American Wirehair Cat Breeds

by catfood

The American Wirehair cat evolved as a result of a natural mutation. The American Wirehair is distinguished from all other breeds by its coat, which is not only springy, dense, and resilient, but also coarse and hard to the touch.


The hair of the American Wirehair is abrasive and unruly, but their personality is anything but. American Wirehairs are loyal and playful people cats who enjoy their family’s attention and affection. They are active without being hyperactive, and they are affectionate without becoming clingy.

American Wirehairs are mild-mannered, middle-of-the-road cats, similar to the American Shorthair. They are not demanding and enjoy their family’s attention while maintaining their independence. They are a bit more playful and active than the American Shorthair and are agile and fun-loving. They enjoy interactive toys that involve their family, but they can also entertain themselves if necessary.

They get along well with other pets and children in general. Some claim that they are particularly sensitive to their chosen humans’ emotions and try to provide comfort and companionship when they are down. That’s when they start purring and sit beside them to comfort them.



The American Wirehair, like the American Curl, began as a spontaneous mutation in the domestic cat population; somewhere along the line, an unusual litter with distinctive fur was produced.

Fluffy and Bootsie, two barn cats from a small farm in upstate New York with no obvious unusual qualities, fathered a litter of five kittens with unusual wiry hair in 1966. Unfortunately, only one kitten survived. This was especially unfortunate because subsequent litters from Fluffy and Bootsie did not produce any more wiry-haired kittens. Whatever caused that one unusual litter appears to have been a one-time occurrence. The one surviving kitten, a red and white bicolor male, lived and thrived.

Joan O’Shea of nearby Vernon, New York, learned about the surviving kitten from a friend, who said it resembled her Rex cats. O’Shea pulled over to inspect the kitten and fell in love with the long-legged, big-eared kitten with the twisted fur. She also realized that the kitten, Adam, wasn’t a Rex at all, but rather a completely new breed. Adam eventually left his farm to join Joan’s family. Adam had litters with neighborhood cats, with some of the kittens inheriting Adam’s wiry coat.

The dominant gene responsible for the wirehair coat was discovered; only one parent required the gene to produce Wirehair offspring. To ensure that the breed was not related to any of the existing Rex breeds, hair samples from Adam were sent to renowned British cat geneticists for analysis. The hair samples examined revealed that the coating was distinct and unrelated to either the Cornish or Devon Rex.

All American Wirehairs today are descended from Adam or one of his kittens named Amy. Even though they are now recognized by the four largest North American cat associations, this breed is still relatively rare.


Physical Attributes


Large to medium. Back level, shoulders and hips the same width, well-rounded and proportionate torso


In proportion to the size of the body. The bone structure beneath the skin is round, with prominent cheekbones and a well-developed muzzle and chin. There’s a small whisker break. The nose has a gentle concave curve in profile.


Medium, slightly rounded at the tips, set wide but not excessively open at the base.


Large, rounded, bright, and distinct. Set far apart. The aperture is slightly angled upward. The color reflects intensity and complements the cat’s color.


Legs are medium in length and bone structure, well-muscled, and proportionate to the body. Paws that are firm, full, and rounded, with thick pads. Five in front and four in back.


Tapering from the well-rounded rump to a rounded tip, neither blunt nor pointed in proportion to the body.


Springy, tight, and of medium length. Individual hairs, including hair in the ears, are crimped, hooked, or bent. The coat appears to have wiring, coarseness, and resilience. Ringlets, rather than waves, can form due to the density of the wired coat. Coats can be dense, resilient, crimped, and coarse, and whiskers can be curly at times.


Any color or pattern is possible to see.


While the characteristics listed here are common for this breed, cats are individuals with unique personalities and appearances. For more information on a specific pet, please contact the adoption organization.

Want to know more about American Shorthair? Check it out on the next post!


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