Japanese Bobtail Kittens For Sale

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An Extrememely Healthy Cat with a Naturally Bobbed Tail Famous for Good Luck

Japanese Bobtail Kittens For Sale

Distinguished by a uniquely abbreviated tail which results only from a naturally occurring recessive gene, the Japanese Bobtail holds a place of honor in feline history. Different from the Manx who is born without a tail altogether due to a dominant gene, the Japanese Bobtail has had centuries of renown within Asian culture where its rabbit-like tail was considered good luck.

A replica of this cat is often seen as a statue welcoming visitors to Japanese homes and businesses similar to the prevalence of flamingo statues in Florida and “lawn jockeys” elsewhere in the U.S.

The Japanese Bobtail has dominated traditional folklore and art for many years. The “maneki neko” ("beckoning cat" or "inviting cat") is a common image of a Japanese Bobtail seated with one paw raised. Although Japanese domestic cats from China and Korea can be traced back as early as the sixth century, these original cats do not clearly reveal bobbed tails. By the beginning of the seventeenth century, numerous Japanese woodcut prints and painted silkscreen paintings portrayed tricolored cats with tails like balls of fluff. These cats which were called Mi-Ke (pronounced mee-kay) were mostly white with patches of red and black and were believed to influence the arrival of especially good luck. The Japanese nation treasured such cats for their grace and beauty, some of which were also kept in the temples and homes of the Imperial Japanese families.

Between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, however, when the Japanese silk industry established a dominant role in international commerce but was threatened by the destruction caused by the silkworms and their cocoons, the government decided that cats should be set free to protect the industry along with the storage of grain. The Japanese Bobtail suddenly assumed the role of “street urchin,” instead of the pampered pet of its long storied heritage.

Ironically, this did little to convince the cat of its new mission. One Japanese writer sardonically described the cat by saying it had no intention of hunting for rats and mice when it would rather be carried and stroked by beautiful women.

Although historical records do not fully explain the origin of this cat’s tail, Japanese folklore does. A well-known legend tells of a sleeping cat whose tail ignited from a spark from an indoor hearth. In a frenzy, the cat bolted through the Imperial City spreading the fire everywhere, leaving all its homes in ruins. Outraged by this tragedy, the Emperor reacted by proclaiming that all cats must have their tails chopped short so this would never happen again. While we know genetics would not be affected by such a grotesque event, the legend lives on.

The first person to initiate a formal breeding program in the U.S. was Elizabeth Freret who imported three Japanese Bobtails from Japan in 1968. The breed became immediately popular, and was accepted for Championship status in the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) in 1976. As of 2011, there were a number of Japanese Bobtail breeders based in North America, with a few in Europe and at least one in Japan. Yet the breed still remained relatively rare.

In 1993, the longhair Japanese Bobtail was also accepted by CFA for championship competition. In tribute to this elegant cat, a large painting from the 15th century hangs in the Freer Gallery of Art in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., showing two lovely longhaired Japanese Bobtails. Their coats are neatly parted down their backs and their bobbed tails have large plumes. Aside from the coat, there is no distinguishable difference between the shorthair and longhair Japanese Bobtails.

Because the short bobbed tail is a mutation caused by the expression of a recessive gene, as long as both parents are Bobtails, all kittens born to a litter will have bobtails as well. However, the progeny of only one bobtailed parent are much less likely to possess the trait. Although the dominant gene which produces the similarly short tails of the Manx cat can be responsible for certain serious health risks, no such medical issues have transpired from the Bobtail gene. Originating from a large, diverse pool of genes, these have been extremely healthy cats for hundreds of years.

While Japanese Bobtails are not exceptionally large cats, their kittens tend to be unusually large in comparision to other breeds. With litters of three to four kittens, the newborns mature quickly with an ability to venture out on their own earlier than usual, which also means landing in trouble earlier, something all kittens eventually do! Females weigh between five and seven pounds, while males weigh eight to ten pounds. With a low mortality rate and high disease resistance, kittens born to a pair of Bobtail parents are never born totally tailless, nor are they born with full tails; all tails are, predictably, bobbed.

A rare phenomenon called heterochromia, or having eyes of two different colors, is sometimes manifested in Japanese Bobtails with primarily white coats. In any breed of cat, this trait is known as “oddeyed,” but is more prevalent within the Japanese Bobtail lineage with the specific exception of the Turkish Van. Typically, one iris will be blue ("silver" in Japanese breeding terms) while the other will be yellow ("gold"). Considered very special, kittens that display this condition usually are sold at premium prices.

Most members of the Japanese Bobtail breed are active, clever, intelligent cats, with a strong inclination to express affection to their human companions. It is relatively easy to teach them to perform tricks, and they greatly enjoy human-participation activities like walking on a harness and leash, and playing fetch. Also quite talkative, they often communicate with soft voices capable of a whole range of tones, along with whirs and whistles, which has generated a popular myth that they can sing.

Whether splashing in water, retrieving a tossed object, or pouncing and prancing around with a beloved toy, Japanese Bobtails love to play. When not so engaged, these busy cats are off exploring every nook and cranny, whether it involves investigating the contents of a cupboard, or leaping to the top of a bookcase for a better view of what is happening outside. These active cats are not generally lap cats. While they will settle down for a short nap, they are too busy to stay still for long, and are quickly on to the next adventure. If you are busy with your own chores, they are more than willing to lend a paw when you need it (and even when you don't). They are easy to train, easy to show and easy to blend within a houshold of other pets and appreciative children.

All CFA-registered Japanese Bobtails can be traced back to the original imports from Japan. Any color except the Siamese pattern or Abyssinian type “agouti” is permitted, with the most popular being the “mi-ke” colors of white; black; red; black and white; red and white; and tortoiseshell. If bicolored, the more dramatic the contrast in colors and bold the markings, the better.

The tail is not the only distinguishing physical characteristic. Japanese Bobtails have high, chiseled cheekbones and large eyes set on a pronounced slant. The triangular head is topped with large, highset ears that accentuate their appearance of alertness and inquisitiveness. They are medium-sized cats with long slender bodies and powerful hind legs just made for jumping. The deep “Z” shape of the hind quarters gives tremendous power to their leap, giving the Japanese Bobtail the ability to spring to great heights with considerable ease. They are extremely muscular cats with graceful flowing movements.

Like our finger prints, no two tails are ever totally alike. The tail must be clearly visible and is composed of one or more curves, angles, kinks, or any combination thereof. The longest extension of the tail bone from the body should be no more than three inches. The direction in which the tail is carried is not important in the show ring. The tail may be flexible or rigid, and should be of a size and shape that harmonizes with the rest of the structure of the cat.

The Japanese Bobtail’s coat is soft and silky, with very little undercoat. Shorthairs have a mediumlength coat covering their powerful muscular bodies. The coat lies flat against the body emphasizing the cat’s elegant structure. The longhairs have a longer coat draping the body, with shag on the belly, and definite britches on the hindquarters beneath their pompon tails. The lack of undercoat in both hair lengths means there is little shedding other than during regular seasonal coat changes. The silky texture makes the longhair also less likely to mat or tangle. A regular light combing or brushing will keep your Japanese Bobtail's coat in top condition, and your cats(s) will love you for the extra attention.

Barron’s Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds—J. Anne Holgren