Japanese Bobtail

Revered in Japan, this breed is distinguished by its short, curled tail. It is accepted in the U.S., where it is popular, but not worldwide.

The Japanese Bobtail Cat is the national icon of Japan. It is said if you own one of these great cats, then your luck will change and your life will overflow with well fortune.

These cats were first used to remove vermin from the streets and keep the silk worm population down. They are extremely vocal and often sound like they are singing.


Although the exact background of this ancient breed is not well-documented, it is thought to originate in China or Southeast Asia, rather than Japan. How it arrived in Japan is open to speculation, but it is in that country that it has become established, and is known as the "Mi-Ke", traditionally a tri-colored cat symbolizing friendship and good fortune. Imported into the U.S. in the 1960s, Japanese Bobtails were granted full status in this country a decade later.


Their characteristics are hard to miss. Short bobtail, triangle shaped head, large ears and medium sized body.

Slender and dainty, this is a well-muscled, medium-sized breed. In this respect it is reminiscent of another breed that has an island origin, the Manx. The most distinctive feature is the short, bobbed tail, which lays curled when the cat is resting but is upright when the cat moves. The classic coat pattern is that of the tri-colored Mi-Ke, although other colors and patterns are also now accepted.

Country of Origin: Southeast Asia/Japan

Grooming: 2/5

Activity: 3/5

GCCF Group: unrecognized


The Japanese Bobtail is affectionate, smart, lively, and companionable, with a voice that is said to have a unique melodic chant.

They are extremely lovable cats that need lots of attention. The Japanese Bobtail kitty cannot be left alone for long periods of time. This cat is ideal for a family that does not follow a 40+ hour work week. This cat is great with small children and families.

The most distinctive feature of the Japanese Bobtail is the short, curled tail.

General Care

This is a healthy breed that does not have any genetic health issues. Keep the long haired version of this cat groomed once a week and the short haired groomed once a month.

Suitability as a pet

Generally undemanding, this breed makes a good family pet. A longhaired variety is available — be prepared for a considerable amount of grooming if you choose it.

Gallery of Japanese Bobtail