American Wirehair

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
fast facts

About American Wirehair

8-13 lb
Muscular, well-balanced
14-16 years
Best Suited For
Just about any cat loving family, including those with children and other pets, thanks to their adaptability
Playful, gentle, quiet, loving
Comparable Breeds
American Shorthair
10-14 inches
American Wirehair Breed History

The first American Wirehair cat was discovered on a farm located in upstate New York in 1966. A single kitten was born with a unique appearance compared to his littermates, who were all normal domestic shorthairs featuring the typical coat associated with that breed. In other words, the first American Wirehair was born as a result of a genetic mutation that occurred completely on its own, without anyone trying to create the breed.

Tests proved that the kitten was most closely related to the American Shorthair, so breeding began in order to produce the breed. What started off as a naturally occurring mutation is now the American Wirehair, which is recognized as a pure breed.

Today, the American Wirehair is a rare breed, often kept only for participating in cat shows and for breeding, so it can be difficult to find one.

The first American Wirehair was born as a result of a genetic mutation that occurred completely on its own, without anyone trying to create the breed.

Breed Traits

The American Wirehair is a friendly and playful breed. In fact, they do not typically fully mature until they are around three or four years old. So if you are planning on introducing one into your family, be prepared to enjoy kitten-like behavior for the first few years.

These cats do well in a variety of families, making them great lap cats for seniors and energetic cats for children. They are good-natured, calm, and easygoing, with quiet voices. Females, however, are typically busier than males, while males tend to be more relaxed.

American Wirehair cats are also intelligent and really interested in things in their environment. They have great hunting instincts, enjoy watching birds outside the window, and retain a good amount of independence even though they love being around people. Despite having a lot of energy, though, they do prefer to stay indoors.

Overall Description

American Wirehair cats have a distinctive short coat that somewhat resembles steel wool, though it’s soft to the touch. Their whiskers are also crimped, giving them a truly unique appearance compared to other cat breeds. The fur of the American Wirehair is similar to the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex. The hair is wiry, somewhat course, and spongy, springing back after you gently press down on it. But there is a lot of variation in terms of the texture of the coat amongst individual cats within this breed.

The American Wirehair is also medium in size and well proportioned. These cats have attractive features that include wide-set eyes, a short to medium length muzzle, and a strong chin, so the face has a squarish appearance.


American Wirehair cats come in all colors and patterns. There are about 27 different variations to choose from.

Grooming Requirements

Because of their unique coat, American Wirehair cats do not typically have problems with their fur matting. However, they will benefit from a weekly brushing session to keep the skin and coat healthy and soft. Just be gentle when grooming these cats because their coat is quite delicate and the hairs can easily fall out or break as a result of rough brushing and stress.

Also, because these cats tend to get oily skin, a bi-monthly bathing session can be helpful in keeping the skin and coat soft and dry. And it is also important to note that some American Wirehairs can have sensitive skin, so proper grooming and bathing can prevent irritation and allergic reactions.

Photo credit: Heikki Siltala/Wikimedia; Chad Vavra/Flickr; Pets Adviser/Flickr

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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