Japanese Bobtail | Information & Cat Breed Facts


Japanese bobtail belongs to one of the oldest breeds of cats, descriptions of these cats are found in ancient manuscripts, which are several centuries old. In Japan, these cats are deified; numerous legends and signs are associated with them.

Japanese Bobtail
Japanese Bobtail

Japanese bobtail cats are outwardly quite ordinary, except for one characteristic detail – they have a short tail. But cats do not complex about the lack of a long tail. They are very mobile and curious animals. They are suitable for anyone who wants to have an active pet that remains playful even in old age.

There is even a small maneki figure, some or a nodding cat, which depicts a bobtail with a raised paw. According to legend, this figure brings good luck, it can often be found in Japan, it is almost everywhere in shops, in restaurants, etc.

Breed History

Japanese bobtail is a very ancient breed, which is at least 1000 years old. According to legend, these cats were delivered from China, as a gift from the Chinese emperor to the Japanese.

Another story says that the Japanese Bobtail cat has been a companion to Korean and Chinese traders since the 6th century, guarding the contents of holds (especially silkworms) from rats. Thus, over time, Japanese merchants also appreciated these animals, and later rumors reached the emperor.

In fact, both legends do not contradict each other, and can exist simultaneously. Japanese traditions and folklore in general, contain a lot of references to short-tailed cats, as well, three-colored bobtail depicted in engravings of the Edo period (1603-1867).

For many centuries, the Japanese Bobtail cat breed has been the exclusive domain of the imperial family and senior officials. However, in the 15th century there was an urgent need to protect grain and silkworm stores from rodents. After all, with the growth of industry and population growth, the number of rodents grew exponentially.

The emperor issued a special decree in which “ordinary mortals” were also allowed to have these cats. Accordingly, they began to fulfill an important function, protecting grain depots and valuable silkworms from rodents. And the black-red color on a white background was considered a symbol of good luck – they were called “Mi-Ke”, which means “Three Furs”. In Japan, this is true today.

Three individuals were introduced to the United States in 1968, and by 1976, the shorthair was recognized by the Cat Lovers Association. But the long-haired Japanese bobtail received CFA recognition only in 1993.

Country of origin: Japan

Japanese Bobtail
Japanese Bobtail

Physical characteristics of the Japanese Bobtail

Japanese bobtail combines high intelligence and aesthetic beauty, everyone knows that these qualities are very highly valued in the East. By far the brightest visiting card of the breed is the tail of the Japanese bobtail in the form of a pompom. This form of the tail was created by nature itself, the length of the tail does not exceed 7 cm. It is the structure of the tail that served as the basis for the name of the breed.

Interestingly, the tail of each Japanese bobtail is unique, like fingerprints. You should be careful if you take the cat in your arms, because Bobtail tail is very fragile and easily injured.

The most popular and sought-after color is tortoiseshell, in Japanese mi-ke, which means three wools, colors can be different. If the coat has a lot of white, often the eyes of these cats are of different colors, one is blue, the other is golden.

These cats are valued more. Someone compares the shorthair of Japanese bobtail with porcelain figurines, for the smoothness of the coat. Semi-long-haired bobtail tail looks more advantageous, which looks like a chrysanthemum flower. Their hair is longer on the collar and on the stomach, there are breeches on the hind legs.

Shedding occurs twice a year, but the tail remains unchanged. The shape of the head forms an equilateral triangle, the eyes have an eastern slanting shape, the ears are large, tilted slightly forward. The body is long and muscular, but the chest is narrow. Moreover, the hind legs are longer than the front back straight, because in a calm position, the hind legs are bent.

Japanese Bobtail
Japanese Bobtail

Character and temperament of the Japanese Bobtail

The Japanese Bobtail cat breed is playful and friendly. These pets show their love and affection for each of the members of their family, because historically it has been such that for many hundreds of years they lived together with people, enjoying respect and kindness.

We can say that they have a harmonious relationship with people genetically, which is why they are very attached to their family, and will really be sad if you go on vacation and do not take your pet with you.

The sharp and flexible mind of Japanese bobtail can sometimes surprise you – they easily open doors, turn door handles and even latches, and sometimes it’s not even clear how. Their playful disposition and great love for their family are manifested literally in everything, including their “talkativeness.” Also, they love children and play with them with joy, but we must make sure that children do not twist their tail and do not squeeze the animal too much.

These cats do not like to be alone, and if any of the owners is at home, with a probability of 99%, the bobtail will spend time with the person. On the other hand, when you go to work, the cat will not be uncomfortable, since he knows that you will be back.

They sometimes remember seemingly insignificant everyday moments. For example, it is worth feeding the cat at night and he will wake you up for this constantly. Therefore, one must be careful with what to teach Japanese Bobtail. Also, they have a deep hunter instinct, because for hundreds of years they hunted rodents to help people.

Japanese Bobtail
Japanese Bobtail


The average life span of these cats is 13-15 years. There is no hereditary predisposition to any disease in Japanese bobtail cats. They are distinguished by good health and good endurance.

In the united states, the Japanese bobtail is reputed to be a robust, healthy and long-lived breed. This cannot be confirmed or refuted in Europe due to the scarce presence of the breed in this continent.

It is said that they do not have the same problems as other tailless breeds, such as manx, because their genetic mutation is different. However, there is still not enough information about it.

Japanese Bobtail
Japanese Bobtail

Basic care

There are no special requirements for the maintenance of the Japanese bobtail cats. They must be fed in accordance with the general rules of a balanced diet. The feed must be of high quality. Due to the activity of animals, they need a lot of space. The temperature regime, as well as the care features, depend on the length of the coat.

Japanese bobtail cats feeding

These Asians do not require any special menu. Japanese bobtail cats can be fed a regular meal with a predominance of lean meat. 25-30% of the daily food should be vegetables or cereals – in order for the cat’s body to receive the necessary carbohydrates and dietary fiber. The recommended feeding regimen for kittens under six months is 3-4 times a day, then it is advisable to transfer to two meals a day.

In the case of the selection of ready-made feeds, it is necessary to choose a category according to general characteristics – age, length of hair, special cases (castration, pregnancy, etc.). There is no special food for bobtails, as there is no need for them.

Japanese bobtail cats coat cleaning

Japanese bobtails are clean cats and they themselves carefully lick their fur. It is necessary to wash them specially only in case of urgent need – when the animal is dirty in something or smells unpleasant. Too often (more often than once every 3-4 months) it is not worth bathing the cat, as this can “discourage” their natural reflex, the pet will stop cleaning itself.

Japanese bobtail
Japanese bobtail

With regard to combing the coat, then this should be done first of all in the long-haired representatives of the breed. During the molting period, it is better to use a special glove, with which you can remove the hairs that have fallen from the cat’s body. In short-haired cats, even during the shedding process, the hair falls out a little, there is no need for combing.

Japanese bobtail cats’ eyes and ears

Japanese bobtail cats have large ears and need to be cleaned often – at least once a week. It is better to use soft napkins and special alcohol-free animal products for treating the ear canal.

It is recommended to closely monitor the condition of the cat’s eyes. Its large size makes this organ a target for dust and hairs, which can lead to lacrimation, inflammation, and scab formation. To avoid these troubles, you must daily remove any discharge or crusts from your pet’s eyes with a cotton swab moistened with warm water. Do not use cleansers (lotions or eye drops) unless recommended by your veterinarian.

Conditions of detention

Special conditions of detention for the Japanese bobtail are not required, but the high activity of the animal suggests that the house should have enough space for games and there should be various devices for physical activity. In addition, due to its activity, the Japanese bobtail can run out the open front door, jump out of the window or fall off the closet, so the home should be as safe as possible for him.

Japanese bobtail
Japanese bobtail

Japanese bobtail fun facts

  • A feature of the Japanese bobtail breed is that it develops rapidly, and is also born rather large.
  • The “pour and go” ad is most likely targeted at cat owners as well. After all, Japanese bobtail cats love to feast on food when no one is watching them, and ideally, when no one is around.
  • The Japanese bobtail was officially recognized 20 years later than the short-haired.
  • The breed can cost roughly $ 500.

Japanese Bobtail cat breed highlights

  • The breed comes in two varieties: short-haired (more preferred) and long-haired.
  • Japanese bobtails are creatures with fantastic curiosity and super jumping ability, so perfectionists who dream of an imposing couch cat are likely to be disappointed in them.
  • Despite the fact that Japan is considered the birthplace of the breed, it received its official name from American felinologists.
  • It was the Japanese bobtails that served as the prototype for the famous maneki-neko mascots (literally from Japanese – “inviting cat”), designed to bring good luck in trade deals and to invite customers. Traditional figurines represent a well-fed purr with a raised paw in greeting, which makes a certain sense. The fact is that in a relaxed state, Japanese bobtails like to keep one of their front legs suspended and freeze in this position for a long time.
  • Almost three centuries of freedom and uncontrolled interbreeding with street cats have been good for Japanese bobtails. In particular, modern representatives of the breed are distinguished by enviable health and do not suffer from genetic ailments.
  • The short fluffy tails of Japanese bobtails are very sensitive, so any careless touch to this part of the body causes pain and discomfort to the animal.
  • Japanese bobtail cats are one of the few cat breeds that do not perceive water procedures as a catastrophe of a universal scale.
  • In the Land of the Rising Sun, tricolor bobtails were especially revered. Usually these were white cats with chaotically scattered black and red spots on the coat – the so-called mike color.
  • Hunting instincts are still strong in Japanese bobtails, so they love to catch insects and small animals. For animals living in city apartments, such gambling is fraught with injuries: a carried away cat can easily jump out the window or fall off the balcony.
  • The breed is not very friendly towards strangers, so do not expect the Japanese Bobtail to rub against the legs of a random guest stopping by for a cup of tea.

Breed conclusions

The Japanese Bobtail is a cat with an original appearance and high intelligence. The inhabitants of Japan have treated him with respect and reverence for centuries. It will become a wonderful companion pet, always ready for warm communication and play. These representatives of felines from the Land of the Rising Sun feel good in the company of other animals, do not show aggression towards them and their household. Despite their exotic appearance, these are rather unpretentious pets that require more love and affection than complex grooming procedures. Bobtails are bred mainly on the territory of the American continent. But you can also meet its representatives in many other countries.