The American wirehair is a simple mutation of the American shorthair. Though the
breed is reasonably well-known they’re relatively rare.
The American wirehair has yet to make its way to Britain or Australia, but are especially popular in Germany and Canada.
- The American wirehair’s coat has been described as hard, thick, and actually springy.
- Its coat can come in just about any color or pattern.
- This cat is not hypoallergenic, although that is a popular myth.
- The most distinct “wiring” is from the whiskers.
What are they like?
American wirehairs are very calm and tolerant. This cat would be just as happy sitting by a window watching birds as it would be to play with a new toy. They might be less amenable to new people than other breeds but are a very social breed and would love to be near other pets. Additionally, if you’ve socialized your Wirehair well as a kitten, it could help him to be more approachable.
Even though they’re great at entertaining themselves, wirehairs are friendly and affectionate with family and family friends they know well. They're great around children. They’re also intelligent and easy to train.
Because The Wirehair can be genetically crossed with the American shorthair, some health issues may arise, for example Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.
Right for you?
- Grooming: Wirehairs require little-to-no grooming, brushing, or combing. However, when their coat gets greasy, a good bath should do the trick.
- Hunters: If you have a mouse or insect problem, the wirehair can help. They also love playing with fishing-pole toys.
- Low Maintenance: This breed is very easy to care for and would be a great family cat.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
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Last updated: January 10, 2020
The American Wirehair is very similar to the American Shorthair in personality and general appearance with a unique twist it’s unusual wirehair coat. This even-tempered cat makes an excellent choice for a family pet.
This is a medium-large cat with males weighing up to 15 lbs. and females up to 12 lbs. They usually are athletic in appearance slighter and with less bone that a British Shorthair and thicker than an Abyssinian or Siamese. They are moderately sized cats in terms of bone and features with broad, full chests. The head is also somewhat broad-cheeked with medium large, walnut-shaped eyes, meaning that they are almond on the top and round on the bottom. This gives the cat a sweet and gentle expression that is matched by his temperament.
They come in a variety of colours and patterns with tabby being the most popular. There is no unacceptable colour or coat pattern. It is the texture of the coat that makes it truly unique. The individual hairs are coarse in texture and crimped, bent or hooked. Even the whiskers may be crimped in some individuals. The degree of crimping can vary between individuals and ranges from only slightly bent and spiky hairs on parts of the body to fully crimped but ideally, the entire coat is crimped. The wirehair is apparent from birth. Kittens born with a less than ideal coat may develop some more wiriness as they grow but will never have a truly well-crimped coat. The coat is dense and feels soft but springs back into place easily. It does shed seasonally but should not be brushed except when shedding heavily. Even then care must be taken not to break the hairs, so comb carefully.
Although some have suggested that the American Wirehair is hypoallergenic, this is not true and no reputable breeder will claim that the breed is hypoallergenic. People are not actually allergic to the hair on the cat but rather the dander that they shed. Dander is the dead skin cells that are shed by the cat and no cat it truly hypoallergenic although some people may react more strongly to one type of cat over another.
The American Wirehair is the result of a genetic mutation that occurred in a litter of kittens that was born in New York in the 1960s. The litter was born at Council Rock Farm. A local cat fancier, Joan O’Shea, recognized how unusual the kitten’s coat was and obtained the cat. She named him Council Rock Adam of Hi-Fi. Subsequent breedings of Adam to other cats resulted in more wirehaired kittens and established it as a dominant gene. Genetic tests identified the crimped coat as being different from that of the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex and a new breed was established so that the unusual properties of the coat could be preserved.
The phenotype of the wirehair cat was closest to the American Shorthair and this was the breed used to establish and expand the breed. Today the two are identical in all aspects, including personality, except the coat. Outcrossings to American Shorthairs to preserve genetic diversity and health are considered perfectly acceptable by most cat fanciers.
Like the American Shorthair, this is a relatively healthy and long-lived cat. Where some issues do arise is with the skin and coat. The coat can have a tendency to be a bit oily. Regular bathing can help reduce the oiliness of it. The skin is more sensitive than that of the American Shorthair and can develop sensitivities and allergies. Using a soothing shampoo designed for cats with sensitive skin when bathing can help reduce outside influences on the skin and irritations. If at all possible remove any allergens from the cat’s environment. In severe cases, your veterinarian may prescribe antihistamines or steroids to reduce inflammation and get the situation under control.
Like the American Shorthair, the American Wirehair is a very adaptable and easy going cat. They are well suited to life in apartments as well as houses and will adapt to most households fairly easily. The American Wirehair enjoys time on his own as well as time playing with the family, so he is ideally suited to a home where people work during the day. They are extremely even tempered which makes them a good choice for families.
These cats enjoy playing and interacting with children and tend to even seek them out which is not always a common choice for a cat. They are naturally patient although care should be taken that their patience with children is not taken advantage of by exuberant youngsters. Young children and pets should always be supervised to prevent any abuse on either part, no matter how affectionately it was meant.
The American Wirehair also adapts well to other pets including fellow felines and dogs. They tend to remain somewhat active and enjoy playing with two and four footers well into their senior years. Interactive toys will provide hours of enjoyment for cat and human alike. Avoid laser toys as they can frustrate cats since there is nothing to truly catch. It’s all chase and no trophy. If you wish to use a laser toy with your American Wirehair consider tossing a toy mouse into the laser’s path after a bit of chasing so that your cat feels the satisfaction of having caught his prey which he can then carry proudly around the house.
When both of you are tired of games, the American Wirehair will gladly curl up in your lap for some couch time while you watch television. Although not as popular or well known as the American Shorthair, this is truly an all-around cat and an excellent choice as a pet. Because of the rarity of the breed, you may need to go on a waiting list for a kitten. This is not necessarily a bad thing and will give you lots of time to prepare your home for the new arrival.
The American Wirehair is a friendly and playful breed. In fact, they do not typically fully mature until they are around three or four years old. So if you are planning on introducing one into your family, be prepared to enjoy kitten-like behavior for the first few years.
These cats do well in a variety of families, making them great lap cats for seniors and energetic cats for children. They are good-natured, calm, and easygoing, with quiet voices. Females, however, are typically busier than males, while males tend to be more relaxed.
American Wirehair cats are also intelligent and really interested in things in their environment. They have great hunting instincts, enjoy watching birds outside the window, and retain a good amount of independence even though they love being around people. Despite having a lot of energy, though, they do prefer to stay indoors.
Cat Breed Guide: American Wirehair
By Dr. Fiona, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.
About the American Wirehair
Weight: 6-11 lb
Points of conformation: A powerful build with well developed chest, short neck and well muscled legs. Curly whiskers.
Coat: Dense, wiry, springy short to medium length hairs that crimp and curl.
Color: All are accepted, except for lilac, Himalayan and chocolate.
Grooming needs: Low
Origin: New York, USA
Behavior Traits: Even tempered and funny.
Is an American Wirehair cat right for You?
The Wirehair cat is a descendent of the American Shorthair and shares a lot of its temperament and characteristics. They generally prefer the indoors, and are content to be lap cats. They tend to be quiet and gentle, but can be playful as well.
Common Illnesses, Medical Conditions and Accidents for the American Wirehair
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The American Wirehair Cat Breed Information
The American wirehair cat is an American native cat breed with its history dating back to the 1960s. This cat has a unique crimped coat with wavy hairs from its whiskers to the tail.
Even with the abrasive but amazing coat, the American wirehair cat is a perfect family cat, whether you live alone or in a big family.
All along with its gentle nature, this cat does well in a family with children or the elderly, as it’s not overly demanding.
Other than that, this cat is playful and affectionate to anyone. It’s a cat you will love to own! So, are you yearning to have a unique cat breed in your home?
Then stay tuned to learn more.