American Wirehair

American Wirehair cat breed

Breed standard: CFA, TICA, ACFA/CAA, CCA-AFC I Size: Medium I Average lifespan: 14+ years I Temperament: Calm, friendly, and cheerful I Coat: Short I Origin: United States.

The American Wirehair is a calm, friendly, robust, agile, and cheerful cat.

The origins of the American Wirehair

The American Wirehair’s name comes from the type of coat that it has. This cat is the cousin of the American Shorthair.

The result of a natural genetic mutation

The American Wirehair, a very recent breed that is rather unique, is the result of a spontaneous natural genetic mutation. The first sighting of a cat of this type was found in 1966. The kitten came from a litter of American Shorthairs in Vernon, New York. When this kitten, Adam, was born, he was the first American Wirehair. He looked different from the other kittens in his litter. He had a red and white coat with short, frizzy, and rough hair.

This kitten captivated the breeder, Joan O’Shea. She decided to buy him from his first owner. Joan gave him the name “Council Rock Farm Adam of Hi-Fi”. She noticed that his rough and curly coat made him look different from other American Shorthairs. As she suspected that he looked different due to a genetic mutation, she decided to cross Council Rock Farm Adam of Hi-Fi with another cat with a rough coat. This allowed her to have two kittens, Amy and Abby, who had the same unique traits as their father.

Amy was sold to another cat breeder, Madeline Beck. Amy gave birth to more than one American Wirehair, including the first homozygous kitten of the breed. Thanks to this kitten, named Barberry Ellen, a targeted breeding program was implemented. Thus, several generations resulting from crossings and selections with a neighboring cat also carrying the gene of rough hair were obtained, up to the creation of a new breed: the American Wirehair. The numerous crossings made it possible to understand that the gene coding the appearance of the rough hair is a dominant gene.

A breed that is still not very widespread

This new breed has officially been recognized since 1977 by numerous feline associations such as the CFA, CCA, and WCF. Despite this official recognition, the American Wirehair is still not very widespread. The breed was imported to France in 1972 and was recognized by the LOOF in 1988. There are also American Wirehairs in the United Kingdom, but not a large number of them.

Character of the American Wirehair

This short-haired cat breed is gentle, kind, curious, and not very demanding.

The American Wirehair: its qualities

Similar to the American Shorthair, the American Wirehair is an alert, agile, and intelligent cat. These cat loves playing with puzzles and interactive toys that keep them mentally stimulated.

As these cats are affectionate, friendly, and sociable, they are ideal cats for families. This cat breed is a great companion for people who live alone, single people, or elderly people. The American Wirehair is also a great playmate for children, because they are fun and forgiving. In addition, these cats can learn tricks and they love attention from those who treat them with kindness.

American Wirehairs are not fickle pets and like the company of other animals. This cat breed is very interested in its environment and everything that happens around it.

In addition, while this cat is an outside cat, the American Wirehair can adapt perfectly well to life in an apartment. However, they still need enough space to grow and blossom.

Are there any downsides to having an American Wirehair?

American Wirehairs are not temperamental, but they are rather distant from strangers and reluctant when strangers want to caress them or touch them. It is important to not pressure them to adopt new habits because they are very sensitive. On another note, American Wirehairs are talkative cats and they do not handle solitude very well.

Additionally, since these cats are great hunters, it is not a good idea to leave these cats with other pets such as rabbits.

an American wirehair cat with copper eyes
The eyes of the American Wirehair are large and set far apart. Here, they are copper-colored.

The physical characteristics of the American Wirehair


The American Wirehair is a medium-sized cat. When elongated, this cat has a muscular, rustic, and athletic body with strong and resistant limbs. While these cats have short hair like the American Shorthair, they have a curly, stiff, and sometimes prickly coat.


The American Wirehair has a rounded head, high cheekbones, and medium-sized ears that are set wide apart, with slightly rounded ends. Their square chin has thin and wavy whiskers on a square but not very short muzzle. The slightly short nose of this cat breed has a slight raised bump.

They are also characterized by bright, attentive, and luminous eyes. The eyes are big, set wide apart, and can be any color.


American Wirehairs have a medium-sized body. They have strong and muscular paws which are proportionate and parallel with the rest of their body. Their neck, which is medium length, is also rather muscular. The chest of the American Wirehair is rather large (especially for males) and its rounded paws have thick paw pads. When it comes to the back of this cat, it is straight, compact, and well-balanced.

The tail is medium length and has a round end. It is thick at the base and thinner towards the end of the tail.

Coat, color, and grooming


These cats have a thick and curly coat with a rough texture. The coat is composed of a mixture of curly, crinkled and prickly hairs. The whiskers and hairs in their ears are also frizzy. The coat is composed of three different types of hair: the top hairs, the secondary hairs, and the undercoat. This gives these cats a dense and short coat. This characteristic protects them well against bad weather when they are outside.


This breed’s coat colors are very varied. Among the accepted colors and patterns, there are: black, white, blue, red, cream, chinchilla, shaded, smoked, tabby, and calico. However, chocolate, colorpoint, cinnamon, and lilac are colors that are not accepted by the breed standard.

Grooming and caring for the American Wirehair

This cat’s hard coat does not need special care. You can brush them weekly to help eliminate dead hairs. To avoid damaging their coat, make sure to not brush their coat too hard.

Baths can also help to get rid of dead hairs and traces of grease left by secreted sebum on their skin. When it comes to their ears, they should be cleaned regularly to avoid the proliferation of germs and parasites. To keep their claws a comfortable length, you should trim them at least twice a month.

The diet of this cat breed does not differ from that of other cat breeds. However, their diet needs to be adapted to their age, health, needs, and daily activities. Keep in mind that these cats love to eat and can easily gain weight. Therefore, it’s important to ration their food well to avoid obesity.

Did you know?

The story goes that Adam, the ancestor of the American Wirehair, was the only survivor of a litter that was attacked by a weasel.

The American Wirehair at a glance

Size: 25 to 30 cm for both males and females (≈ 9.8 to 11.8 in).

Weight: 3 to 5 kg (≈ 6.6 to 11 lbs) for females and 5 to 7 kg (≈ 11 to 15.4 lbs) for males.

Health: Despite being healthy overall, the American Wirehair is subject to polycystic kidney disease, which causes cysts to form in the kidneys, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which causes abnormal thickening of the walls of his heart. Because of this, it is important to visit to the vet regularly to monitor your cat.

Average lifespan: 14 to 18 years.

Are American Wirehairs good with children? As these cats are affectionate, they get along very well with children. However, the children need to be taught how to not pressure these cats because they are sensitive and appreciate calmness.