The American Wirehair cat is a unique and beloved breed most popular and well known in the USA, it garners its name for its renowned and most unusual coat.
Development of the Wire Haired Cat Breed
In 1966 two shorthaired barn cats in New York produced a litter of kittens, one of which had wiry fur due to a genetic mutation. A local breeder purchased the wiry-haired kitten and one of its normal littermates in an attempt to recreate the mutation, which had never before been seen. The genetic mutation that results in a wiry coat was found to be dominant, so the two cats from this litter produced a number of kittens with wiry fur, resulting in the beginning of the American Wirehair breed.
Within ten years, the population of this breed grew in the United States as well as internationally, including exports to Canada and Europe. Though many cat lovers are aware of their existence, the American Wirehair cat is one of the rarest breeds, with very few registered throughout the world. All known members of this breed can be traced back to the New York kitten that first displayed a crimped, wiry coat. As can be surmised, the biggest difference between the American Wirehair and the American Shorthair cats is its coat.
Features and Appearance
The infamous wiry fur of this breed is thick and coarse to the touch, bouncing right back into place after being stroked. The wiriness is also seen in its wavy whiskers. The coat may come in a great number of colour patterns, including calico, tabby, tortoiseshell, shaded, solid and smoke. Popular colours include blue, brown, cameo, cream, gold, red and silver. Its body is muscular and this breed has a strong, solidly built body. Males tend to be slightly larger than females, with an average weight of 4-7 kg.
Similar to its immensely popular relative, the American Shorthair cat, the Wirehair Cat is known to have a wonderful, playful and affectionate personality. Its temperament is independent and gentle, though it may be reserved with strangers and other animals. With its family, the Wirehair is loyal and loving. While it enjoys playing with young children, it also makes a great lap cat for households without kids.
If kept indoors, the American Wirehair enjoys playing with toys and does a great job of taking care of any bugs or insects that may find their way inside. If this breed goes outside, its hunting instincts make local rodents a likely target.
Heart murmurs are common in cats of this breed and have a varying range of severity. This breed is otherwise healthy, though allowing the American Wirehair cat to venture outdoors can lower its life expectancy and increase health risks. Its skin may be prone to sensitivity, but regular grooming will help reduce the chance of skin problems. It is not known to shed excessively, but brushing will promote a healthy coat. A healthy American Wirehair can live to be 20 years old.
At the time of writing this article there are now known breeders of American Wire haired cats in Australia.