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Japanese Bobtail Cat Facts

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white Japanese bobtail cat sitting in a yellow chair by a window

The Japanese Bobtail is an ancient and unique cat breed with a big enough personality to steal the spotlight whenever he walks into a room. Before adopting one of your own, read on to learn more about these fascinating felines.

Basic Overview

Japanese Bobtail cats have outgoing personalities, which make them an excellent fit for singles, families, and homes with children or other pets—all around, this is an adaptable breed. These cats prefer to know what’s happening around the house, so don’t be surprised if yours follows you while you get the chores done. Plus, your feline friend will use that opportunity to talk to you and catch you up on their busy day.

Bobtails are playful cats, so it’s important that you provide yours with plenty of toys and entertainment. When it comes to this breed, mental stimulation is just as essential as physical stimulation. These kitties are intelligent, and they thrive when they can exercise their mind.

Because of their easy-going temperament, these cats are a fantastic choice for people who enjoy RVing. Japanese Bobtails can thrive in a busy environment, especially when they get to spend all of their time with their family and friends.

Just as you would socialize your dog, it’s just as important to socialize your cat.


Although no one knows the exact date and place of origin for the Japanese Bobtail breed, a few things are for sure—these cats have been in Japan for at least 1,000 years. Even though these felines could be found in all households, they were prevalent among people who had silkworm barns. Invaluable as a form of pest control, people cherished their Japanese Bobtails and the hard work they did.

These cats began making their way into folklore, tales, and legends throughout the years—they even became a symbol of good luck. Referred to as Maneki-Neko, these statues of Japanese Bobtails with one raised paw are pretty common in Asian restaurants, stores, and homes, as they are supposed to bring good fortune.

During the 20th century, these cats began making their way to the United States, but their popularity did not take off exponentially like other cat breeds. In fact, to this day, Japanese Bobtails are considered a rare breed, so it may take some sleuthing skills to locate one.

white Japanese bobtail cat on a bed by a window


Japanese Bobtails are a small to medium-sized cat breed that can have either a short or long coat—both of which are soft and silky. Of course, the most recognizable feature of this breed is their bobbed tail. In actuality, these cat’s tails are slightly longer (around four inches), but because the tail corkscrews, it appears to be much shorter than what it is. 

Before adopting a Bobtail, many cat parents have some questions about the breed. Common questions include:

Do Japanese Bobtails Shed?

Yes, these felines, no matter their hair length, do shed. However, with a few brushings a week, you can help decrease the amount of hair that may be shed around your house.

What Are Common Japanese Bobtail Colors?

These felines can be found in various colors and patterns, but they are well-known for their tri-color coat.

How Big Do Japanese Bobtail Cats Get?

The typical weight for a Japanese Bobtail is around 8-10 pounds. However, it is not unusual for some to weigh up to 12 pounds.

How Long Do Japanese Bobtails Live?

The average lifespan for these cats is 9-15 years.

These cute kitties are a joy to be around. Their curious and kind demeanors mean there will never be a dull moment, and you will always have a friend around.

Grooming and Care

Like any other cat breed, Japanese Bobtails require regular grooming to keep them looking and feeling good. No matter their coat length, this breed needs to be brushed just a few times a week. This can help prevent any matting in the coat and can help collect dead hairs before they are dropped on your furniture.

Weekly, your cat will also need their teeth brushed. Frequent brushings can help reduce the chances of your cat developing periodontal disease. Plus, this can help keep their breath smelling fresh. Around every few weeks to once a month, your cat’s nails will also need to be trimmed.

Every few weeks, it can additionally be worthwhile to check your pet’s ears. Any bad odor or redness could be a sign of an ear infection. To help avoid infections, be sure to clean your cat’s ears anytime they appear to be dirty. You can do this with a cat-safe ear-cleaning solution and cotton ball—never use a cotton swab.

In order to help your feline friend become acclimated to their grooming routine, there are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Begin grooming at a young age
  • Make the experience positive and reward your cat
  • Keep grooming sessions short
  • Create a routine for your cat to become acclimated to

Besides your feline’s grooming routine, another key part of looking after their health is to provide them with a nutritious diet. Not only is it essential to purchase age-appropriate food, but the amount of food your cat receives should reflect their lifestyle. For example, if you have a highly active Japanese Bobtail, you may need to feed them a little more than the average amount. If you are ever unsure about what type or how much food your cat requires, your cat’s veterinarian is a great resource for answering your questions.

Equally as important as your cat’s nutrition is their daily exercise. When Japanese Bobtails do not receive enough physical stimulation, they can quickly become overweight and even develop a list of other health issues. That said, these felines are naturally active, so it doesn’t take much encouragement to get them up and moving. To encourage a healthy lifestyle, it’s helpful to provide your four-legged friend with plenty of toys, cat towers, and scratching posts.

white Japanese bobtail cat on a rug by a gray couch and window

Japanese Bobtail Health Issues

These playful felines are considered a relatively healthy cat breed, but like any other type of cat, they can still be susceptible to developing some health issues throughout their lifetime. According to our claims data,** the top five health problems that affect this breed include:

  1. Urinary tract infections
  2. Back issues
  3. Constipation
  4. Cancer
  5. Behavioral issues

Even though these are common issues for the Japanese Bobtail breed, there is no guarantee that your Bobtail will be diagnosed with any or all of these problems. However, as a cat parent, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with the signs of the ailments listed above. By knowing what to keep an eye out for, you will hopefully increase the likelihood of catching any unusual behavior earlier on.

It is vital that you continue to take your cat for their yearly check-ups with their veterinarian throughout your cat’s entire life. These visits are an ideal time for you to bring up any concerns you may have about your Bobtail’s health or behavior. Plus, many cats require annual vaccinations. 

Don’t forget—cats can be great at hiding when they don’t feel well. In other words, it’s essential that you do not cancel their veterinarian appointment simply because they may appear to be feeling fine.

Fun Facts

Being a rare breed, it’s not unheard of that people don’t know a whole lot about Japanese Bobtails. Here are some quick, fun facts about these cats you may not know.

  • The Japanese Bobtail’s tail is often described as more similar to a rabbit’s tail than that of other cats.
  • These cats are known to love water.
  • It’s not unusual for cats of this breed to have heterochromia—eyes of two different colors.
  • The tails on these cats are all unique, and no two are alike. They are the equivalent of kitty fingerprints.
  • The tail of a Japanese Bobtail cat can be either flexible or rigid. 

There no doubt about it—the Japanese Bobtail’s tail is unlike any other.

Name Suggestions

When it comes time to choose a name for your four-legged friend, the options are endless. To help you with this difficult decision, here’s a narrowed-down list of possible cat names—all inspired by the Japanese language.

  • Akira (bright and clear dawn)
  • Azuki (sweet red beans)
  • Kai (ocean)
  • Kitaro (happy boy)
  • Mochi (type of Japanese rice cake)
  • Momo (peach)
  • Takeo (warrior)
  • Unagi (Japanese word for eel)

**Internal Claims Data, 2015-20

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


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