Let's talk American Wirehairs

With its signature wiry coat, undetected thus far in any other country, the American Wirehair is truly a bona fide American original. Calm and easy-going, the breed is known to be at ease with children and playful into old age. When they aren’t spending time in your company, whether on your lap or at a comfortable (but close) distance, the American Wirehair can often be found observing birds from high perches and demonstrating their hunting instincts by tracking down insects that may wander indoors. All in all: a feline favorite for families.

Official name: American Wirehair

Other names: 

Origins: United States

American Wirehair cat sat on the grass

 Shedding level:

Warm weather? Medium
 Energy level (high, low, medium)*: Medium Family Pet?*  Very high
 Compatibility with other pets: Medium

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.
 
For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).
 
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
 
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
 
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 
Inline Image 15
Illustration of an American Wirehair
Male
22 - 28 cm Height
5 - 7 kg Weight
Female
22 - 28 cm Height
3.5 - 5 kg Weight

 

 Baby cat  Birth to 4 months
 Growing kitten  4 to 12 months
 Adult  1 to 7 years
 Mature  7 to 12 years
 Senior  From 12 years

Black and white portrait of an American Wirehair sat facing the right

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Get to know the American Wirehair

All you need to know about the breed

While the first feature you’ll notice about the American Wirehair cat is its medium-length crimped and wiry coat, the breed has a host of other appealing characteristics. For one, it is an athletic cat who is keen to play and explore its surroundings but won’t be overly demanding of activity. It’s a good idea to keep puzzle and teaser toys (especially those with lures at the end of a rod), on hand to ensure this smart breed stays enriched and mentally stimulated.

In terms of interaction, you’re likely to find this quiet but affectionate cat following you from room to room, joining you on the sofa, and maintaining a comfortable spot at the end of the bed. They are moderately talkative but can be lively purrers, conveying their easy-going nature. And because the American Wirehair is inherently sociable, it isn’t likely to hide when visitors arrive.

In appearance, American Wirehairs are known for their fairly large, round eyes and medium-sized ears that give off an open, alert expression. And while that signature coat, which exists in a variety of colours and patterns, may give the impression of being high maintenance, it is anything but: the less brushing, the better!

Tabby American Wirehair sat on the lawn in a garden

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2 facts about American Wirehairs

1. Looks can be deceiving

While there are similarities between the breeds, the American Wirehair is not an American Shorthair with a wiry coat. Distinct differences, from the position of the cheekbones to the shape of the muzzle, make the breed one-of-a-kind.

2. Hypoallergenic, true or false?

Don’t believe the rumours: the texture of the American Wirehair’s coat does not make it hypoallergenic. It is important to remember that allergies are not caused by a type of coat but rather dander, which is shed by all cats and dogs. Individuals with allergies will react differently to specific cats.

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History of the breed

The American Wirehair is unlike any other American cat breed. It emerged from a spontaneous mutation, first appearing in 1967 in a farm cat litter of six kittens born in the state of New York. This first cat was a male and when mated to another domestic cat, produced more kittens with the same wiry coat.

Hair samples were sent for analysis to cat geneticists, who found that they were unique and not the same as other rexed (soft and fine) coats. Their dense and coarse fur, often compared to steel wool, runs from head-to-paw, including the whiskers.

The breed was developed further with the use of American Shorthairs, the breed most similar in type. After several years of working to develop this unique breed, it was fully recognised by the Cat Fancier’s Association in 1978.

Today, the American Wirehair is a distinctive wonder, so much so that it is considered the rarest cat among the CFA’s 43 recognised breeds.

Black and white portrait of an American Wirehair

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of American Wirehairs

1. Ears

Wide-set ears.

2. Eyes

Large, rounded eyes with corners that tilt upward.

3. Coat

Springy, wiry and dense coat down to the whiskers.

4. Feet

Rounded feet with heavy paw pads.

5. Tail

Rounded, fluffy tail.

American Wirehair walking against a black background

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your American Wirehair
American Wirehair jumping off a wall in a garden

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Caring for your American Wirehair

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The coarse texture of the American Wirehair’s coat requires very little grooming. In fact, too much brushing can damage its delicate wiry, low-shedding fur. Aside from the occasional combing, you can keep the breed’s skin and coat clean with baths to remove loose dead hooked hairs that can lead to irritation. Intelligent and moderately playful, American Wirehair cats prefer the kind of activity that stimulates their brain. While they are capable of entertaining themselves, you can engage them with puzzle toys, teasers that tap into their hunter’s instincts. They are also quick learners so feel free to train them to use scratching posts, window perches to observe their surroundings, and even play with other pets.

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All about American Wirehairs

Easy - through its coat. The American Wirehair cat’s thick coat is springy and coarse, hard to the touch but still soft enough to be pleasant to pet. It is the breed’s most defining characteristic, setting it apart from the American Shorthair.

The American Wirehair sticks around for the long-haul with a life expectancy of 14-18 years. Given that the breed is generally very healthy, a combination of a healthy diet, exercise, and vet check-ups will ensure it leads a long life in your company.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Cat Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book