American Longhair Cat: Care, Pictures, Info & FAQ

The American Longhair was developed from crossing a Persian with an American Shorthair. The resulting cat is a playful, easygoing, and friendly pet that loves spending time with his family. If you’re looking for a beautiful and affectionate cat to adopt, the American Longhair might be just the cat you’re searching for. Read on to learn more about this breed, including its diet, exercise, and grooming requirements.

Height: 9–16 inches
Weight: 8–15 pounds
Lifespan: 12–17 years
Colors: All colors and patterns
Suitable for: Families, children, apartment life
Temperament: Sociable, easygoing, curious, playful, gentle

The American Longhair is a mix between the American Shorthair and a Persian. Their pleasant, but not clingy, personality makes them fantastic companions for a myriad of families. These beautiful, medium-sized cats come in various colors and patterns and sport coats of varying thickness.

The American Longhair is sometimes confused with the Maine Coon simply because the latter is often referred to as America’s first domestically created long-haired cat breed.

American Longhair Cat Breed Characteristics

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American Longhair Cat Breed Kittens

American Longhair kittens may be difficult to find as most cat fancier associations do not recognize this breed and are therefore not in high demand. If you do wish to adopt one of these pretty kitties, you will need to research to see if there are any breeders local to you already specializing in the breed. If you do happen across a breeder for the American Longhair, you can expect to pay a little less than you would for other long-haired breeds, such as the Angora or the paw divider

Temperament & Intelligence of the American Longhair Cat

The American Longhair combines some of the best traits of his ancestors, the American Shorthair and the Persian.

Taking from his American Shorthair side, this cat is likely very friendly, easygoing, and curious about his surroundings. They love spending time with their families and enjoy engaging in activities with their humans.

These cats are generally sweet, gentle, and patient like their Persian bloodline. They can prefer a calmer environment, though they can easily adapt to more active and chaotic households with time.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

The American Longhair is a fantastic family pet. These kitties are known for their affable personalities and sweet, friendly, and pleasant temperament. They generally do well in homes with children, provided they know how to respect boundaries.

The American Longhair is happy to spend time next to his family members, though it is okay to be alone and independent, too. This means he is less likely than his Persian ancestors to form unhealthy attachments to his humans.

close up of american long hair cat
Image Credit: Anastasiia Skorobogatova, Shutterstock

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?🐶 😽

American Longhairs can get along very well with other cats and animals of different species. However, they require a slow transitionary period before being introduced to other pets. Ensure you’re doing a slow and deliberate introduction to ensure harmony in your home.

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Things to Know When Owning an American Longhair Cat

Food & Diet Requirements🐡

Feeding an American Longhair is no different than feeding any other cat breed. All cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require a diet of animal-derived foods. They need specific amino acids found only in meat-based protein otherwise, their health can suffer. Taurine, for example, is particularly important for a cat’s eye and heart health. They can become blind or develop heart failure if not fed a diet with taurine.

It’s important not to overfeed your cat; otherwise, you put him at risk of developing obesity and its related conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Most cats prefer eating frequent, small meals throughout the day versus one larger one.

A good rule of thumb for finding the best cat food is to choose one with a real meat protein listed as the first ingredient.

american long hair cat lying on the lawn
Image Credit: Stephen B. Goodwin, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐈

Your American Longhair requires moderate exercise to stave off boredom and prevent obesity. He likely enjoys staying active and can even be taught to play fetch with you. Be sure to provide plenty of toys for your kitty, including ones he can play with solo and interactive ones he needs you for.

If he is more like his American Shorthair side, chances are your kitty will love spending time outside. Try to teach him to walk on a leash so he can safely explore the outdoors.

If your American Longhair takes after his Persian side more, he may be more apt to lounge and relax all day than play. However, that doesn’t mean you should let him. He still needs daily physical activity to stay healthy.

Training 🧶

Cats can be difficult to train as they often have a mind of their own and aren’t too fond of being told what to do. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t train your American Longhair; it just means doing so will require more time and effort.

As mentioned above, these cats love the outdoors, so you may be able to train your kitty to walk on a leash if he shows interest in it.

You can also teach him to do tricks, like sitting or rolling over, provided you have the right high-value treats on hand.

american longhair cat sitting near a tree
Image Credit: Amanda Liefeld, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Grooming your long-haired cat ensures his coat stays shiny and healthy. We recommend brushing him several times per week to prevent tangles and mats. Regular grooming will also remove some of the soon-to-be-shed hairs, reducing how much hair your kitty inevitably ingests and lessening the hairballs he would otherwise throw up. Get your cat used to grooming sessions by choosing a time when he is relaxed to brush him and never forcing him into getting brushed if he isn’t feeling it.

Health and Conditions 🏥

The American Longhair is generally healthy, though it may be at risk of developing the same health conditions as other cats and its parent breeds.

All cats may be at risk of developing issues like obesity, dental problems, and feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the most common form of heart disease seen in cats. This condition is believed to be inherited and can result in heart failure and sudden death.

Because this breed has Persian blood in its ancestry, it is important to familiarize yourself with the common health conditions seen in Persians. This includes polycystic kidney disease (PKD), brachycephalic airway syndrome, and eye discharge.

Minor Conditions

  • Eye discharge
  • Dental disease

Serious Conditions

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • PKD
  • Brachycephalic airway syndrome
  • Obesity

Male vs Female

As with most cat breeds, the biggest difference between male and female American Shorthairs is their size. Males tend to be larger in both height and weight than their female counterparts. All personality differences between genders are purely anecdotal and not backed by science.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the American Longhair Cat

1. The American Longhair was bred accidentally.

The American Longhair was created by breeders trying to produce an American Shorthair that possessed the beautiful, shimmery coat and green eyes of a silver Persian. The resulting breed was a cat with a shorter coat and leaner body.

2. The major cat organizations do not recognize the American Longhair as a breed.

Even though they are a cross between two recognized breeds, major cat fanciers do not recognize American Longhairs as an official breed. For example, the American Cat Fanciers Association doesn’t yet recognize the American Longhair as a breed, nor does The International Cat Association (TICA).

3. The American Longhair may have breathing problems.

The American Longhair may inherit the shortened face that made one of its parent breeds, the Persian, so popular. While these stubby faces are adorable to look at, they often result in serious breathing issues.

american longhair cat in vet clinic
Image Credit: Todorean-Gabriel, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

The American Longhair is a beautiful cat breed with infinite redeeming characteristics. The breed combines the grace and gentleness of the Persian with the easygoing and friendly attitude of the American Shorthair. These cats are generally people-oriented and enjoy being near their humans, though they are less prone to develop the same kind of attachment issues that plague the Persian breed.

However, finding an American Longhair breeder may be challenging because no major cat fancier association recognizes them as a breed. Keep your ear to the ground and put out some feelers in local cat groups to see if you can find someone nearby who specializes in this unique breed. And, of course, always thoroughly research the breeder you find.

Featured Image Credit: Phil N Morris, Shutterstock

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About the Author: Tony Ramos