American Wirehair Cat Breed Information And Pictures

Russell Cargill

american wirehair

The American Wirehair is a rare breed that is a result of a spontaneous mutation while breeding, which is where their wired coat comes from. 

The unique nature of their coat makes them distinguishable from other breeds. The American Wirehair makes for a fun-loving companion suitable for all households due to its gentle playfulness. 

American Wirehair Breed Overview
Height9-11 inches (22-28 cm)
Weight8-15 lbs (3.5-6 kg)
Lifespan10-15 years
ColorsCan range in any variety of colors 
Suitable forGreat for families with children or other pets
TemperamentRelaxed, loving, and moderately playful
Breed Traits Overview

History Of The American Wirehair

The American Wirehair came about in an unusual way after two farm cats parented a litter of kittens with wiry hair. At the time, it wasn’t understood why these five kittens had such a unique coat and why only one of the five kittens ended up surviving. 

This kitten, named Adam, ended up with Joan O’Shea in Vernon, New York heard that Adam looked like her other Devon Rexes. After going home with O’Shea, Adam bred with neighborhood cats, producing some kittens with the same unusual coat as him. 

At this point, O’Shea was sure that Adam wasn’t a Rex cat but rather a whole new breed. To confirm her suspicion, she sent some of Adam’s hair to a British cat geneticist. After analysis, the geneticist confirmed that the hair sample wasn’t related to the Cornish or Devon Rex. 

This confirmed a new and unique breed of cat and that the gene responsible for the wire coat is dominant, meaning it only needs to be present in one parent. This natural mutation won’t always come through, seen with Adam’s parents, as they never had another wirehaired kitten.

Since not every individual born in the breeding process had wired hair, the ancestors can be easily traced back through the lineage. All the American Wirehairs in existence now have come as direct descendants of either Adam or one of his kittens, Amy, that was used for breeding. 

Despite their recognition by the four most significant North American cat associations, the breed is still scarce. This makes them very hard to track down and even harder to get as a cat breeder to continue breeding more kittens. 

american wirehair
American Wirehair
american shorthair
American Shorthair

How Much Does The American Wirehair Cost?

This breed is moderately expensive, in part because they’re tough to find. Out of 41 registered breeds, the American Wirehair was found to be the rarest cat breed in 2017 by the Cat Fancier Association. This accounts for the number of registered breeders available and the difficulty of getting one of these cats.

One of the factors making the breed so rare is that very few reputable breeders are out there. Since the cat was originally bred in New York, they are more common in the United States, so you may find them at a price between $800 and $1,200. However, you’ll still have a hard time tracking this breed down, even in the neighboring states where the breed was firstborn. 

While it’s harder to track them down in other countries, the price range will likely stay consistent, ranging between £580 and £865, €675 and €1,015, and A$1,070 and A$1,600. 

If you can find this breed, the average price may vary much higher due to supply and demand. 

Personality Traits Of The American Wirehair

Some may say that the American Wirehair has the perfect middle of the road personality; they’re playful but not rambunctious, they’re a loyal and affectionate breed, but not bothersome. 

They will accept affection when offered but can easily spend time on their own as they’re very independent by nature. You’ll find that the breed’s personality is very much in line with the American Shorthair for cat enthusiasts.

Because they have a very mild temperament, they’re easy to introduce to other pets or children without having to worry that they’ll get aggressive or overly playful. However, since they are a more docile breed, avoid introducing them to more aggressive or dominant animals as they may have trouble holding their own in more aggressive play. 

Many owners have even reported that the American Wirehair is a great emotional support animal, willing to lay close by and purr when their human family is feeling down. 

While they will often cuddle up close to you, they’re not considered lap cats due to their independent nature. They enjoy your affection but would rather have the freedom to get up and leave when they please. 

The American Wirehair will also enjoy playing with toys both on their own or with their humans. Having some toys that encourage human interaction will be great for upping their exercise, but don’t worry about them being lazy if you’re not around. The breed is happy to play with the toys on their own, like a cat tree, jumping to different perches, or chasing around a ball. With that said, taking time out of each day to play with your cat is great for bonding.


How To Take Care Of An American Wirehair

Although the American Wirehair is a unique breed with crimped hairs, unlike other similar cat breeds, their daily care isn’t much different from any other breed. As a healthy and intelligent breed, they’re very low-maintenance pets. 

As with all other cat breeds, consult your veterinarian before making any decisions about breeding, diet, or grooming, as each individual within a breed has different needs.


Cats are obligate carnivores and, because of this, need a high protein diet made up primarily of animal products. The American Wirehair doesn’t have any specific dietary needs besides eating a balanced diet of the vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy. 

When choosing cat food, make sure to consult your veterinarian so that you can best understand the balance cats require in their diet. This will help you to find the highest quality food throughout the different phases of your cat’s life. 

You should always be feeding your kitten the best kitten food you can when they are young, less than one year old, as their nutrient needs differ as they age. Then, switch to adult food as they get over the age of one to put them onto an adult diet with the correct balance of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. 

By feeding a diet with healthy fats and high levels of protein throughout your cat’s life, you’ll better be able to maintain your cat’s coat. With a balanced diet comes the optimal balance of natural oils in the coat. 


Since the coat type of this breed is unique, they do need more grooming. While they have a springy coat and are a low-shedding breed, they’re very prone to breakage, which can cause dead hair and loose hair to accumulate very quickly. 

You can avoid this with more frequent brushing and bathing

If you find that their crimped coat is breaking more than what seems normal, it may be time to check their food. It’s essential to double-check that they’re receiving all the critical vitamins and minerals utilized in keeping a healthy coat, as this is directly linked to diet. Introducing more fish oils or amino acids into their diet can encourage a more robust and healthier coat.

american wirehair

The spontaneous coat mutation can also make it more difficult for the hair to expel excess oil. If you find them to be too oily, be sure to give them a bath to wash away all the excess oils hiding in their dense coat.

More oil production also comes with more ear wax buildup, which you can avoid by cleaning their ears more frequently. If you let the ear wax and dirt accumulate too much, your cat will be at higher risk for infections.

If you provide your cat with a scratching post, you will cut back on the amount you have to cut their nails as well. Yet, even with a scratching post, be sure you’re checking their nails every week to ensure they are not getting too long. 


The breed is known to be fairly easy to train. They are relatively intelligent and because of this will have no problem picking up on using their litter box. Once they have a scratching post, it’ll also be easy to train them to use that rather than furniture to scratch. 

Because they can pick up on simple tasks with ease, there’s more potential to train them to do more. Many American Wirehair cat owners report that their cat enjoys playing fetch, which is easy to train due to their desire to play. 

For those looking to train basic tasks, you won’t have a problem. If you want to teach more intricate tricks, this is entirely possible but a more involved process.

As with any other breed, if you’re going to train your cat, be sure you start from a young age. It becomes increasingly difficult to train new behaviors the older your cat gets. This can be because they get stuck in their habits as they age. It’s also significantly easier to create new habits as kittens due to the plasticity of the brain.


Coming from a reputable breeder, the American Wirehair is revered as a very healthy breed. Their genetic health is strong due to the lack of inbreeding done to get the breed where it is today. Because of this, you’ll find that they live long lives with very few health issues. 

Since there aren’t many individuals in the breed out there, it’s important to look at the health concerns of breeds they’re often crossed with, like the American Shorthair. When crossed, the potential for developing diseases like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is much higher. 

As with any less common breed, there’s less known about their general health. This isn’t a problem as long as you bring your cat for its annual visit to the veterinarian to ensure no problem goes unnoticed.

This will also make sure you’re staying current on all vaccinations, reducing the chance that they’ll contract a common cat disease. 

Physical Attributes Of The American Wirehair

This cat breed’s body shape and proportions are like other medium-sized cat breeds; yet, they have a few distinguishing features. While they can easily be confused with an American Shorthair, you’ll always be able to tell the difference by looking at the texture of the coat. 

  • Head: Prominent cheekbones and muzzle give this cat breed a very unique look. Head is proportional to body size.
  • Body: Can range from being medium to large with a rounded torso and proportional leg length.
  • Ears: Wide-set ears at the base and rounded on the top. Their ears are medium in size and proportional to their head size.
  • Eyes: Their eyes are wide-set, bright, and large. Eye shape is generally rounded and eye color can vary but complements the color of the coat. 
  • Legs and Paws: Legs are medium in length to complement the size of the American Wirehair’s body size. Paws are heavy with large pads.
  • Tail: Their tails are proportional to the length of the body and don’t have any distinct bluntness or roundness of the tip. 
  • Coat: The wiry coat of the breed is medium in length and with each hair bent or crimped in its own way. Because of this, the coat is rough and rugged to the touch. This also makes for a resilient coat.
  • Color: Any combination of colors or patterns can be present in this cat breed.  

Conclusion On The American Wirehair

The American Wirehair is a friendly breed, making it a great choice for families looking to add another member. 

With very minimal health needs and easy maintenance, you won’t be spending much time in the vet’s office with this breed! While the wire coat can make the cat sound less appealing, you’ll find that this isn’t a deterrent from cuddling up with this affectionate breed.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

The personality and appearance of the American Shorthair and American Wirehair are very similar breeds with the defining difference being their coat type. The American Shorthair has a hard coat, while the American Wirehair has a springy, dense coat that is twisted downwards with awn and guard hairs.

How big do American wirehair cats get?

They will usually range from 9-11 inches (22-28 cm) and weigh around 8-15 lbs (3.5-6 kg). American Wirehairs can live up to 10-15 years.

Are American wirehair rare?

The American Wirehair is a rare breed that is a result of a spontaneous mutation while breeding, which is where their wired coat comes from. 

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