Japanese Bobtail Cat Facts For Kids

The Japanese Bobtail is a breed of cat with a very long history that probably goes back over 1,000 years. The Japanese people prefer this cat to have a coat that is made up of two or three colors. The three colored Japanese Bobtail is a calico cat with orange, black and lots of white fur. This is also called a tortoiseshell-and-white cat. The Japanese call this mi-ke, meaning “three-fur” and it is probably their favorite. When you say “mi-ke” you should say “mee-kay” and it will sound correct.

Japanese Bobtail Cat Facts For Kids

Japanese Bobtail Cat Facts For Kids. Photos copyright Helmi Flick


People think that the first domestic cats were bought to Japan by Buddhist monks from other parts of Asia, mainly China, around 600 AD. Some of these cats had very short tails. The short tail is caused by a “recessive gene”. Genes are small particles inside the cells of the cat that control how the cat will look and behave when born. The recessive gene usually has little effect but because Japan is an island its effect became noticeable. This is because the cats were all in one place and mated with each other.

By the 19th century (1801 – 1900) paintings showed the early bobtailed cats. And in 1968 an American lady brought some Japanese Bobtails over from Japan and made sure they mated to produce kittens. Today in 2012 they are fully accepted by the big American cat associations. They are also accepted in Europe except for Great Britain (UK).

The famous beckoning cat that people see outside shops in Japan is the Japanese Bobtail. It is meant to bring luck to business. One of the pictures above shows the left paw raised up like a beckoning cat. In Japanese they are called “Maneki-neko” cats. They are also called lucky cat or money cat.

How The Japanese Bobtail Looks

Although we see lots of Japanese Bobtails in two or three colors, with plenty of white, the cat associations allow all kinds of colors and patterns. As I said the red, black and white cat is the best particularly if the eyes have different colors (called “odd-eyed”). If the large eyes are the same color, they are blue or gold.

The tail is like the pom-poms used by cheer leaders. The tail should be 2-3 inches long. It might be bendy or stiff. This cat is medium sized weighing 6-9 pounds (2.5-4 kilograms). There is nothing extreme about this cat but the tail does stand out.


This cat is alert and active. They are chatty and like company. Some people say they sing rather than meow. I am not sure what that means!

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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


Japanese Bobtail Cat Facts For Kids — 4 Comments

  1. Michael, during my shipping years i had purchased a book on cats at the famous Higginbothams bookshop in Chennai (Madras) called “Cats”. “CATS” by David Alderton with photographs by Marc Henrie was published in 1992 and in 2012 with many new hybrid cats introduced during the years seems outdated! I normally spent my off-duty hours from the ships engine-room reading in my cabin, hence the passion for blogging after quitting the shipping industry. “CATS” is an excellent pictorial description of different breeds of cats and that book was the foundation of my study on cats.In the Internet era,i personally feel your “P.O.C” is a encyclopaedia reference for cats.I am commenting after having read various “Cat Books” and referring different other sites on the internet.Most important, your site has an interaction with other cat-owners discussing and exchanging their own personal views on cats, something that published books lack.I personally feel that the “INTERNET” is a better space than a published book for “P.O.C” as it will always remain relevant as well as include cat owners and enthusiasts discussions.Would “P.O.C” generate more money if published in book-form? Just an idea.Excellent.

    • Thanks Rudolph. As you say the internet has something a book does not: it has interaction in comments with visitors which add significantly because they are often first hand experiences and not theory. That is priceless information.

      Also webpages can be updated all the time (if you have time!). It is much harder to update books. Although with digital publishing (on Kindle and iPad etc.) updating should be as easy as a webpage.

      I have not thought about doing a book. I don’t know if a book would make more money. PoC does quite well making money from online advertising so I have no complaints. It keeps me alive 😉

  2. Good job including the Maneki-neko bit, it’s a huge part of the Japanese Bobtail story. I think it’s interesting that they still have the same number of vertebrae in their tails, as do cats with a full sized tail. This is true in American Bobtail and Manx cats as well. Nothing cuter than a Manx wagging that tiny little puff of a tail on the real, real short ones. 🙂

    You should seriously consider rounding these all up and seeing if you could get it published as a book. Think of all those young minds who would eat this information right up. Well done!

    Off topic: Cat climbs down fridge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=z4VixiGLweY
    It’s just amazing how brilliant cats can be.
    Happy Holidays!

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