American Wirehair cats are unique and they know it! Besides being a very rare cat breed, these kitties have a type of hair that can only be found as a part of their coats. Perhaps this is just the breed to fit with your family’s unique style!
Title Photo Credit: Heikki Siltala via Catza.net (creative commons)
All Natural Crimps and Curls
If you are looking for a cat with a unique hairdo, the American Wirehair cat breed might be for you! Their most distinctive feature is a short coat that is full of stiff crimps and curls. The feel of these coats is like that of a soft steel wool. After being touched, the curls spring back into place. Even their whiskers have curls! Exactly how tight the curls of an American Wirehair cat’s coat are can vary.
There is no limit on coat colors for the American Wirehair breed. Just like the Persian cat breed, the American wirehair has all 3 types of hair: down, awn, and guard. Other curly-haired cat breeds, like the Cornish Rex, have only 1 type of hair. Monthly baths are suggested to keep the coat from getting oily.
Large, round, wide-set eyes give American Wirehair cats a very sweet expression. Their bodies are medium-sized and muscular. Overall, they are very healthy, balanced cats.
The History of the American Wirehair Cat Breed
The very first American Wirehair cat appeared on the Council Rock Farm in Verona, New York in 1966. This kitten was part of a litter of 6 kittens born to a pair of domestic shorthair cats that lived on the farm. The farmers showed the kitten to a friend and cat breeder, Jean O’shea.
When O’shea saw the wired haired kitten, she knew she had found something unique. The curly coat appeared to be a spontaneous mutation just like the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex cat breeds in England. She began breeding the cat and was able to produce more kittens with a wiry coat.
O’Shea enlisted the help of British cat geneticists, A.G. Searle and Roy Robinson, to find out if the new breed was related to the Rex breeds. It was determined that the wiry coat of the new cat breed was not related to the Rex breeds. In fact, the genetics of this new cat breed were much more similar to that of the American Shorthair. Due to the similarities, the American Shorthair was used to help develop the breed.
Another pair of breeders, Bill and Madeline Beck, purchased a female wiry haired kitten from O’Shea. The Becks would help to shine a spotlight on the new American Wirehair breed in the cat fancy. In 1967, the new breed was accepted into the Cat Fancier’s Association and granted championship status in 1978. The American Shorthair is still used as an outcross with the breed.
Despite the uniqueness of the new breed, not many breeders have chosen to be a part of the American Wirehair breeding program. This is the rarest breed in the Cat Fancier’s Association’s membership. Wait times to get an American Wirehair kitten can be rather long.
Some cats make can make the best out of any situation! The American Wirehair is a very adaptable breed. They learn to get along with children, dogs, and other pets quite easily. These kitties are calm and reserved. Their personalities are much like those of the American Shorthair.
American Wirehair cats stay playful and kitten-like for their whole lives. They are energetic and affectionate, but not clingy. Some are lap cats and others prefer to keep their paws firmly planted on the ground. These kitties are true individuals!
If you are considering adding an American Wirehair cat to your family, take a look at these adoptable kitties on Petfinder!