What in the World is a Japanese Bobtail?!
A lot of people have heard of the more common pure-bred cats: the Maine Coon, Persians, or Ragdolls. However, CFA actually has a registry containing 42 different breeds that can compete, and 3 breeds currently being exhibited in the effort to add them to the CFA registry. You can visit this site to see a list of them - http://www.cfa.org/breeds.aspx.
So... the Japanese Bobtail, or Jbob for short. Legend has it that cats have been around Japan for about a thousand years, coming over from China and Korea with Buddhist monks. This came in handy to keep rats away from temple scrolls, as they would otherwise be eaten. Several hundred years later, the rats moving from the rice paper scrolls to the silkworm barns and threatened the silk market. The cats were turned out of the temples in order to combat the rat issue... and became the common street cat of Japan.
Because of the closed genetic environment, a spontaneous genetic mutation occurred and thus the bobbed tail of the Jbob developed. The bob is a recessive trait, and only happens when you breed two bobs together.
You may be thinking to yourself that you've seen other cats with smaller tails... are they all related? Genetic testing has proven that the other "tailless" breeds, the Manx and the American Bobtail, have different genetic differences and are not related. Each of these cats has a different story going on back there.
The Manx is truly tailless, and when you run your hand from back to hind legs, you shouldn't feel any sort of tail at all. The American Bobtail has a variable length, broad and strong tail, that doesn't extend passed the stretched out hind hock. It can be straight with a fat pad at the end, slightly curved or kinked, or bumpy along the tail. The Japanese Bobtail has a tail that shouldn't extend more than 3 inches, and will have kinks, bends and/or curves to it. It can be rigid or flexible, and you won't find two tails that are identical.
Jbobs can come in pretty much any color you can think of, but the most common are bi-color (white and red/black/brown/cream/etc) and mi-ke, which is the fancy word for calico that only Jbobs use. Most mi-ke are a combination of black, red and white, but can come in other colors and have tabby-esque markings. Speaking of those markings, for a Jbob, it's called patterned. In addition, they can come in solid colors and parti-colors (tortoiseshell).
Personality-wise, we like to say Jbobs are like dogs. They constantly want attention, and to spend all their time with their humans. Playful and curious, you'll find them up on edges you never thought they could get to and realize that everything can be a toy, from socks to hairbrushes. They are fantastically agile, and excel when given the chance to run and jump around. So far, I've painted them as pretty active cats but cats they are... even Jbobs love curling up in sunbeams for naps. They will cuddle up next to you, or sit in your lap, while you watch your favorite TV show or sport. At bedtime, they'll be right there with you, under your blanket or curled up on your pillow.
We feel blessed indeed to have ended up getting to know and fall in love with this minority breed. All of us at KawaiiKats hope you'll consider opening your home, hearts and laps to one of these beautiful, personable cats!