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Alan Robinson, Animal Photography
This fun-loving cat brings good luck to everyone who is fortunate enough to live with him — or so it’s believed in his homeland of Japan. It must be true, because who wouldn’t enjoy spending time with a happy, playful cat who makes friends with everyone. His coat can be short or long and comes in calico as well as other colors and patterns.
The Japanese Bobtail has a naturally short tail that has kinks and curves. The tail may be flexible or rigid, and no two tails are alike in this breed.
The Japanese Bobtail is surrounded by many legends and traditions. A tricolored cat with a beckoning paw and a bobbed tail is a symbol of good fortune in Japan, and the Bobtail has been depicted in art and described in writing in that country for at least 1,000 years.
His stump of a tail, which resembles a pom-pom, is the result of a natural genetic mutation. Other characteristics of the breed are a triangular head, high cheekbones, a long nose, oval eyes that may be blue or odd colored, and hind legs that are slightly longer than the front legs. The Japanese Bobtail is a small cat, weighing 5 to 10 pounds. He has a soft, silky coat that can be short or long and comes in a variety of colors and patterns, but the tricolor is most popular.
The Japanese Bobtail is active and intelligent. It’s not unusual to find him splashing his paw in water, carrying toys around, or playing fetch. He is highly curious and loves to explore his surroundings. Japanese Bobtails are talkative, communicating with a wide range of chirps and meows. Their voices are described as almost songlike. These are outgoing cats who get along well with children and other pets, including dogs, and adjust to travel with ease. They love people and are often seen riding on a shoulder so they can supervise everything going on.
The Japanese Bobtail coat is easy to groom with twice-weekly brushing or combing. You’ll need to brush him more often during the spring and fall shedding seasons. Trim the nails as needed.
The Japanese Bobtail is well suited to any home with people who will love him and give him the attention and play he desires. Keep him indoors to protect him from cars, diseases spread by other cats, and attacks from other animals.
The Japanese Bobtail is surrounded by many legends and traditions. A tricolored cat with a beckoning paw and a bobbed tail is a symbol of good fortune in Japan, and the Bobtail has been depicted in art and described in writing in that country for at least 1,000 years. He is a natural breed, not one that was man-made.
Japanese Bobtails were first imported to the United States in 1968. Shorthaired Bobtails were recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1976, followed by longhaired Bobtails in 1993.
The Japanese Bobtail is active and intelligent. It’s not unusual to find him splashing his paw in water, carrying toys around, or playing fetch. He is highly curious and loves to explore.
Japanese Bobtails are talkative, communicating with a wide range of chirps and meows. Their voices are described as almost songlike. These are outgoing cats who get along well with children and other pets, including dogs, and adjust to travel with ease. They love people and are often seen riding on a shoulder so they can supervise everything going on.
The Japanese Bobtail is highly intelligent. Challenge his brain by teaching him tricks and providing him with puzzle toys that will reward him with kibble or treats when he learns to manipulate them.
Always choose a kitten from a breeder who raises litters in her home and handles them from an early age. Meet at least one and ideally both of the parents to ensure that they have nice temperaments.
All cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit diseases. Any breeder who claims that her breed has no health or genetic problems is either untruthful or unknowledgeable about the breed. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
That said, the Japanese Bobtail is generally healthy, and no major health problems are associated with the breed. Nonetheless, it’s always wise to buy from a breeder who provides a written health guarantee.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new kitten into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the more common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Japanese Bobtail at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to protect his overall health.
The shorthaired Bobtail has a medium-length coat that is soft and silky, without a noticeable undercoat. The longhaired variety has a medium-length to long coat with a soft, silky texture and a ruff on the chest. The coat typically is shorter at the shoulders, gradually lengthening toward the rear end.
The Japanese Bobtail coat is easy to groom with twice-weekly brushing or combing. You’ll need to brush him more often during the spring and fall shedding seasons.
The only other grooming the Japanese Bobtail needs is regular nail trimming and ear cleaning if the ears look dirty. Use a gentle cleanser recommended by your veterinarian. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
Start brushing, nail trimming, and teeth brushing when your cat is a kitten, and he will be accepting of these activities later on.
You want your Japanese Bobtail to be happy and healthy so you can enjoy your time with him, so do your homework before you bring him home. For more information on the history, personality, and looks of the Japanese Bobtail, or to find breeders, visit the websites of the Cat Fanciers Association, Cats Center Stage, the Fanciers Breeder Referral List, and The International Cat Association.
Put at least as much effort into researching your kitten as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
A reputable breeder will abide by a code of ethics that prohibits sales to pet stores and wholesalers and outlines the breeder’s responsibilities to their cats and to buyers. Choose a breeder who has performed the health certifications necessary to screen out genetic health problems to the extent that is possible, as well as one who raises kittens in the home. Kittens who are isolated can become fearful and skittish and may be difficult to socialize later in life.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include kittens always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any kitten, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your feline friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and unhealthy catteries can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick kitten, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy kittens.
Be patient. Depending on what you are looking for, you may have to wait six months or more for the right kitten to become available. Many breeders won't release kittens to new homes until they are between 12 and 16 weeks of age.
Before you buy a kitten, consider whether an adult Japanese Bobtail might be a better choice for your lifestyle. Kittens are loads of fun, but they’re also a lot of work and can be destructive until they reach a somewhat more sedate adulthood. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health. If you are interested in acquiring an adult cat instead of a kitten, ask breeders about purchasing a retired show or breeding cat or if they know of an adult cat who needs a new home.
The Japanese Bobtail is an unusual and uncommon breed. It is unlikely that you will find one in a shelter or through a rescue group, but it doesn’t hurt to look. Sometimes a pedigreed cat ends up at a shelter after losing his home to an owner’s death, divorce, or change in economic situation.
Here are some tips to help you find and adopt the right cat from a rescue group or shelter.
1. Use the Web
Sites like Petfinder.com and Adopt-a-Pet.com can have you searching for a Japanese Bobtail in your area in no time. The site allows you to be very specific in your requests (housetraining status, for example) or very general (all the Japanese Bobtails available on Petfinder across the country). AnimalShelter.org can help you find animal rescue groups in your area. Also some newspapers have “pets looking for homes” sections you can review.
Social media is another great way to find a cat. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.
2. Reach Out to Local Experts
Start talking with pet pros in your area about your desire for a Japanese Bobtail. That includes vets, cat sitters, and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a cat, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.
3. Talk to Breed Rescue
Networking can help you find a cat that may be the perfect companion for your family. Most people who love Japanese Bobtails love all Japanese Bobtails. That’s why breed clubs have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless cats. Start with the Fanciers Breeder Referral List. You can also search online for Japanese Bobtail rescues in your area.
4. Key Questions to Ask
You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a cat. These include:
Wherever you acquire your Japanese Bobtail, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter, or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with pet lemon laws, be sure you and the person you get the cat from both understand your rights and recourses.
Kitten or adult, take your Japanese Bobtail to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems and work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
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