 1968 that Japanese Bobtails were imported to the Western Hemisphere, but there are still very few breeders worldwide.


The Japanese Bobtail has large ears that are set wide apart and a broad muzzle. Their heads are shaped like equilateral triangles, and they have large oval eyes. They have long, skinny legs and long torsos that show off their muscles. They have five toes on each front foot and four in the rear.

These cats come in both short- and long-hair varieties, and the textures of both are soft and silky. Their nearly non-existent tails have one of several slightly curved articulations. They come in any color or pattern of color, including mono-colored. Calicoes are most popular.

Legends and Folklore

Cats figure prominently in Japanese folklore, and the Japanese Bobtail is no different. Japanese storytellers seem to revere the animals, lifting them to a position of great respect in their tales. While long-tailed cats are often revealed to be evil spirits, short-tailed cats are often portrayed as good luck charms.

There are even tales about how the Japanese Bobtail got its short tail, including one that tells of a cat whose tail caught on fire while it was sleeping.

Popular Culture

If you think you’ve never seen a Japanese Bobtail, think again. The popular Hello Kitty figure is based on a Japanese Bobtail, and it has become ubiquitous in Japan and abroad. And Muta, a character in “The Cat Returns,” is also based on a Japanese Bobtail.

Is The Rare Japanese Bobtail The Perfect Match For You?

Although the Japanese Bobtail is a breed that goes back several centuries, this breed is still incredibly rare. If you are fortunate enough to find one of these beautiful cats, you will have a wonderful pet.

The Japanese Bobtail was first developed in the seventeen hundreds in Japan. Unfortunately, the longhair cat gene is not dominant, so few kittens are born with the long coats required by the breed standard. To make breeding these cats even more difficult, two related longhairs are not bred together unless there is no other choice. This is because the Bobtail is a very healthy breed. Too much inbreeding would lead to the development of some dangerous genetic disorders.

This small cat breed weighs in at a very light six to nine pounds. However, the Bobtail may be small, but it is no weakling. These cats are actually very muscular. You can find Bobtails in a wide range of colors. They come in tortoiseshell, tabby, and bicolor patterns, as well as solid colors.

The short, fluffy rounded tail looks like a pompom and the big round eyes that are often two different colors are two of the most distinctive traits of the Japanese Bobtail. Bobtail owners prize cats with mismatched eyes, usually valuing a cat with one blue and one gold eye more highly than a cat with two blue eyes. Whether the eyes match or not, they appear to be especially large in the Bobtail’s neat, little triangular face. Luckily, big ears balance out the breed’s face. Oddly enough, these cats have back legs that are longer than their front legs. However, since they hold their back legs in a slightly crouching position, the difference in length is not noticeable.

If you want a quiet, placid cat, then you should not consider the Japanese Bobtail. These cats are very vocal and energetic. Most cat lovers do not mind the Bobtail’s mewling, since they realize that their cats are just conversing with them. These cats enjoy family life, although they are rarely available as pets. People who own a single cat from this breed should consider adding a second cat to the home, since the Japanese Bobtail loves the company of other cats. Be sure to give your cat plenty of toys, since the Bobtail breed needs a lot of playtime to keep him happy. If he doesn’t have enough toys, your Bobtail will create his own toys from household items, which can be a bit frustrating, since sunglasses and key rings have a tendency to disappear.

Since this breed is a longhair breed, you should be prepared to groom your Bobtail at least twice a week to avoid having his coat become matted. You may also want to bathe him once a month to cut down on dander.

So, if you want a cat breed that is a rare treasure and a wonderful family pet, then the Japanese Bobtail may just be the right choice for you. However, don’t be surprised if you can’t find a Bobtail kitten.

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