Although rare, the American Wirehair Cat is a popular breed native to upstate New York. Known for their unusual wiry coats and sweet personalities these cats are closely related to the American Shorthair and are very popular companions.
Breed History of the American Wirehair
The American Wirehairs are the result of a dominant, yet spontaneous natural mutation that occurred in a litter of kittens in 1966. Of the six kittens born, sadly only two survived, with one having peculiar wiry hair which baffled its owner. A short time later a local cat breeder was contacted who then bought the kittens in an attempt to replicate the unusual coat in a breeding program.
It is said that the American Wirehair was successfully bred with an American Shorthair cat which then produced a litter of kittens with the same wiry coat. Noted British cat geneticists later confirmed that this cat was unrelated to the Devon Rex or Cornish cat breed. Essentially, this confirmed this to be a new breed, and, in 1967, the cats were recognized as an official breed by the Cat Fanciers Association.
Quick Facts About The American Wirehair Cat
To help you get to know the American Wirehair better, here are some quick, top facts that you should know about this loveable cat breed:
- These cats are considered a medium-large breed
- American Wirehair cats can weigh between 8 and 15 pounds
- American Wirehairs are not considered hypoallergenic cats
- This cat breed is the result of a spontaneous mutation from two farm cats in New York
- They are often compared to American Shorthairs for their similar personalities and colors
Additional Fun Facts:
- The first American Wirehair kitten was named Council Rock Farm Adam of Hi Fi.
- In 1978 American Wirehairs were accepted for championship competition
- Spontaneous mutations are common in cats. It just so happens that the Wirehair held a dominant mutation that resulted in this popular American cat breed.
Things You Should Know About The American Wirehair
As with other pets and cat breeds, it’s important to understand your American Wirehair in order for you to be able to take good care of her. Below is everything you should know to ensure they live a happy and healthy life.
Appearance and Physical Characteristics
The most notable feature about this cat breed is their wiry coat which is often compared to lamb’s wool in texture. The American Wirehair also has a rounded face, high cheekbones, and slightly curved medium-sized ears. Like other cats, they also have large, shining, round eyes although the Wirehair’s tilt slightly upward.
The American Wirehair is regarded as a medium-large length breed. The average length of this cat is between 12 – 15 inches and can grow between 8-10 inches in height.
We may have mentioned previously that the American Wirehair coat is significantly different compared to other cat breeds. This is due to their steel wool texture and crimped overall appearance – this includes their whiskers! Also, whereas their wired coat is thick, the hair length itself is of a short-medium length.
Although they can have a persistent solid-colored coat, most patterns can occur in Wirehair’s coats. These include:
The color of an American Wirehair’s coat can also range containing shades of:
- Blue cream
Wirehairs mostly have amber, green, or blue eyes however it is common for them to develop heterochromia where their eyes are different colors.
To make things even better, this cat breed isn’t known to develop genetic health issues due to its careful breeding programs over the years.
Although they are considered generally healthy, American Wirehairs have been known to develop Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, likely due to their breeding with American Shorthairs. This is a common heart disease that can occur in many cat breeds but can be treated well depending on severity.
Due to conflicting sources, with some claiming that Wirehairs live between 7-12 years and others saying they can span between 14-20 years, it’s difficult to give an accurate answer. With minimal genetic health problems, it’s safe to estimate that the breed will live long healthy lives compared to other cats. Also, the Wirehair’s relation to the American Shorthair can also imply that they will live longer as this breed has been known to live up to 20 years of age. Although bare in mind that their quality of life will also have a toll on their expectancy.
For example, outdoor cats are not expected to live as long as indoor felines as they are exposed to additional dangers such as cars, other animals, and even human cruelty. By keeping your kitten indoors you can protect them from the risks listed here as well as diseases spread by other cats.
Like other breeds, Wirehairs need a balanced, high-quality diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein. Treats are always acceptable in a cat’s diet although don’t go overboard as overindulgence can lead to health problems later on.
Regular exercise and interactive play are vital to keeping the American Wirehair breed healthy inside and out. These cats are especially active and love to play and occupy themselves with toys. Fortunately, PetSide has a great guide to interactive toys to keep your kitty busy.
Other Care Tips:
Always check your cat’s ears and eyes and make sure to wipe away any gunk with a damp cloth. Due to their springy coat, wax can often build up in the hair inside their ears so it’s important to pay special attention to this.
Additionally, to prevent dental issues, you may want to brush their teeth to protect their gum health. If you find yourself needing to provide upkeep for your cat’s teeth, it’s understandable for the task to seem daunting, however, there are plenty of resources that can help you get the job done.
Daily brushing is not completely necessary for an American Wirehair as the individual hairs are known to be prone to damage. Their hard coat can often seem durable but excessive combing can leave hairs broken.
Having said that, during times where your cat may be shedding heavily, an occasional brush can help to remove dead hair. By doing this, as well as regular bathing, you can prevent the build-up of oils which can leave their coat a little matted and dirty.
For those who are not a fan of finding cat hair lying around in heaps, you’re in luck. Although an American Wirehair has a thick and crimped coat, you will find that they don’t shed as often as other breeds.
American Wirehair Cat Personality and Temperament
Pet owners have often remarked that the American Wirehair is an easy cat to own for several reasons. Besides being relatively simple to care for physically, they are remarkably relaxed, quiet, and loving lap cats. Like other felines, they are also known for being very playful animals with a particular love of bird watching. In addition to this, the breed is also an adaptable companion, making it a good fit for single homes and big families.
Wirehairs and Other Household Animals
Whereas Wirehairs have been known to play well with children and dogs it is not recommended to own one if you have smaller pets such as birds, rodents, or lizards. Their prey drive is particularly high and their instincts are likely to kick in if in the same room as these other pets.
Where Can I Get an American Wirehaired Cat?
Finding a Wirehair kitten can prove difficult but not impossible. If you do your research, you will find a promising and trustworthy breeder or even find your new friend waiting to be rescued. Below are some resources that will help!
Find a Reputable Breeder
Reputable breeders can easily be found through the internet although make sure they tick all the right boxes before you make a purchase. Never pay for a kitten online and always make sure that the parents of the litter are healthy and well looked after.
Using the CFA’s website is an excellent source to help you find many breeders that will be happy to help.
Before buying a kitten always make sure you can meet their requirements. Caring for Wirehair kittens can seem easy but don’t forget to take in the extra costs and the time you will need to give them to make sure they grow healthy and happy.
The price of these kittens isn’t bad when compared to other rare cat breeds. American Wirehair kittens generally cost between $800-$1200.
Due to how rare the American Wirehair cat breed is, you are unlikely to find them in a shelter although it may be worth checking the links below from time to time just in case there is a kitty in need of a new home:
The Last Word
Quiet but playful, the Wirehair kitty can make a wonderful addition to your home. Although they don’t mesh well with smaller animals they love bonding with children and dogs as much as they will love connecting to you. Just be aware that as they are a popular breed, they are still rare, which can make it difficult to find one, but owners of the cat will tell you that it’s worth the wait.