Is American Shorthair A Tabby? Facts You Should Know


Is American Shorthair A Tabby? Facts You Should Know

American Shorthair cats are smart and fairly energetic and are renowned for their hunting prowess. They are robust. But what sort of cats are these?

American Shorthair cats often have grey tabby coats and are well known for their rodent-catching skills. Additionally, the M-shaped mark on these cats’ foreheads reinforces the idea that they are tabby cats.

Is American Shorthair A Tabby
Image Credit: Tabby cat with blue eyes by AdinaVoicu (CC0 1.0) from Wikimedia
Image Credit: American Shorthair by Dustin Warrington (CC BY-SA 2.0) from Wikimedia

To be clear, a tabby is NOT a breed. Regardless of the breed or status, it is a generic coat type or pattern seen in many domestic cats. Usually, tabby cats display a specific coat pattern. But not all tabbies exhibit this. Some cats have tabby genes even if they don’t display any tabby traits.

The stripe or “mackerel” pattern on the sides of the body is one of the traditional tabby patterns. American Shorthairs come in various coat hues and patterns, with tabby being one of the most prevalent. So let’s check to see if these cats are tabby felines.

Tabby cats: The basics 

The term “tabby” is a common lingo among cat lovers. But not everyone is aware of its true significance and characteristics. So let’s examine the fundamentals of tabby.

As we mentioned, tabby is a coat pattern, not a specific feline breed. The French term tabis, meaning “a rich watered silk,” is the root of the phrase, which originally meant “striped silk taffeta.” The diverse coat patterns of tabby cats include mackerel or stripe, classic, ticking, and spotted patterns.

The patched tabby pattern is the fifth pattern in addition to the other four. This particular pattern is typically found among calico or tortoiseshell cats. We can find all five patterns in a wide range of feline breeds. Another feature that marks a cat as a tabby is the M-mark on the forehead. 

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Here are some common cat breeds in which tabby coats can be found.

  • Persian
  • American Shorthair
  • Bengal
  • Maine Coon
  • Abyssinian 

Are tabby and domestic shorthair cats the same?

Image Credit: Silver tabby cats by Elena Chochkova (CC BY-SA 3.0) from Wikimedia

Domestic cats come in shapes, sizes, patterns, and coat types. They also have tabby coat patterns. But are domestic shorthair cats the same as tabby cats?

If a domestic shorthair cat has the M marking on its forehead, it may be a tabby. Shorthaired cats are more likely to have tabby markings. The cats might be domestic or any recognized shorthaired cat breed; it makes no difference when it comes to being a tabby.

We must understand that domestic shorthaired cats belong to the category of “non-recognized” feline breeds. This is because they are distinct from recognized purebreds like the American or British Shorthair.

What does an American Shorthair cat look like?

American Shorthair cats look cute and fluffy. However, how can you distinguish this breed from others if you are not a pro? What do these cats look like?

American Shorthairs are sturdy cats, and all their physical features are well developed. So, when looking for these cats, look for the following features.

  • Broad chest
  • Strong jaws
  • Muscular neck
  • A well-developed muzzle
  • The thick and dense coat
  • The M mark on the forehead (if possess a tabby coat)
  • Rounded face
  • Bigger eyes that are close to each other

Additionally, an American Shorthair would have a meek and laid-back demeanor. Therefore, they don’t require a lot of your attention, either. Additionally, the likelihood that the cat you are viewing is an American Shorthair is extremely high if it has a silver tabby coat.

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American Shorthair cat vs. tabby

Both American Shorthair and tabby cats are recognized for having short hair and tabby coats. There are some distinctions between the two, though. So let’s concentrate on those.

American Shorthair cats and domestic shorthair cats are two distinct cat breeds. While the latter is a purebred cat, the former does not belong to any recognized breed. The distinctions between the two are shown in the table below.

DifferencesAmerican Shorthair CatsTabby/ Domestic Shorthair Cats
Appearance Come commonly in silver tabby patterns. 
They also possess a muscular built, wide body and face, with bigger eyes close to each other. 
Come in a rainbow of coat colors and patterns.
They also come in multiple sizes, shapes, and built but mostly have oval-shaped faces and slim bodies
Can be louder
Have mousing abilities 
Easy to train
Can be left alone at home 
More active during the night
Recognition Boasts pedigreeHave no official recognition 
Temperament Adaptable and good-natured Varies but usually friendly and adaptable
HeightUp to 14 inches Up to 10 inches
Domestication YesYes
Grooming NeedsMedium to lowUsually Low
Lifespan (average)15-20 years12-14 years
Living Environment Mainly indoors Both indoors and outdoors

Despite the differences between tabbies and American Shorthair cats, both species may make wonderful family pets. There cannot be an accurate comparison between them to determine which breed is superior. Depending on your lifestyle, you can choose any of these distinctive feline breeds as a pet.

Is M a special mark on all tabbies?

Image Credit: Ticked tabby cat with residual markings by Hisashi (CC BY-SA 2.0) from Wikimedia

Throughout the world, people admire tabby cats. These cats often have short hair and have various coat patterns and appearances. They do have one characteristic, though. It is what? Let’s examine.

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The M-shaped mark on their forehead is a characteristic shared by most tabby cats. This M mark is the subject of numerous stories and folktales that are more fiction than fact. These cats’ genetic makeup, nonetheless, accounts for the M mark.

According to experts, tabby is the product of three different gene types in domestic cats. Therefore, domestic cat breeds are where we primarily find tabby coat patterns. The pattern, however, may be hidden in certain cats while being visible in others. 

Do American Shorthair has M on their forehead?

Most American Shorthair cats are known for their brown and silver tabby coats. But this is not the only coat pattern found in this breed. So, do we find the M marking in all American Shorthair cats?

American Shorthair cats with a tabby coat display the M marking on their forehead. Since all tabby cats possess this mark, so do tabby American Shorthair cats. 

In his context, we must remember that American Shorthair cats can come in a rainbow of different patterns, including the following:

  • Classic
  • Mackerel
  • Ticked
  • Patched
  • Spotted 

American Shorthair similar breeds

The versatile American Shorthair felines are a pure joy to have as a pet. These are thick-furred cats that display a social and friendly demeanor. But are there any other cat breeds similar to this breed?

Here is a list of cats similar to the American Shorthair breeds and can easily be kept as indoor cats.

  • British Shorthair
  • European Shorthair
  • American Wirehair
  • Bengal Cat
  • Bombay
  • Egyptian Mau
  • Ocicat


Choose an American Shorthair if you want a purebred cat and are attracted by tabby coat patterns. These cats are strong and friendly and do well in a home with other animals. Not all American Shorthairs, though, have a tabby coat. Choose a cat from the breed with this coat pattern if you are particular about it.

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