Japanese Bobtail is a breed of short-tailed cat developed in East Asia in the 7th century. The Japanese bobtail enjoyed special status in Japan until 1602, when a government decree required that all cats be turned loose to control rodents, which were destroying that country’s silkworm. The Japanese bobtail was introduced in the United States by returning American soldiers after World War II (1939-1945).
The Japanese bobtail has a medium-sized, lean body. The back legs are longer than the front legs, but deeply angled leg joints keep the cat’s back level when it stands. The long, triangular head has high cheekbones. Large, oval-shaped eyes that slant down toward the nose are alert. Upright ears that tilt forward are set wide apart at right angles to the sides of the head. Thin, parallel lines of dark fur run along each side of the nose from tip to brow. The short, bushy tail is less than 7.5 cm (3 in) long. It resembles a pompom or a rabbit tail, and often appears crooked.
The Japanese bobtail’s medium-length fur is soft, silky, and thickest on the tail. The most popular color for this breed is a red, black, and white combination called Mi-Ke. Tradition says that a cat with this coloring brings good luck. The coat may also be bicolored. Regardless of coloring, the coat is noted for its dramatic, contrasting markings. The Cat Fanciers’ Association recognized this breed (Japanese Bobtail) in 1976.