American Wirehair

A Rare Cat With an Unusual Coat

American Wirehair

Lori Marsh - Last Updated on December 17th, 2021

What you Need to Know about the American Wirehair

The American Wirehair cat is a domestic cat that originated in New York as a spontaneous mutation in 1966. The breed itself is a rare breed. In 2017, it was listed as the rarest of the Cat Fanciers Association’s 41 breeds that made a list. 

The American Wirehair cat is an easy-going breed. They will play by themselves even if their owner is away. These intelligent cats are friendly and affectionate towards their owners.

How can you tell if a cat is an American Wirehair?

American Wirehair cats are identified by their coat. Their hair is springy and wiry. The coat is similar to the wire hair of some terrier dogs. Outside of the crimped texture of their fur, the American Wirehair’s coat is similar to the American Shorthair: short and plush.

These cats are a medium cat with a level back and well-rounded features. Sometimes due to their coat, their whiskers may be curled. They have high cheekbones and a pronounced muzzle stop. An American Wirehair will also have rounded ears and slightly enlarged eyes compared to their face.

The most popular colors that have currently been identified with the American Wirehair are:

  • White
  • Blue
  • Cream
  • Red
  • Platinum
  • Fawn
  • Chestnut
  • Silver
  • Chinchilla

The American Wirehair can also come in a variety of patterns: solid, bicolor, calico, and tabby.

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It's all Personal. The American Wirehair Character

The personality of the American Wirehair cat is similar to the American Shorthair. Easygoing and playful, these cats will bond with their owners and follow them around. Despite their attachment, these fun-loving cats will not rely on their human and will play on their own.

The American Wirehair, in general, gets along well with other pets and children. They are also a great companion for single people. Even in an apartment, these cats will be just fine. They are not known to be vocal and are content to lay about in the sun while their owner is away.

Caring for your American Wirehair

It’s easy to think that the American Wirehair cat would be hypoallergenic, but that’s not quite the case with this rugged breed. While the texture reflects “steel wool” and is low maintenance, these cats don’t quite make the “cats that don’t shed” list. 

Allergies are caused by the dander and not the hair of the cat. The American Wirehair’s coat can vary in density. The heavier the coat, the more dander it can trap. 

There is no scientific evidence that any breed of cat is more or less prone to disrupting your allergies. In short, there are no actual hypoallergenic cats

Grooming your American Wirehair is a very hands-off process. These cats don’t need daily brushing and often do better without attention. When shedding season comes around, they might need a thorough brushing, but otherwise, once in a while is just fine.

American Wirehair

The Health and Happiness of your American Wirehair

The average lifespan of the American Wirehair is between 10-15 years. 

The American Wirehair is overall a healthy breed. Due to their history of cross-breeding these cats with the American Shorthair, they are prone to some of their illnesses. Including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HMC), the most common form of heart disease.

No one can guarantee that a cat will never develop HMC, and this is something that breeders should screen for. Breeding stock of American Wirehair cats need to be tested, and if they do not pass they should not be bred. Don’t buy a kitten whose parents haven’t been tested.

American Wirehair cats have also been identified to have Progressive Retinal Atrophy. The term encompasses multiple eye degeneration genetic disorders. 

Feline History. Where does the American Wirehair come from?

In 1966 two seemingly normal barn cats had a litter of kittens in New York. The litter had 5 kittens and all of them had a bristled coat. Only one kitten survived. That was the first of the American Wirehair cats.

The lone kitten was sold to a Rex breeder a few states over. The breeder began a selective breeding program for the unique trait. The population grew and in 1967 the breed was recognized by the CFA.

Despite their popularity, the American Wirehair is considered to be the rarest breed of cat.

American Wirehair

Questions people often ask about American Wirehair kittens

  • +Are American Wirehair cats aggressive?

  • +Do American Wirehair cats shed?

  • +How do you identify an American Wirehair cat?

  • +Where Can I Find The Best American Wirehair Breeders?

Find a cat breeder near you 


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