American Wirehair

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american wirehair cat portrait
Meet the American Wirehair, the curly-coated showstopper of the feline world! Boasting a personality as wild and wonderful as their wiry fur, these cats are the ultimate in uniqueness.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, care, health concerns, history, and more!


OFFICIAL NAMEAmerican Wirehair
ORIGINUnited States
HEIGHT9-10 inches
WEIGHT8-12 lbs
LIFESPAN14-20 years
american wirehair cat standing on low wall
Photo: slowmotiongli/Getty Images


The American Wirehair is a small to medium-sized cat breed, with males typically being larger than females. They usually weigh between 8 to 12 pounds. This breed exhibits a powerful build with a broad chest, muscular neck, and strong jaws. Their legs are thick and sturdy, supporting a well-developed muzzle.

The American Wirehair’s head is rounded, with medium-sized ears that are in proportion to the rest of the body. Their eyes are large, contributing to their alert and curious expression.

However, the most distinctive characteristic of the American Wirehair is, without a doubt, its unique coat. Unlike any other cat breed, the American Wirehair’s coat is coarse, crimped, and springy to the touch. This dense and resilient coat covers their entire body, including their tail. Even their whiskers share this crinkly trait!

This unusual coat gives the American Wirehair an endearing scruffy look that is both charming and distinctive. Despite the wiry texture, their fur is surprisingly low maintenance.


The American Wirehair is a delightful cat breed known for its easy-going and pleasant personality. These felines are incredibly adaptable, making them an excellent companion for families, singles, or seniors. They’re known to be very affectionate and friendly, often forming strong bonds with their human companions.

One of the distinguishing traits of the Wirehair is their intelligence. They are curious and inquisitive creatures, always interested in their surroundings and keen on exploring every nook and cranny of their home. This trait makes them a joy to interact with as they’ll often engage in playful antics that keep their owners entertained.

Despite their curiosity, the American Wirehair is not overly demanding or hyperactive. They have a balanced energy level, appreciating playtime but also valuing their rest. They are known to enjoy leisurely lounging around the house, preferably in the company of their favorite humans.

Another wonderful aspect of the Wirehair’s personality is their independent nature. While they love spending time with their humans, they’re also perfectly content to spend time alone. This makes them a great choice for those who have work commitments but still want a pet to come home to.

In terms of their social behavior, American Wirehairs can be a bit reserved with strangers initially. However, once they warm up to new people, they’re just as friendly and affectionate as they are with their familiar humans.

Overall, the American Wirehair has a well-rounded temperament, making them a fantastic choice for a wide range of households. Their combination of friendliness, independence, and intelligence coupled with their unique appearance makes them a truly special breed.

american wirehair cat looking out a window
Photo: Fernando Calmon/Getty Images



The American Wirehair’s unique coat is surprisingly low-maintenance. Unlike many other cat breeds, they do not require regular brushing or combing. In fact, excessive grooming can potentially damage their distinctive wiry fur.

The only time a bit of extra grooming may be needed is during the spring shedding season. During this time, a gentle brush can help remove loose hairs. Regularly checking their ears and keeping their nails trimmed is also part of their basic grooming needs.

Exercise and Play

While American Wirehairs are not overly active cats, they still benefit from regular play and exercise to keep them mentally stimulated and physically fit.

They enjoy interactive toys and games that challenge their intellect. Providing climbing trees and scratching posts can also help meet their need for physical activity while protecting your furniture. Remember, even though they are independent, they enjoy the company of their humans. So, take time to engage in play activities with them.

Diet and Nutrition

American Wirehairs, like all cats, require a balanced diet to maintain their overall health. High-quality cat food that is rich in protein should be the primary component of their diet.

It’s important to monitor their food intake to prevent overeating and obesity, as they are prone to weight gain. Fresh water should always be readily available. If you have any concerns about their dietary needs, it’s always best to consult with a vet to ensure they’re getting the right nutrients.


The American Wirehair is a generally healthy cat breed with an impressive life expectancy ranging from 14 to 20 years. Despite their robust health, like all breeds, they are prone to certain genetic and environmental health issues. Here are five common health issues associated with this breed:

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): This is a form of heart disease that is often inherited in cats. It involves the thickening of the heart muscles, which can lead to heart failure.

Hip Dysplasia: Although more common in dogs, some cats, including the American Wirehair, can develop hip dysplasia. This condition affects the hip joint and can lead to arthritis.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is a degenerative eye disorder that eventually causes blindness.

Obesity: American Wirehairs are prone to weight gain, which can lead to various health complications such as diabetes and joint problems.

Dental Diseases: Like any other cat breed, they can suffer from dental diseases such as periodontal disease and gingivitis if oral hygiene is not maintained.

To keep an American Wirehair healthy, regular veterinary checks and vaccinations are crucial. These routine visits can help detect any potential health issues early, ensuring your cat gets the appropriate treatment promptly.

A balanced diet is equally important in maintaining their health. High-quality cat food, rich in protein and low in carbohydrates, can help prevent obesity and related health issues. Regular exercise through play can also contribute to keeping their weight in check.

Remember, every cat is unique and may have different health needs. Always consult with a vet for the best advice on diet, exercise, and health care for your American Wirehair. With proper care and attention, these charming felines can live a long, healthy life.

american wirehair cat sitting under a table
Photo: Fernando Calmon/Getty Images


The American Wirehair, a uniquely captivating breed, has an equally intriguing origin story that begins in a rural setting in upstate New York.

The year was 1966 when a domestic shorthair barn cat gave birth to a litter of kittens. Among them was a peculiar kitten with an unusual wiry coat, a result of a spontaneous genetic mutation. This kitten, fondly named Adam, was the first of what would become the American Wirehair breed.

Local cat breeder, Joan O’Shea, was captivated by Adam’s distinctive appearance. She realized the potential for a new breed and acquired both Adam and his sister, Abby, who also carried the wirehair gene. Through careful breeding, Joan O’Shea nurtured the development of this new and exciting breed, the American Wirehair.

Recognizing the uniqueness and potential of this breed, the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) accepted the American Wirehair into their program. The breed was officially registered by the CFA in 1967, just a year after the breed was discovered. This quick acceptance into the prestigious registry speaks volumes about the American Wirehair’s distinct charm and appeal.

Today, despite its rarity, the American Wirehair is cherished for its unique coat, robust health, and affable temperament. Their fascinating origin, combined with their distinctive physical traits, makes them a truly special member of the feline world.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines that describes the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential. Breed standards are devised by breed clubs and recognized by various cat registries worldwide.

These standards provide detailed descriptions of the breed’s physical characteristics such as body shape, size, coat type and color, eye color and shape, ear placement, and tail length.

american wirehair cat looking down
Photo: Boyloso/Getty Images


How rare is the American Wirehair cat breed?

The American Wirehair cat breed is considered quite rare. Despite being well-known among cat enthusiasts, there are not many of them, making them a unique find.

How can you tell if a cat is an American Wirehair?

The most distinctive feature of an American Wirehair is their wiry coat. It’s springy, dense, and coarse to the touch. Usually, their whiskers are also crinkly or curled, mirroring the texture of their fur.

What is the American Wirehair cat breed known for?

American Wirehair cats are known for their unique wirehaired coats and sweet personalities. They’re often described as relaxed, loving, and great companions for families with children and other pets.

What is the difference between the American Wirehair and the American Shorthair cat breeds?

The primary difference between these two breeds is their coat. The American Shorthair has a hard coat, while the American Wirehair has a uniquely textured, springy coat with twisted hairs. However, in terms of body type, personality, and adaptability, these two breeds are very similar.

Are American Wirehairs good family pets?

Absolutely! American Wirehairs are known for their gentle and friendly nature. They’re great with children and can get along well with other pets. Their easygoing and adaptable personality makes them a wonderful addition to any family.

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