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American Wirehair Cat Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

If you’re looking for a “unique” looking cat that is easy going and great around children, you’re definitely going to want to include the American Wirehair cat on your “short list” of options.


These guys are a whole lot of fun to own and are sure to be a great conversation starter for anyone meeting you and your cat for the first time.

But this doesn’t…

Mean that you should just run out and try and track down your nearest American Wirehair cat breeder because there are a few things you’re going to want to know about this cat breed before you’re going to be able to decide whether or not this little guy might be right for you.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet have chosen to write this article so that if you ever become lucky enough to become an owner of an American Wirehair kitten, you won’t be disappointed six months later that you didn’t decide to adopt a different “type” of kitten.

So… without further ado, let’s dive right in.

American Wirehair Cat Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  United States

Size:  Medium to large

Weight:  8 to 11 pounds

Eyes:  Round

Head shape:  Round

Life Span:  15 to 20 years

Origin of the American Wirehair

As its name suggests, the American Wirehair first originated in the United States.  As it turns out, like many “new” cat breeds, the American Wirehair was first “created” when a spontaneous mutation deriving from what many believe was a domestic shorthair, first appeared in 1966 in upstate New York.

From there…

A local breeder by the name of Joan O’Shea, took the “first” little American Wirehair kitten by the name of “Adam” and choose to mate him with one of his siblings Tip-Toe in an effort to “capture” the recessive gene responsible for creating the unique “wire hair” that these cats are best known for.

The attempt was successful…

Allowing further “pairings” to perpetuate the breed eventually allowing the Cat Fanciers Association to fully recognized the American Wirehair cat breed as its own distinct breed in 1967, and by 1978 they could “officially” compete for championships.

And while…

The American Wirehair is the product of a gene “mutation”, it’s important to point out that the “mutation” responsible for the American Wirehair’s mutation is a rather unique mutation.

You see…

While most mutations can be found throughout the world, the wirehair mutation is only found in the U.S., and has not yet been replicated elsewhere.  Which in our opinion, kind of adds to mystique of the wirehair, and is often a driving factor for many people’s desire to have one as a pet.

Physical Characteristics

The American Wirehair is most easily recognized by its kinky, springy coat.  However, in cases of less coarse fur, usually their whisker will retain some curliness.  Otherwise, they appear very similar to American Shorthairs.  They do tend to have higher cheekbones than the shorthair, and this is used as a defining characteristic in competition which sets the breed apart from its ancestral breed.  It also has a rounded head and ears and has a medium-sized body but in some cases, they can lean on the large side as well.

American Wirehair coat

Is a medium length coat that is “crimped” and “hard” to the touch.  That said, however, it still a nice texture that is nice to “pet”.  Their coat can come in a wide variety of colors, much like the American Shorthair.

And while…

The American Wirehair will have several “subtle” features that will give its identity away, at the end of the day, this breed is known for its crimped coat.  But it should be noted that these guys also have very strong and muscular hind legs, which make them agile and good jumpers.

We should also point out that…

Because the American Wirehair cats fur can be easily “damaged” by combing it, it is generally recommended that you avoid brushing it unless he or she is shedding excessively due to “seasonal” affects.  Which is why, in addition to periodically washing your wirehair (Top 10 Best Cat Shampoo’s) you’ll also want to make sure that you stay on top of your flea and tick management program as well.

For more information on who we fell offers some of the “best” flea and tick medications on the market feel free to check out our Best Flea and Tick Medications for Cats.

Temperament of the American Wirehair

The American Wirehair cat personality traits are, again, very similar to the shorthair’s.  They are both athletic and moderately active cats.  And while Wirehairs like to play and bounce around, they generally won’t be nagging you all day (which is nice… right?).  They are usually pretty adaptable, and usually happy and good-natured.

They’re kind of like…

The class clown: goofy and fun.  However, they do enjoy their quiet time, so don’t make the mistake that you will be able to rouse a wirehair at any time of the day for playtime.  Because of their intelligence, they tend to enjoy interactive toys, such as puzzles.

For all of these reason…

And many more, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise when we tell you that these little guys make a great family pet, especially since they won’t be scared off by any little kid craziness.


If you already have pets in the home, there’s no need to worry.  While a new wirehair may not love another pet, they won’t be hostile.  They will get along with cat-friendly dogs.  And as long as children and other pets treat the wirehair with respect, they will return the favor.

Of course…

As with any other cat, the best thing to do is to introduce your new wirehair to any children or pets slowly and in a safe, comfortable environment.  This will produce the best results for their future relationships.

Common Health Problems

The American Wirehair is blessed with generally good health.  Of course, there is always the possibility of health issues, just as there is in any cat.  Most issues that will arise will be common to the American Shorthair, since these breeds are so often bred together.

The most common…

Medical condition that your American Wirehair may encounter is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM.  This is a heart disease that is found in almost all breeds.  Essentially, this disease causes the heart muscle to thicken.  This leads to a less efficient heart and could even cause problem in other areas of the body.  There is strong evidence that this is a genetic disease, so if you are buying from a breeder, always get a written health guarantee.

Another major problem…

For wirehairs and for all cats is obesity.  If you don’t make the effort to keep your cat active and eating a proper diet, you run the risk of pushing them into obesity.

The good news is that…

There is nothing more preventable yet more devastating to a cat’s overall health than obesity.  So be sure to play with your wirehair regularly and feed them the proper food (Top 10 Best Cat Foods).  That means no human food!

Which brings us to…

The last topic we want to discuss which is pet insurance.  Here at IndulgeYourPet, we always like to encourage any new pet owner to take a moment and determine what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy on your little guy.


You never know if your pet is going to need the services of a veterinarian throughout the course of his or her life.  Now will a pet insurance policy be “right” for everyone?

No probably not, but until you know what they will and won’t cover and how much they cost, how will you be able to determine if purchasing one isn’t “right” for you.

For more information on who we feel currently off the “best” pet insurance policies, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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