The Shorthair is believed to have been brought to North America from Europe by the early settlers on ships like the Mayflower to protect the cargo from being destroyed by mice and rats. They are the 7th most popular breed in the United States. This working cat is athletic, generally healthy and friendly with strangers. The males are larger than the females, often weighing up to three pounds more than the fairer sex. With proper diet and care, the American Shorthair can live 15 years or longer. These cats make good family pets and are helpful in catching pests and insects.