Skip navigation

American Wirehair Cat Facts

Share article on Facebook Share article on Pinterest Share article on Twitter (opens new window)
gray and white American wirehaired cat lying on white reflective table

American Wirehair cats are not an overly common cat breed, although many people have heard of them. American Wirehairs closely resemble their cousin, the American Shorthair cat, and there are undeniable similarities between the two. Are you ready to learn some more American Wirehair cat information? Read on to see if this breed is the right one for you.

Breed History

The first known American Wirehair cat appeared in Vernon, New York, in 1966. The offspring of two Shorthairs, the resulting kitten was a prime example of random genetic mutation. Unlike its parents and littermates, this kitten had a unique wire coat, similar to that of terrier dogs.

The caregivers of this cat contacted a local cat breeder, Jean O’Shea, who purchased the kitten and named him Council Rock Adam of Hi-Fi, Adam for short. O’Shea began breeding Adam with American Shorthair cats with the hope of reproducing the wiry-coat feature. As it turns out, the trait was dominant, and it began appearing in more and more cats.

As the population of this breed increased, they began making their way to other countries such as Canada and Germany, where they are a moderately popular breed. However, American Wirehairs are still not a relatively common breed, and they have yet to make their way to Britain or Australia.


American Wirehair cats are medium to large, with males typically being larger than females. On average, these cats can weigh between 8-12 pounds, though males have been known to weigh closer to 15 pounds. Wirehairs are sturdy felines with rounded features. They are also muscular, and people may be caught off guard when picking one up—they can weigh more than they look.

The most apparent, unique feature about the American Wirehair cat is, of course, their wiry hair. To the touch, this crimped coat has a natural spring to it. These cats can be found in nearly any color, including white, brown, red, blue, and platinum, and a variety of patterns, such as tortoiseshell, bicolor, tricolor, and tabby.

The typical American Wirehair cat personality is a significant reason people quickly fall in love with this cat breed. Wirehairs are go-with-the-flow pets. They enjoy playtime and cuddling with their family just as much as they do sunbathing and napping by themselves.

Wirehair cats are an excellent companion for singles, though they can do just as well with families. Just be sure to teach kids of all ages how to interact gently with your cat and how to respect their space. Being so easy-going, Wirehairs frequently get along well with other pets in the household as well.

As if these cats don’t already sound like the ideal pet, friend, and roommate, they are also quite intelligent. They are capable and willing to learn tricks, and many are nearly as trainable as a dog.

American wirehaired cat resting under table legs

Grooming and Care

American Wirehair cats are reasonably easy felines to groom. They do not require frequent brushing unless they are shedding heavily. Brush their teeth (with a cat-safe toothpaste) a few times a week, and check their ears every few weeks—if they’re dirty clean them out with a cat-safe ear cleaning solution.

You will also need to keep an eye on your Wirehair’s nails. Although cats naturally wear down their nails through everyday activities, most cats will still require nail trimming every few weeks to once a month.

It is helpful to begin your pal’s grooming routine soon after adopting them, no matter their age. While some felines may adapt better than others, some cats may take longer to become used to each item.

Due to their unique fur, many cat parents wonder, “Are American Wirehair cats hypoallergenic?” Unfortunately for cat allergy sufferers, these felines are not hypoallergenic, so this probably isn’t the breed for you if you have a cat allergy.

Besides keeping your cat well-groomed, it’s essential that you provide your pal with a nutritious diet. If you are unsure what type of food would be best for your pal, talk with your veterinarian about recommendations. It is equally important that you are feeding your cat the correct amount of food per day. All cats can be susceptible to weight gain, which can, in turn, lead to many other health issues.

In order to help keep your best pal in prime shape, it’s helpful to provide them with plenty of exercise. This can include giving them cat towers to climb, feather toys to chase, and toys for playing fetch. Not to mention, some cats also enjoy playing puzzle games. These provide mental stimulation and allow your cat to exercise their mind as well.

As far as care-taking needs for your cat goes, don’t forget to keep up with cleaning your cat’s litter box. Most cats can be particular about their boxes, and some will even refuse to use them if they are not up to their cleanliness standards.

Common Health Issues

American Wirehair cats are considered a relatively healthy breed. However, just like any other feline, Wirehairs are still susceptible to developing some health issues. According to our claims data,** the top conditions that affect this breed include:

  • Cancer
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (thickened heart walls)
  • Inappetence (lack of appetite)

If you are the parent of a Wirehair, it may be worth your time to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of these common issues. It is just as essential that you take your cat to the veterinarian at least once a year. These annual check-ups are the perfect opportunity for your veterinarian to monitor your cat’s health and for you to bring up any questions or concerns you may have about your best pal.

Cats are notorious for being able to hide when they don’t feel at their best, so even if you believe your cat is in perfect health, you should never cancel their yearly examinations.

American wirehaired cat lying in a bathroom sink

Fun Facts

Although American Wirehairs are similar to American Shorthairs, Wirehairs still have many fun and unusual facts for people to learn about this relatively new breed.

  • One of the American Wirehair’s favorite activities is bird watching. Having a good window for these cats to watch from is nearly a must.
  • These cats can come in practically any color or coat pattern.
  • American Wirehairs are closely related to American Shorthairs, and these two cat breeds are often crossed.
  • This breed is known to be quite patient. This trait was undoubtedly valuable back in the day when Wirehairs were used for hunting rodents in homes and barns.
  • Wirehairs are not overly vocal cats. Even when they do speak, they still have a soft voice.

What is there not to like about American Wirehair cats? Lovable and cuddly, it’s no wonder these cats aren’t more common throughout the States.

Do you ever wonder what type of pet parent you are? Take our quiz to find out.

Name Suggestions

After adopting your new, four-legged best friend, you’ll have to make a tough decision—what to name your cat. To help you in this process, check out the following New York-inspired list of potential cat names.

  • Apollo
  • Bronx
  • Lincoln
  • Hudson
  • Queen
  • Ithaca
  • Catlin
  • Tribeca

If you really can’t narrow it down to just one cat name, maybe the best solution is to adopt two American Wirehairs.

**Internal Claims Data, 2015-20
The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


Poison Safety Tips Every Pet Parent Needs to Know

Poison Safety Tips Every Pet Parent Needs to Know

Their curious nature can get pets into stuff they shouldn't, such as food or plants that can be toxic if ingested. Do you know what to do in case of a poisoning emergency, what signs to look for or steps you can take to prevent a crisis?


cat nibbling stethoscope during veterinary exam

Pet Insurance for Cats

Pet insurance for cats can provide many benefits, including peace of mind and financial assistance.


A white kitten lies on their back panting on a blue carpet

Cats and Panting

Why do cats pant? How do you calm a cat down from panting? Learn the reasons why your cat exhibits this behavior and how you can help.