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American Wirehair Cat Breed History, Appearance, character, Health & more

American shorthair and longhair cats are known to most cat lovers. But what kind of breed is the "American Wirehair"? Often called "American Wirehair Cat" they are very rare in America and hard to find in Europe. Nevertheless, the American Wirehair is a very interesting cat, which, like many other cat breeds, was created due to an accidental mutation. Learn more about the wirehair cats from New York State here!

American Wirehair History

You may have already noticed: Wirehair cats resemble the American or European Shorthair cat in appearance and character. The only difference seems to be the special coat of the American Wirehair cat. Or?

In fact, the breed is due to a spontaneous mutation, which was discovered in the 60s in the state of New York. The litter of a shorthair cat was conspicuous for the special coat texture of the kittens. The only survivor of the litter, a red and white tabby male, attracted the attention of the breeder, Joan O'Shea, because of his unusual coat. The latter purchased the cat and named him "Council Rock Adam of Hi-Fi". By crossbreeding with American Shorthair cats, he soon established his own cattery. Until the recognition by the Cat Fanciers Association still, some years passed - in 1978 the breed was accepted as a type of the American Shorthair. Up to now, there are only a few breeders of the American Wirehair in the USA, in Europe, the breed is almost unknown. Therefore, in order to preserve genetic diversity and to avoid the development of hereditary diseases, the American Wirehair is still crossed with the American Shorthair. Since the gene for the wiry coat is inherited in a dominant manner, it prevails in about half of the kittens. Depending on the disposition, the fur of the cat curls directly after birth or only after four to six months. This depends, among other things, on the individual coat condition. The crossing of two American Wirehair usually produces kittens whose special coat texture stands out. These kittens often show wiry whiskers right after birth!

American Wirehair Appearance

The hallmark of the American Wirehair is its eponymous coat structure. The wiry coat of the animals was created by a random mutation, which is inherited dominantly. It provides for a particularly dense, rough coat. The reason is a unique coat structure: the individual hairs are curved and crimped at the ends. The whiskers of the American Wirehaired Cat also look "kinked" to a certain extent. The special coat structure makes the American Wirehaired Cat look somewhat sleepy and disheveled, but at the same time, it contributes to the breed's cuddly appearance!

Nevertheless, even among American Wirehaired Cats, differences in coat texture are evident. The gene is inherited dominantly. The stronger the predisposition, the stronger the eponymous trait will prevail.

The wirehair gene is traced back to a random mutation that occurred in the 1960s in the state of New York in America. Mutations are not unusual in the cat world. Nevertheless, it is absolutely untypical that the mutation for a rough coat in the breeding history appeared apparently uniquely only in the American area! The dominantly inherited gene ensures that the disposition is passed on to all offspring and asserts itself there in the form of a wiry coat.

Due to their common history, the American Wirehair has a similar build to the American Shorthair. They are powerfully and muscularly built, have a strong chest and medium length, well-muscled legs. The cheekbones are set high and the muzzle is prominent. Alert, wide open, and often bright yellow eyes are reminiscent of their relative, the American Shorthair. Like the Shorthair, the Wirehaired cat occurs in all colors. Thereby the wirehairedness asserts itself with some animals directly after the birth, with others only from the approximately fourth month of life - until then kittens appear like shorthair cats.

Possible coat colors of the American Wirehair cat are as follows:

  • White: American Wirehair cats of the color white may have yellow or blue eyes - but uneven colored eyes are also allowed.
  • Black: The black coat of an American Wirehair should be evenly colored with no gray spiky hairs. The nose and paw pads are also black in color, and the eye color is often gold.
  • Blue: The genetic dilution of the coat color black is called "blue". Often the nose and paw pads also show a blue color, the eyes a bright gold.
  • Red: Red American Wirehair is preferred like their fellows of the breed American Shorthair without white.
  • Cream: The dilution of the color red is called "cream". The color appears beige.
  • Bicolored: As in the American Shorthair breeding, bicolored American Wirehair is also allowed for breeding. These often show a white base color with black, blue, red, or beige patches.
  • Chinchilla: The color "Chinchilla" is very striking: The hair itself is banded in two colors. If it is white and only the tip is colored black, the coloration of the cat is called "chinchilla". If the single hair shows a red tip, one speaks of a "red Chinchilla". Many cats of this color pattern have a rim around the eyes and nose. American Shorthair of the color Chinchilla often have striking green shining eyes - because the American Wirehair cat is often crossed with the American Shorthair, this characteristic appears also here.
  • Shaded: As with the Chinchilla color, American Wirehair cats of the shaded color have banded, bicolored hairs. However, in contrast to the Chinchilla coloration, the single hair has a higher percentage of black. This color also occurs with a red-colored tip and is here called "red shaded".
  • Smoke: Also the color "Smoke" shows a banding of the single hair. In Smoke, however, the black portion predominates, only the lowest part of the hair is colored white. This leads to the fact that the white partial coloring is noticeable only when dividing the coat. Variants are "Blue Smoke" and "Red Smoke", in these colors the hair shows a blue or red coloring. Some cats even show a banding with black, red and blue! The animals appear tricolored, a close examination of the single hair shows a white undercoat.
  • Tabby: Tiger cats - who does not love them? In the American Wirehair, tabby animals are called "tabby". But mackerel is not equal to tabby! The Mackarel Tabby coloring shows a narrow, well-defined pattern, often with an eel mark and stripes on the legs and tail. The Ticket Tabby, according to breeding regulations, often shows only one pattern on the head, neck, legs, and tail. A patched tabby is an animal with cream or red patches.
  • Calico: Who does not know them, the three-colored "lucky cats"? In the English language and so also in the American Shorthair and American Wirehair breeding these cats are called "Calico". White represents the predominant part of the coat color, this is supplemented by patches of black, red, their dilutions, and sometimes even tabby markings.
The colors Chocolate and Cinnamon, as well as their dilutions, are not permitted.

American Wirehair Character

The American Wirehair cat is an uncomplicated, fun-loving cat. She is tolerant and well suited for life in a family - she gets along well with children and also enjoys making friends with conspecifics and other cats.

The robust breed loves to play for their lives. Here the heritage of the American Shorthair asserts itself! There are quieter wirehair cats, but as a rule, in addition to playing with humans, the cats love to hunt outdoors. The American Wirehair is so well suited for free running, but with sufficient opportunities to play and climb, such as with the help of a scratching post, it will also be happy when kept indoors alone. If you are often out of the house, you should offer your American Wirehair interactive toys. However, even intelligent toys are no substitute for a feline companion. The American Wirehair cat is very social. Especially if the kitty is alone most of the day, you should think about a second cat - ideally even before your American Wirehair cat moves in with you!

American Wirehair Health and care

Despite its extraordinary coat, the American Wirehair is easy to care for. The wiry coat does not require any special treatment. Usually, brushing once a week is enough to minimize the amount of shed hair. During the shedding season, you can also offer your wirehair cat grass or malt paste. In this way, swallowed hairs are eliminated naturally during grooming!

The annual check-up at the vet is of course also a must for the American Wirehair. The veterinarian of your confidence will examine your cat closely, listen to lungs and heart and dare a look into the mouth. Here you can also get information about necessary vaccinations or vermin prophylaxis.

American Wirehair Diet

Like all cats, the American Wirehair benefits from a diet rich in high-quality protein. Cats are carnivores by nature, as such, they have a limited ability to utilize carbohydrates. Unfortunately, many inferior diets use vegetable by-products as fillers. In dry food, vegetable ingredients make it easier to produce solid kibble.

Therefore, when buying food, keep an eye out - if in doubt, take a look at the label! According to the European Feed Regulation, ingredients in cat food are sorted by quantity. Meat should therefore be at the top of the list of ingredients. But cats need not only muscle meat but also high-quality offal. These can, but do not have to be summarized as "animal by-products".  More and more feed manufacturers are therefore opting for the open declaration, which precisely lists the offal contained. This way you can be sure that the food for your American Wirehaired Cat contains many healthy ingredients and only a few undefinable ingredients like greaves, hair, and horn. For more information on this topic, check out our article on "How Can I Recognize High-Quality Cat Food?"

More and more cat owners are also enthusiastic about raw feeding or home cooking. To ensure that your cat gets enough nutrients and protein, precise training is a must. Fortunately, there are now many guides on the subject of "BARF"! Feed manufacturers and stores have also picked up the trend and offer raw meat, supplements, and often even ready portioned raw portions.


The American Wirehaired Cat is mainly bred in the USA. But even here the is relatively rare. So is it any wonder that the American Wirehaired Cat is a rarity in Europe? If you are interested in this breed, you should therefore contact the American breeding associations directly. For example, the American Wirehair is recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association. Here they can help you to find responsible breeders!

Because also with the American Wirehair applies: Professional breeders belong to a breeding association. This ensures that the bred animals meet the respective breeding standard. Breeders who take responsibility for their animals and their offspring also attach importance to a species-appropriate environment, cat-friendly food, and regular health care for parents and kittens. The latter are allowed to grow up in the family for at least twelve weeks. In this imprinting phase, they learn everything important to grow up to healthy, balanced cats! Cat breeding is an expensive hobby, therefore all this has of course its price. Depending on the pedigree, an American Wirehair can cost several hundred Euros. Here the prices are similar to those of other pedigrees.

Who would like to save money, nevertheless, should not go so-called multipliers who offer "pedigree cats for a small price" on the glue? Despite bargain prices, profit is the main focus here. Species-appropriate cat food, health care or even a grace period for cat mothers often do not exist here. The alleged "breeder" also does not belong to a breeding association. This of course saves money in the form of show and membership fees. At the same time, however, the control of the association regarding breed standard and keeping conditions is circumvented. The alleged bargain can cost you so quickly expensive because hereditary diseases and malnutrition are not uncommon here.

Who does not want to reach for his dream cat already at the purchase too deeply into the bag, should therefore consider the visit of the local animal protection. Here, countless cats of all ages, characters, and appearances are looking for a new home. Some were given away by their previous owners in the animal shelter, others found roaming around or found themselves in the animal shelter after the death of their human. Here you are guaranteed to find the perfect cat for your family!

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