The Japanese bobtail
The Japanese bobtail is a breed of cat that had been known only in Japan for centuries, but has recently been introduced into the United Kingdom, the United States, and occurs all over the world. This particular breed does not have a long tail like other cats, but due to a recessive gene (that must be carried by both the parents for the kittens to display it), they have a tail that has been described as one that is more like that of a rabbit. The tail is usually curled once or twice.
Legends and Folk Lore
In Japan, the Japanese bobtail has long been considered a harbinger of good fortune. The Maneko-neki, “beckoning or inviting cat”, is a statue of a Japanese bobtail with one paw upraised that is often found outside of homes or stores in Japan. The wildly popular cartoon character, Hello Kitty, is a Japanese bobtail. There are also many historical legends and folk tales about these cats, in which the length of the tail is always an important feature. Vampire cats and demon cats usually have long tails.
Fur Coloring and Length
The Japanese bobtail occurs in many colors, but in its native Japan, people are partial to the tri-color or calico coloring. Both short-haired and long-haired varieties occur. Short-hairs are silky and smooth, while long-hairs are fluffy and have been described as being similar to soft pom-poms.
The short tail in this breed does not result in any health problems, and there don’t appear to be any other major health issues to be concerned about. Litters are of three ore four unusually large kittens, who are precocious and are able to be active earlier and walk sooner than other kittens. These cats have sweet temperaments and like human companionship, and are fond of supervising household tasks or chores. They are quite affectionate and will hold a conversation with people if they are spoken to. They are more likely to adapt to a harness and leash, and like to learn new tricks, such as playing fetch.
Rarely, usually in Japanese bobtails with white fur, the eyes will occur in two different colors, a condition known as “heterochromia,” or an odd-eyed cat. This does not impair the vision of the cat, but it is considered so valuable a trait that it might impair the wallet of the owner. In Japan the eye color blue is known as “silver”, and the eye color yellow is known as “gold.”