With a coat more like a terrier dog than a cat, the American Wirehair is a unique breed with hair that resembles soft steel wool. Affectionate and playful, they retain their kitten-like qualities well into adulthood, and make wonderful companions for both young and old.
The American Wirehair has a brittle coat with each hair being either bent, hooked, or crimped, and owners often compare it to soft steel wool. The coat is resilient and feels dense, harsh, and springy to the touch although the texture of the coat can vary from cat to cat. Curly whiskers wind their way out from a round head with high cheekbones.
It’s the cheekbones which separate this breed from the American Shorthair as they share a similar body structure, which is a medium sized muscular body with moderate boning.
The eyes are wide set and round with medium sized ears that are rounded at the tip. A strong medium sized muzzle ends in a strong chin.
The American Wirehair is the result of a spontaneous mutation found in the domestic cat population.
It was 1966 when a farm cat from Council Rock Farm in Vernon, New York gave birth to a litter of six kittens, with one of these kittens being just a little different from his brothers and sisters; a red and white male displaying an unusually wiry coat. A local cat breeder by the name of Mrs Joan O’Shea noticed the importance of such a kitten so bought him from the farmer and named him Adam of Hi-Fi.
Adam was later mated with the neighbor’s straight coated cat, who also originated from the farm. This bond produced two more wirehair kittens which were named Abby and Amy. Amy was sold to Rex breeders Bill and Madeline Beck. Amy subsequently gave birth to more Wirehairs, eventually producing the first homozygous Wirehair kitten named Barberry Ellen.
Becks petitioned the CFA to register her Wirehairs in 1967, which was granted. The breed later obtained championship status in 1978. The American Wirehair is considered the rarest of all the breeds registered with the CFA.
This is a friendly, affectionate breed who enjoys copious amounts of cuddles and loves a long drawn out pat. They are laid back, absolutely adore children, and will blend in well with families who already have a family pet.
They love to climb and explore as they are intelligent and playful. Wirehairs are talkative on occasion and enjoy a chat in their quiet pleasant voice.
Interestingly, American Wirehairs are slower to mature than most other cat breeds, often reaching 3-4 years old before they are considered ‘grown up’.
Did You Know?
There is a story going around that says prior to his adoption Adam’s litter was attacked by a weasel and he was the only survivor.
The coat of the wire hair is eminently important when showing in competition, as 45 points are given to the coat alone – more than any other breed of cat.
Caring for Your American Wirehair Cat
There are no known genetic disorders associated with American Wirehair and the breed is considered healthy and hardy overall although some cats have sensitive skin.
Their wire hair coat is easy to maintain and doesn’t matt, although weekly grooming is still recommended. Oily skin can be an issue, so you may need to bathe the cat every two months using a gentle cat shampoo.
These cats love company so if you’re out of the house for long period of time, get two cats so they can keep each other company.
If you have an American Wirehair cat in your life, please share your experiences below.