Critter Culture
The Fun-Loving Japanese Bobtail

The Fun-Loving Japanese Bobtail

Critter Culture Staff



The Japanese bobtail is a super friendly cat breed. Despite the breed's name, legends say that the Japanese bobtail actually originates from China, and these fun-loving felines were brought to Japan over 1,000 years ago as a gift to the emperor. Introduced into the West in the late 1960s, Japanese bobtails are active and affectionate companions that will spice up your home life and steal your heart.


They have a unique bobtail

As their name implies, the Japanese bobtails have short, bobbed tails. This was originally a natural phenomenon due to a recessive gene but now occurs through selective breeding. Their tail is almost like a feline fingerprint: each one is so visually distinct, with specific angles, hair direction, and turns.

Bobtail cat grase / Getty Images


They love to play

orange and white japanese bobtail cat playing on a cat tree

The Japanese bobtail is a very active cat that loves to play and needs quite a bit of entertainment. Before adopting one, make sure you have enough time to spend with them during the day. Use a string, a piece of scrunched up paper, or a cat toy to entertain your furry friend. Letting them be outside to hunt or explore is also a good way to make them happy.


They are very sociable

Japanese bobtail domestic cat looks into camera lens. Tortoise cat with green eyes

Unlike other types of cats, with the Japanese bobtail, you don't have to worry whether they like people or guests. As the bell rings, they will rush to the door to greet visitors. They are sociable animals that enjoy the company of humans, and they are always happy to relax and hang out with all family members. They also adjust easily to living in an apartment.


Japanese bobtails are a chatty breed

Japanese bobtail cat

Japanese bobtails are very vocal cats. They have a delicate voice that they can modulate in many ways, and they're often very chatty. If spoken to, they will most likely reply, and you will be amazed at how good they are at communicating their needs to you. It almost feels like they have a huge vocabulary.


They are easy to train and enjoy traveling

These very agile and active animals are easy to train. Their sociability makes them keen to interact with humans and to please their people, so a system of treats as rewards is enough to encourage them to do what you want. It's fairly simple to teach them tricks, given how much they love to play and be active. Additionally, they are very curious and love to explore new environments, and therefore aren't fussy travelers.

Sweet fluffy cat with yellow eyes. Pets. Hypoallergenic breed of cats. Japanese Bobtail Vagengeym_Elena / Getty Images


Minimal grooming requirements

There are two types of Japanese bobtails: short-haired or long-haired. Luckily, grooming is equally easy for both coat types since neither type mats easily. Brushing them once a week is enough, and baths are rarely necessary. Like other cats, they will shed more during the warmer seasons, so expect to do some extra vacuuming during the summer.

Black Japanese bobtail cat outside NancyAyumi / Getty Images


Your Japanese bobtail's diet

Japanese bobtails don't have special dietary requirements, but it's better to discuss with your vet what to feed them. Cats' diet can vary a lot as they age, and neutered or spayed cats can be prone to weight gain. Listen closely to your vet's advice and feed your cat only high-quality cat food. In terms of wet food, Japanese bobtails tend to prefer fish, so you'll make them happy if you feed it to them at least once a week.

Japanese bobtail Cat fuiyau yap / Getty Images


General care

Changing the litter once every couple of days is a good habit that will prevent your cat from getting upset and relieving themselves somewhere else in the house. Also, always have a bowl of fresh water next to the food. Even better, consider getting a water fountain, since cats can be pretty fussy about clean water.

Cat on washing machine asasirov / Getty Images


Health concerns

Black and white japanese bobtail on purple background

Japanese bobtails are a generally healthy breed, not prone to any particular disease. As they age, they can become more prone to kidney problems and urinary tract infections but typically have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. So, if you choose to adopt a Japanese bobtail, you can be sure that your friend will most likely be with you for a very long time.


They are very important in Japanese culture

bobtail black cat in the shadow of the myrrh tree

Bobtails have a place of honor in Japanese culture. They were considered Imperial pets but soon became an integral part of Japanese society as protectors of grain supplies and silkworms. Legends and myths began to flourish about these cats, and they are considered today as a symbol of luck and prosperity. Maneki-nekos, the popular statues of fortune cats, are Japanese bobtails.


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