Japanese Bobtail portraitPortrait of a Japanese Bobtail Cat

The Japanese Bobtail cat is medium-sized and muscular with a sleek coat, lovely personality and unique, "bobbed" tail, usually about one quarter the length of a normal tail.

It is an ancient breed and a national treasure that is prized as a bearer of good fortune and is the model for the "beckoning cat" icons of Japanese culture.

Descriptions of the friendly cat with the powder-puff tail date back to 7th century Japan and the "beckoning cat", a Japanese Bobtail waving one paw, is even depicted in temples and palace walls.

These cats are most often white in color with van-type markings, meaning color on the head and tail. Calico is often commonly seen.

Odd-eyes or eyes of different colors occur regularly in the breed and are highly prized.

The hind legs are longer than the front, giving a unique profile, and the tail is about 3 inches in length with lots of fur.

The Japanese Bobtail is very intelligent and trainable and many are used in shows and circuses. They are dog-like and enjoy walking on a leash, fetching and learning more intricate tricks and balancing routines.


Japanese Bobtail cat descriptive wordsHow Do You Describe a Japanese Bobtail Cat?
Japanese Bobtail Cat-Stats

Japanese Bobtail Pair


Japanese Bobtail Sitting Up

The personality of the Japanese Bobtail cat is friendly, gentle and sweet, with just a little spice, and it is no wonder this exceptional kitty is a symbol of good luck.

This cat has enjoyed centuries of close companionship with people and makes for a tidy, kind and well-mannered housecat. 

Bright, active and friendly, ready to learn and curious about everything, they tend to be exceedingly "dog-like", particularly when it comes to learning behaviors and tricks.

They will quickly learn to fetch, walk in a harness and lead, and come when called. They are very agile and outgoing and have been known to do very well in Feline Agility competitions.

If they become attached to a favorite toy they will walk around the house with it and present it when company calls.

The Japanese Bobtail cat is recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA), the world's largest cat organization, and is a fairly popular pure-bred or "pedigreed" domestic cat breed. The Japanese Bobtail comes in any color or pattern except classic tabby, tiger cat or ticked.

Calico and parti-color are most common and desirable.

The coat is short and sleek, but some organizations permit a longer coat as well. Both are silky to the touch. Shedding is average and regular grooming is desired but not required.

These are lean medium-sized cats that have few breed-related health issues.

Because it is active and enjoys lots of interaction the Japanese Bobtail cat is a wonderful family pet that does well with considerate children, but resents teasing.

They do fine indoors but greatly enjoy the outdoors and love exploring in harness and lead.-Japanese Bobtail Cat Facts

Japanese Bobtail on green
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Japanese Bobtail Kitten!Japanese Bobtail Kitten!

Almost like a new puppy, Japanese Bobtail kittens are very active, curious and interactive. They will seek out each member of the family, and as they grow, they will create special greetings and games with everyone. 

They develop quickly and learn just as fast, but are so busy that they can get into trouble before they learn their limitations.

Any house with a Japanese Bobtail kitten must be kitten-proofed! Areas you might never consider like under the kitchen cabinets, or behind the fireplace need to be sealed off from these little explorers.

The Japanese Bobtail kitten looks exactly like a miniature adult. All members of a pure-bred litter will have bobtails, long-tailed individuals don't exist. 

A new Japanese Bobtail kitten will learn the household routine very quickly, and Japanese Bobtails are so notoriously tidy that an accident is nearly unheard of. Show them their foodbowl, litter pan and bed and say "welcome to the family!"

Japanese Bobtail mother and baby

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Japanese Bobtail CalicoJapanese Bobtail Calico

Head Shape: The head should be shaped like an equilateral triangle from the outer bases of the ears, across the top of the face and down the chin. Attention should be given to the high cheek bones. The nose is long and well defined by two parallel lines from tip to brow and displays a gentle dip at, or just below, eye level when viewed in profile. Muzzle: Gently rounded, with slight whisker break. There should be a strong chin with a straight bite. Ears: Large, tall and expressive. Outer ear margins from two vertical parallel lines set at right angles to the top line of the face. The ears should be penalized if flared or cradle set. The ears when held straight give the impression of being tilted forward. Eyes: Should be large and oval, defined from below by markedly high cheekbones. In profile, the eyes can be seen to have a distinct slanted set and do not protrude beyond the orbit. NOTE: Green, gold and copper eyes are acceptable in all coat colors, and blue and odd eyes are acceptable in all the white and “and white” coat colors. 

Body and Tail: Long, straight and slender, neither fragile nor heavy boned. The neck should be long and slender. The body should be medium in size, with good muscle tone. It should be neither tubular nor cobby. Legs: Long, slender and medium boned. The back legs are noticeable longer than the front when extended so the rear slants upward. When flexed and relaxed, the back legs cause the back to appear level. Feet: The paws are oval in shape, with five toes in front and four in back.Length: Short, not extending more than three inches from the body. Boning: Kinked and/or fused vertebrae along the entire length of the tail. The last bone may be gently felt to be pointed, not blunt. Hair: The hair of the tail fans out against the direction of the underlying bones, giving the appearance of a pom-pom, fan or bunny-tail depending on the configuration of the bone structure. NOTE: The tail is to be examined gently, with no pulling, twisting or attempts to straighten. 

Japanese Bobtail Cats

Coat: Medium in length, fine and silky without a noticeable undercoat. It should be neither short and close lying, nor long enough to display a ruff and pantaloons. A slight fringe on the belly and the britches is allowed. There is a long-haired variant as well, which is not typical.

Pattern: All colors are acceptable  except for ticked tabby and point-restricted markings. In all colors, preference is towards bold, dramatic markings and bright, vivid colors and strong contrasts, rather than specific amounts or proportions of any given color. Nose and paw pad leather is to be appropriate to the indicative coat color.

Overall Appearance: This is a medium sized cat with long clean lines, straight, slender limbs and firm muscle tone. The unique head shape and long nose give a very specific and exotic expression. The Japanese Bobtail cat is a lovely, friendly cat.


  • The Japanese Bobtail is the model for the "beckoning cat" a symbol of good luck, especially towards businesses. 
  • Statues of a tailless cat with one raised paw are abundant in Japanese culture, and the "beckoning cat" even adorns temples and palaces. 
  • If the right paw is raised it is beckoning money, 
  • the left paw raised beckons people, or customers, 
  • both paws raised (a style that became popular during the recent recession) provides protection from loss. 
The "Beckoning Cat"
Japanese Bobtail Blue EyesJapanese Bobtail Blue Eyes

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