American Domestic Cat
American Domestic cats are a delightfully mixed bag of adorable features and personalities. No matter what you're looking for in a feline friend, there's undoubtedly a Domestic cat out there that will meet your criteria.
American Domestic Cat History
Domestic cats are arguably the most familiar of all the cat breeds—and certainly the most common. In fact, people actually refer to them as "common cats," as well as housecats and alleycats. The result of random-bred cats, they are the "mixed-breeds'' of the feline world.
The longhaired variety of the Domestic cat likely originated in Western Asia. They lived there for several centuries before being imported to Europe in the 16th century. In the 1700s, these cats departed on ships for the United States, where they worked—along with their shorthaired counterparts—as dedicated rodent catchers.
Early pioneers adored American Domestics for their work ethic and keen hunting skills. They provided these cats with shelter and food in exchange for keeping the barns and food storage areas free from vermin. It wasn't long before Domestics worked their way fully into their owners' lives. They graduated from the clean-up crew to beloved family members and have never looked back.
Though Domestics aren't pedigreed cats, some cat associations allow them to compete in shows in a general "housecat" category.
American Domestic Cat Traits
Unlike other breeds recognized by their specific physical characteristics, Domestic cats come in a wide range of colors, sizes, and builds. Still, they’re typically medium-sized and muscular.
Coat and Colouring
The coat of a Domestic cat comes in all colors, patterns, and lengths. Any coat combination that's genetically possible is on the table for this breed.
Distinctive Physical Traits
Perhaps American Domestic cats' most distinctive physical trait is their uniqueness. There are no hard and fast rules for these cats, which means the average Domestic may display any number of adorable features.
American Domestic Cat Temperament
As with their physical appearance, American Domestic cats' personalities vary. Some cats are chatty and like to be the life of the party, while others make for quiet, calm, lap cats. And some prefer to interact with their humans on an "as needed" basis—these are the most independent and aloof of the bunch.
Because of their background as barn cats and rodent catchers, American Domestics are typically athletic and agile, with strong hunting instincts. Using feather toys and other items they can pounce on or chase gives them a much-needed outlet for their natural tendencies.
Domestics also tend to enjoy keeping an eye on the outside world. High perches where they can safely look out at birds and other wildlife will keep them entertained for hours.
American Domestic Cat Care
Domestic cats require a high-quality diet. Because nutritional needs vary for kittens, adults, and senior cats, opt for a formula that's age-appropriate for your pet.
Obesity is a growing health concern for cats. To keep calories in check, portion out meals using a standard measuring cup, and reduce amounts if your cat gains weight. Also, keep an eye on how many treats you're giving them. As a guideline, treats should make up no more than 10% of a cat's daily calories.
In addition to their meals, make sure there's plenty of fresh, clean water available for your cat at all times.
Though American Domestics are excellent self-groomers, they still need regular brushing to keep their coats looking their best. Shorthaired cats can usually get by with weekly brushing using a rubber or steel comb. Longhaired cats are more prone to tangles and mats and may require daily brushing.
In addition to combing, trim their claws monthly to prevent overgrowth. Nails that get too long are more likely to get snagged on something and become torn or damaged. Overgrown nails can also grow into their paw pads, leading to pain or infection. In addition to clipping, a scratching post will help keep their nails in good shape and satisfy their instinct to scratch.
Finally, all cats need regular dental care—including at-home teeth brushing and professional dental exams and cleanings.
Roughly one out of every three cats in the United States is overweight or obese. Extra weight can contribute to other health risks, such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart problems. Your veterinarian is a great resource for tips on how to keep your cat at a healthy weight.
Reviewed 23 February 2021 by Annette Louviere, DVM