Japanese Bobtail

The Japanese Bobtail is a breed of domestic cat with an unusual "bobbed" tail more closely resembling the tail of a rabbit than that of other cats. The variety is native to Japan and Southeast Asia, though it is now found throughout the world. The breed has been known in Japan for centuries, and it frequently appears in traditional folklore and art.

History

One theory of short-tailed cats in Japan indicates that they arrived from the Eurasian continent at least 1,000 years ago. In 1602, Japanese authorities decreed that all cats should be set free to help deal with rodents threatening the silk worms. At that time, buying or selling cats was illegal, and from then on, bobtailed cats lived on farms and in the streets. Japanese Bobtails thus became the "street cats" of Japan.Around 1701, in Kaempfer's Japan, the first book written by a Westerner about the flora, fauna, and landscape of Japan, German doctor Engelbert Kaempfer wrote: "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."In 1968, Elizabeth Freret is the first known person to have imported the Japanese Bobtail to the Western Hemisphere from Japan. The short hair Japanese Bobtail was accepted for Championship status in the Cat Fanciers' Association in 1976. Recognition for the long hair variety followed in 1993. As of 2013, there are a number of Japanese Bobtail breeders, most of which are based in North America with a few in Europe and at least one in Japan; yet the breed remains rare.

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