Japanese Bobtail Profile

History of the Japanese Bobtail:

The Japanese Bobtail is a naturally occurring breed of cat that believed to have arrived in Japan over 1,000 years ago. It is generally thought that these cats originated in China or Korea, although there have been references made about cats with tail deformities from all over Asia.

Cats were kept by Japanese nobility who would walk them on a lead. However, that changed when an infestation of rodents threatened to ruin the silk industry and in 1602 Japanese authorities decreed that all noble cats were to be released in order to control the rodent population.

In 1968, the Japanese Bobcat was sent to America by a lady called Judy Crawford who had lived in Japan for the past 15 years and been breeding the Japanese Bobtail there. Two cats were imported, a tortoiseshell and white female called Madame Butterfly and a red and white male called Richard.  These cats were sent to a breeder by the name of Elizabeth Freret and the pair soon produced kittens. They were first shown in 1969.

The Japanese Bobcat is a symbol of good luck and happiness when found in the traditional colour pattern of mi-ke (which means three fur), which is white with red and black patches. This cat has been identified with the famous “Beckoning Cat” (see image below)

Beckoning cat

Appearance of the Japanese Bobtail:

The Japanese Bobtail is a short haired cat of moderate size. The body is lean and muscular with slender legs, hind legs are a little longer than the front legs.

The head is wedge-shaped with a long face, high cheekbones and large, oval eyes. All eye colours are acceptable. Ears are large and upright.

The coat lies flat against the body, with soft and silky fur. it is said the Japanese Bobtail doesn’t shed a great deal. All coat colours are permitted but the most sought after is the mi-ke (pronounced meekay), mentioned above.

The tail of the Japanese Bobtail is short, the length is between 5-10 cm long. It comes in many shapes and sizes, most are curled,  the fur on the tail is longer than the rest of the body.

Temperament of the Japanese Bobtail:

This is an extremely intelligent and lively breed of cat who remains this way well into adulthood. Because of this, they are easy to train to do tricks or walk on a leash. They are extremely curious, active and playful. They are a talkative breed of cat and it is said that they have a “melodious chant” which they use when they are happy.

They get along with children and other pets and make a great family pet.


12 -14 years.

Also see:

Cat breeds

Image courtesy of *suika*

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