Main Content

American Wirehair

  • Save search for breed
American Wirehair


The American Wirehair cat resulted as a spontaneous mutation. Their coat, which is not only springy, dense, and resilient, but also coarse and hard to the touch, distinguishes the American Wirehair from all other breeds.

Breed Traits


4 out of 5

Activity Level

3 out of 5

Friendliness To Other Pets

3 out of 5

Friendliness To Children

3 out of 5

Grooming Requirements

2 out of 5


3 out of 5

Need for Attention

3 out of 5

Affection Toward Its Owners

4 out of 5


2 out of 5


4 out of 5


3 out of 5


3 out of 5


The American Wirehair’s hair may be abrasive and unruly, but their personality is anything but. American Wirehair are people cats that enjoy their family’s attention and affection and are loyal and playful. They are active without being hyper, and affectionate without being clingy.

Similar in personality to the American Shorthair, American Wirehairs are mild-mannered, middle-of-the-road cats. Not demanding, they enjoy their family’s attention but retain their independent spirit. Agile and fun-loving, they often enjoy playing fetch and are a bit more playful and active than the American Shorthair. They enjoy interactive toys in which their family takes an active role but they can also entertain themselves if necessary.

They generally get along well with other pets and children. Some have said that they seem particularly in tune with their person’s feelings and try to offer comfort and companionship when their chosen humans are feeling blue. That’s when they turn on the purrs and sit beside them to offer their support.


Like the American Curl, the American Wirehair started as a spontaneous mutation in the domestic cat population; somewhere along the line, an unusual litter was produced with distinctive fur.

In 1966, Fluffy and Bootsie, two barn cats with no apparent unusual qualities from a small farm in upstate New York, parented a litter in which all five kittens had peculiar wiry hair. Sadly, only one kitten ultimately survived. This was particularly unfortunate since subsequent litters between Fluffy and Bootsie did not include any further wiry haired kittens. Whatever created that one unusual litter apparently was a one-time thing. However, the one surviving kitten— a red and white bicolor male—lived and prospered.

Joan O’Shea of nearby Vernon, New York heard about the surviving kitten from a friend, who told her the kitten looked just like her Rex cats. O’Shea drove up to look at the kitten and instantly fell in love with the long-legged, big-eared kitten with the twisted fur. She also realized that the kitten, named Adam, wasn’t a Rex at all but likely an entirely new breed. Adam eventually left his farm to become part of Joan’s family. There, Adam produced litters with neighborhood cats, some of the kittens having Adam’s wiry coat.

It was learned that the gene responsible for the wirehair coat was dominant; only one parent needed the gene to produce Wirehair offspring. To make sure the breed wasn’t related to one of the existing Rex breeds, samples of Adam’s hair were sent to noted British cat geneticists for analysis. The analyzed hair samples showed the coat was unique and not related to either the Cornish or Devon Rex.

Today, all American Wirehairs are descendants of Adam or one of his kittens, named Amy. This breed is still relatively rare, even though they are now recognized by the four largest North American cat associations.

Physical Attributes


Medium to large. Back level, shoulders and hips same width, torso well-rounded and in proportion.


In proportion to the body. Underlying bone structure is round with prominent cheekbones and well-developed muzzle and chin. There is a slight whisker break. In profile, the nose shows a gentle concave curve.


Medium, slightly rounded at tips, set wide and not unduly open at the base.


Large, rounded, bright, and clear. Set well apart. Aperture has slight upward tilt. The color reflects intensity, and complements the color of the cat.

Legs & Paws

Legs medium in length and bone, well-muscled and proportionate to body. Paws firm, full and rounded, with heavy pads. Toes, five in front and four behind.


In proportion to body, tapering from the well-rounded rump to a rounded tip, neither blunt nor pointed.


Springy, tight, medium in length. Individual hairs are crimped, hooked, or bent, including hair within the ears. The coat has an overall appearance of wiring, coarseness and resilience. Density of wired coat can lead to ringlet formation rather than waves. Coats can be very dense, resilient, crimped, and coarse and whiskers can sometimes be curly.


Any color or pattern may be seen.


Note: While the characteristics mentioned here may frequently represent this breed, cats are individuals whose personalities and appearances will vary. Please consult the adoption organization for details on a specific pet.

Finding American Wirehairs for You...

Do you have a cat?

Similar Breeds

Similar Breeds