Kittens Available! Simply request Pet Breeders contact you promptly! Breeders will email or call you with specific breed information and available pets and prices. Request American Wirehair Kitten InformationA cat uniquely characterized by its wire-haired coat, this trait occurred as a natural phenomenon from the presence of a dominant gene. Scientific evidence proved this fact and the cat gained recognition from worldwide registries as a result. Equally comfortable as a pet to any age owner, including playful young children, this cat most closely resembles the American Shorthair from which it shares its genetic history. A medium-sized cat with a quiet demeanor, this remains a rare cat with very few registered to date. Contact the cat breeders below for your next family friend.
The American Wirehair originated as a spontaneous mutation of the American Shorthair. And like that cat, the American Wirehair can adapt to any type of household. Equally content to sit on a lap of an octogenarian or participate in a game of hide and seek with a three-year-old, this is a strong cat capable of keeping rodents at bay. However, it is its coat which most certainly defines this breed.
The random mutation first occurred among a litter of five kittens born to a pair of normal barn cats in 1966 in New York’s Westchester County. A single male was born with a sparse, red and white, wiry coat – every hair, including his whiskers, was crimped and springy. The owner of the cats called a local breeder of Rex cats to take a look at the kitten. The breeder, Joan O’Shea, bought the kitten for fifty dollars, along with one of his normal-coated female littermates, with hopes of duplicating this phenomenon. The wirehaired male was named Adam, and the female Tip-Top. Breeding between the two produced more wirehaired kittens, many of which were sold off to other interested breeders. To further check the veracity of this event, a subsequent pairing with a random female also generated wirehaired kittens, substantiating that the wirehaired trait was indeed a dominant gene.
O’Shea sent hair samples for analysis to two noted British cat geneticists. They replied that the samples of Adam’s hair showed that the coat was unique and not related to the Cornish or Devon Rexes, two cats she normally bred. Further, all three types of cat hair (down, awn, and guard) were twisted, with the awn hairs hooked at the tip. The cat was closest in every other way to the American Shorthair, the breed used to develop the American Wirehair. Today the only difference between the two breeds is the coat.
As the population grew, cats were exported to Canada, and to Germany where they became especially popular. The breed flourished, gaining recognition by the CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) in 1967. Eleven years later, it was accepted for championship competition in 1978. Today, it is accepted by all major cat organizations.
While the breed seems to be entirely “made in America,” research indicates that the mutation may have previously occurred elsewhere. Cats with coats similar to the Wirehair’s apparently were observed in England after World War II. Some of these had competed in the National Cat Club show in Britain two years before the Wirehair appeared on the American scene. This leaves an unsolved quandary for cat historians and geneticists to ponder.
Roughly one-half of the kittens in a Wirehair litter will possess the wire-haired trait, and even these will exhibit it to varying degrees. Show breeders prefer that the whiskers and coat be noticeably wiry at birth, although it can take months for the full potential of this distinctive coat to develop. Like American Shorthairs, American Wirehair kittens do not fully mature until they are around three or four years old, the period when the features of the breed become most obvious.
American Wirehairs are good-natured, reserved cats, popular with families, as they are known to be very tolerant of dogs, other cats, and children—but they also make good companions for single people. They are calm but can also be playful throughout their lives. Female cats tend to be busier and more active than males who are more placid. In general, they are intelligent cats with an interest in everything around them. Many American Wirehair cats retain their hunting instincts, pursuing anything that moves. They are quiet cats with quiet voices and generally prefer to remain safe within your home, rather than to roam outside. A view from a window will suffice as recreation once an unprovoked spurt of berserk energy has been exhausted.
The American Wirehair has no exaggerated features. It is not a large, heavy-boned cat like the British Shorthair. Rather, it is a very balanced, medium-boned cat, with a firm muscular feel to the body, well proportioned in all respects. The head is slightly longer than it is wide, and the face offers a receptive, sweet expression. Eyes are wide-set and medium-large in size. The muzzle has a fully defined, square chin.
The wiry coat distinguishes the American Wirehair from all other cat breeds and is reminiscent of the wiry coats of some dog breeds, like terriers. According to accepted standards, the ideal coat, including the whiskers, should be dense, coarse and crimped over the whole body, curly rather than wavy. While described as typical of steel wool, the coat is soft to the touch but springs back into place after stroking.
While American Wirehairs may be almost any color, three colors are restricted from the competitive show circuit: Lilac, Chocolate and Himalayan. Golden eyes predominate within the breed, except for some cats with white coats, who have eyes of amber or blue. Although this breed may show a number of different looks, females are supposed to be smaller than males. Of greatest import is the cat’s overall balance.
Some American Wirehairs have sensitive skin that can be susceptible to allergies or sunburn. Yet, the coat can feel oily from natural skin secretions, and regular bathing is advised. If you allow your cat to accompany you outside, sunscreen should be applied. Gently clean earwax out with a cotton swab as well.
Craving human attention and interaction, the American Wirehair is moderately active. Entertained by your daily routine, it will keep an eye on you as your day unfolds. If you are feeling out of sorts, this cat will be sensitive to your mood and will try to offer solace to the best of its feline abilities.
Currently, the number of American Wirehairs is quite limited. In 1995, only seventy-four Wirehairs were registered with the CFA, while in 2003 that number had dwindled to only 22! Waiting lists for American Wirehair kittens can be long, and prices high. Be sure to seek out a reputable breeder if you are looking for a American Wirehair kitten. If you can provide it your warmth and care, a healthy American Wirehair will bring many years of pleasure into your life, certain to be a wonderful experience for both you and your cat!
Barron’s Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds, J. Anne Helgren