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Interesting Facts About the Japanese Bobtail Cat

Neha Deshpande Mar 2, 2020
An ancient breed, Japanese Bobtails have been famous in Japan from as early as the 7th century. Given here are some interesting facts on this breed, which is considered a national treasure in Japan.

Did You know?

A female white Japanese Bobtail cat, adorned with a cute little red bow, is used to portray the Japanese fictional character 'Hello Kitty'.
Though felines and friendly are not usually used in the same sentence, there are exceptions to this. And, of course, everyone would like a cat that is playful and friendly. Well, if you are looking for such a pet, the Japanese bobtail comes close.
As the name suggests, the Japanese Bobtail has a bobbed tail, which is the result of mutation, or genes. These cats sport coats that have either long or short hair. As they are a friendly breed of cats, do not be alarmed if you notice them following you around the house. They love company and are inquisitive in nature, making for ideal pets. 
The origin of this breed is shrouded in mystery, which makes it all the more enchanting and exotic. Traced back, one thing is for certain, the Japanese Bobtail was considered the harbinger of good luck in ancient Japan.
Today, the Japanese Bobtail is the national cat of Japan, and is still associated with good luck. Here are some more important facts of this cat breed.

Some Japanese Bobtail Facts

► The Japanese Bobtail is considered to be a very intelligent breed, and is known for its outgoing and active personality. Most bobtails are very active and play most of the time.
► Like most other cat breeds, the Japanese Bobtail too comes in a variety of colors and patterns. However, a majority of them are white with a few patches - a characteristic that makes them look very adorable.
► The weight of the Japanese Bobtail varies between 6 - 10 pounds, while their height ranges between the 8 - 9 inch mark.
► Japanese Bobtails are long and lean, with an elegant personality and refined boning. Males are usually larger than females.
► The head of a Japanese Bobtail, minus the ears, resembles an equilateral triangle. The ears are large and upright, making them look alert all the time.
► The tail of the Japanese Bobtail is short, almost like that of the rabbit, and resembles a pom-pom. It is also curled, making it look even shorter in appearance.
► They are bold, curious, and are easily smitten by strangers. They are considered wonderful human companions due to their loving and playful nature.
► Astonishingly, the Japanese Bobtail originated in China and not Japan! History has it that the Emperor of China gifted the first bobtail to the Emperor of Japan around 1,000 years ago.
► Even more surprising is the fact that these cats held an official rank, the 'Fifth Order of the Court', in Japan. However, they lost this standing when Japan's lucrative silk trade was threatened by varmints. In 1602, they were demoted to 'street cats' and were set free to take care of the varmint problem.
► However, in 1710, Engelbert Kaempfer, who wrote a book on the flora, fauna, and landscape of Japan, brought them back to prominence. His statement, 'there is only one breed of cat that is kept. It has large patches of yellow, black and white fur; its short tail looks like it has been bent and broken.
It has no mind to hunt for rats and mice but just wants to be carried and stroked by women.', was instrumental in the rise of the popularity of this breed.
► It was in 1968 that Elizabeth Freret imported the Japanese Bobtail to western lands. The short-hair breed was accepted in the Cat Fanciers' Association in 1976, while the long-hair breed was accepted in 1993.

A Few Tales About the Japanese Bobtail

There are many tales about the Japanese Bobtail. One popular tale explains how the breed originated. A cat with a long tail was sleeping near the fire, when its tail suddenly caught fire. In panic and fear, the cat ran through the whole town, setting fire to the town.
For such a disaster to never happen again, the Emperor decreed that all cats should have their tails cut. This led to the emergence of the cut tail, giving the Japanese Bobtail its name.
In a few places around the world, cats are associated with mistrust and fear. However, if you are in Japan, you will notice that cats are considered a symbol of good luck. Ancient stories in Japan even mention that cats with a long tail are considered evil, or the bringer of Nekomata (evil spirits). On the other hand, cats with a short tail are considered auspicious.
Another story tells us about a village business who had a bobtail who used to sit outside the shop and beckon passersby to come inside. From that time, Maneki-Neko (Beckoning Cat) statues are kept in all the shops and offices to bring good luck to the owner.
The Bobtail holds a special place in the hearts of the Japanese. If you are thinking of getting a pet cat, then the Japanese Bobtail seems to be a good choice. Not only is it a friendly breed, but also brings good luck to the owner.