American Wirehair: Cat Breed Information, Characteristics and Facts
Not many people know of the American Wirehair. This is because it’s a very rare breed of cat. It shares many characteristics with the American Shorthair. It is a well-mannered kitty with a balanced temperament. This cat can be very playful and active. It can also spend the rest of the day on the lap of its owners. It is a loving feline and one that can be a wonderful companion for families who know how to care for it.
History of the American Wirehair
This kitty first showed its lovable face in 1966 in a barn in Vernon, New York. Its parents were two American Shorthairs that served as ratters for their family. Of the 5 kittens that made up the litter, one of them had a wiry coat. The other four had the normal coat characteristics of their American Shorthair parents. The wiry-coated cat had a red and white color pattern.
The cat’s owner asked Mrs. Joan O’Shea, a local Rex cat breeder. The family wanted to know what she thinks about the unusual kitten from the litter. Unable to provide a definite answer, O’Shea bought the wiry-coated male American Shorthair and one of its female littermates for $50. She named the wire-haired male as Council Rock Adams of Hi-Fi. She nicknamed the cat ‘Adam’. O’Shea named the normal-coated female Tip-Top. She mated the two to determine whether the wiry coat is the result of a dominant inheritance pattern or not.
Adam and Tip-Top were able to produce kittens that had wiry coats. This strengthened the belief that the coat characteristics of the cat are a dominant trait.
In a dominant pattern of inheritance, one only needs one parent to carry the dominant gene. When it mates with a cat that does not carry the gene, they can produce a litter that has a 50 percent chance of having wire-haired coats.
O’Shea sold many of the wire-haired kittens to other cat breeders who were also interested in creating a wire-haired version of the American Shorthair.
Not long after, many of the wire-haired kitties were exported to Germany. The Germans were very fond of the unique coat of the felines. Many were also exported to Canada and other countries. By 1967, only a year after its introduction, the American Wirehair gained provisional recognition from the Cat Fanciers’ Association. It would take 11 more years before the CFA elevated the cat’s status to one of Championship classification.
It is quite interesting to note that there are not many people who register their American Wirehair cats. This is despite the fact that it is a popular breed, having been around since the 1960s. The CFA ranked the cat as the rarest breed in 2003, notwithstanding the breed’s growing popularity in the US and in other countries. In that year alone, only 22 American Wirehair cats were registered with the CFA. This was lower by 17 from the previous year.
The American Wirehair enjoys the breed recognition from major feline organizations in the world. They include the Cat Fanciers’ Association, The International Cat Association, the Canadian Cat Association, the Cat Aficionado Association, and the American Cat Fanciers’ Association.
Quick Facts About the American Wirehair
There is no doubt that the American Wirehair is a lovable cat. It is a hunter and an acrobat at the same time. If you want to learn more about this cat, then read on.
- A Medium- to Large-Sized, Powerful Kitty
The American Wirehair shares many physical characteristics with the American Shorthair. Males can weigh no less than 12 lbs. Some people report having an 18-pounder. Females are almost always on the low end of the scale. However, they are still heavier than other feline breeds. Female American Wirehairs can weigh between 8 and 12 pounds.
American Wirehairs have well-developed muscles that create noticeable ‘bulges’ on their body. They also feature heavy boning. It has a thick and rounded look that will make anyone think that this is a heavyweight cat. The legs are strong and thick. It relies on its powerful legs to help propel itself to elevated locations. It also has a muscular neck, a broad chest, and strong jaws. When you add these to its well-developed muzzle, you’ll get a fine and powerful-looking cat.
- A Wiry-Coated American Shorthair
The history of the American Wirehair shows that it is an American Shorthair. The only difference is that the cat has crimped fur, instead of the straight ones from American Shorthairs. The American Wirehair cat’s coat is dense and thick. It also grows thicker and longer during the colder months. People believe this to be a natural adaptation, allowing the cat to endure the cold weather. The coat has a hard texture. The crimping of the fur intensifies the ‘hardness’ of the coat’s texture.
The color and color patterns are almost similar to those of the American Shorthair, too. They can come in white, fawn, cream, blue, chestnut, and red. There are also those with platinum, cameo, blue cream, and brown color. There are American Wirehairs that have chinchilla, golden, silver, or tortoiseshell color. As for their color pattern, it can be varied as well. These can include solid, bicolor, tortoiseshell, calico or tricolor, smoke, and tabby.
- Always on the Hunt
American Wirehairs are descendants of barn cats that are very prolific mouse hunters and ratters. Do not expect this genetic trait to go extinct anytime soon. The hunting instinct of the American Shorthair remains as strong as ever in the American Wirehair. If it ever goes out of the house, do not expect it to return after only a couple of hours. This cat will spend at least 6 hours hunting.
The cat retained the work ethic of its foundation parents. When an American Shorthair is at ‘work’ hunting mouse and other rodents, nothing can distract it. It is like the Beagle or the Bloodhound that sticks to the scented targets no matter what. As such, it will not be surprising if the American Wirehair will bring home a ‘prize’. It wants to show you that the cat has retained its remarkable hunting skills.
- They Love Heights
Part of the hunting abilities of the American Wirehair is being able to jump and hop onto higher platforms. And they do it with grace, as if they are not heavyweight cats. While very few cat breeds can match the acrobatics of the Abyssinian, the American Wirehair is not far behind.
It is understandable why this cat would want to stay in an elevated position. Most rodents in a barn run across the grass-layered ground. A cat at the level of the ground will not be able to see some of these rodents creeping towards the prized grains. If the cat is in an elevated position, it can see everything.
Things You Should Know
People who want an American Wirehair in their lives should learn how to care for such a cat. They should also learn the different diseases and health conditions that can have an impact on the cat’s quality of life. Grooming and feeding are all essential aspects of the care of this cat. Knowing its temperament can also help you decide whether the American Wirehair is for you.
Despite the fact that the wiry coat of the American Wirehair is the result of genetic mutation, there are no genetic diseases that are inherent in the cat. It is one of the healthiest cat breeds in the world. It’s also one of the easiest to care for.
However, other health problems can still arise if one is not careful. Overfeeding the Wirehair can lead to obesity and diabetes. As you know, obesity is a major problem in many domestic cats in the US. As many as 60 percent of all US domestic cats have serious weight issues. Obesity is a major risk factor in many diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and liver problems.
There is also the risk of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and kidney disease. These are health conditions that are common in cats, whether pedigreed or not. Other health conditions that owners have to protect the American Wirehair from include viral infections, cancer, heartworm, intestinal worm infections, and upper respiratory infections.
American Wirehairs have a very long lifespan. Some of them can reach 20 years although most will reach 12 years.
American Wirehair cats need high-quality proteins in their diet to help promote and maintain the form and function of their muscles. While plant-based proteins are okay, it is best to supplement their diet with the correct types and amounts of amino acids. Some of these amino acids are not found in plant proteins. That is why animal proteins would suit them well.
Be very mindful of the number of calories that you give to the Wirehair. While this cat is active, it can also be lazy if you don’t give it enough stimulation. This can lead to obesity, especially if you overfeed it. Make sure you talk with your veterinarian on the number of calories that your Wirehair pet should get every day.
Supplements are not necessary, as long as you provide the cat with only the highest possible quality of cat food you can find. Make sure to read the labels and ditch those products that have too many fillers and carbohydrates.
They need plenty of water, too. Their crimped fur can be very brittle. Improving their hydration can help these cats retain the wiry nature of their coat. Use pet fountains to help encourage your Wirehair pet to drink more. An alternative will be to make their water more interesting to drink. Add a few drops of chicken broth or tuna broth. You can also put catnip at the bottom of the water bowl. Ice cubes and frozen pet treats also work.
There are some people who think that the American Wirehair is as ordinary as the American Shorthair. The only thing that sets them apart is the crimped coat of the Wirehair. While this may be true, one has to recognize the fact that the American Wirehair is a very rare breed. The lowest price you can get a Wirehair kitten for is about $800. Some breeders can charge you up to $1,200 per kitty, often depending on the color and coat pattern of the cat.
You don’t want the American Wirehair to be going outside your home. It can meet other animals that may carry disease-causing germs. There are also many hazards outdoors. Vehicular traffic, construction activities, and chemicals can pose a threat to the safety of the cat. You will also have to be mindful of certain people who are in the habit of taking away other people’s pets.
Caring for the American Wirehair includes training and socializing it from the moment you bring it home. This is a smart kitty, a trait that American Shorthairs have. Training the kitty can help address a number of behavioral issues. Socializing it will also help create a more peaceful environment in your home. This is especially true if you have dogs and other pets in the house.
Get the American Wirehair plenty of interactive toys. Make sure to get those where you will be playing a more active role. This builds the cat’s confidence and strengthens its relationship with its owners. A good scratching post or a cat tree with a built-in scratching surface is a must. This is unless you don’t mind the cat scratching your carpet, upholstery, and bedding instead.
They also need a clean litter box. One should remove clumped litter as often as possible to help provide a toilet that is clean. Cleaning the litter box every week is also ideal.
Regular visits to the veterinarian are a must, especially in the first year of the Wirehair’s life. They need their core vaccine shots as well as a comprehensive health exam. As they grow, the frequency of vet visits can be as low as once or twice a year. Routine wellness exams should always be a part of the cat’s veterinary care.
Flea and tick preventatives can also help, even if your cat remains indoor. These disease-causing parasites can still enter your house through other means. It would be best to protect your American Wirehair from these parasites.
Because the main characteristic of the American Wirehair is its crimped coat, you should be very careful when caring for it. Brushing is not necessary as it can damage the crimped appearance of the coat. You can bathe the cat with a very mild cat shampoo to help clean its skin and fur. Air drying is best, although drying with a towel is okay, too. However, one should be gentle when it comes to drying the cat with a towel. The rubbing action of towel-drying can lead to friction and cause the individual crimped fur to break.
The dense coat of the Wirehair can also promote the buildup of wax in its ears. That is why one should inspect the cat’s ears at least once a week. Owners should be prepared to remove any waxy buildup from the ears.
Brushing the Wirehairs’ teeth is mandatory. This will help ensure that it will not develop gum disease or any other problems with the teeth and mouth. Trimming its claws can also help promote healthier nail growth.
Despite having an unruly and abrasive coat, the personality of the American Wirehair is the opposite. This cat has a well-balanced temperament. It can be very playful in the company of like-minded adults and children. It loves to play games, especially those that involve using its hunting skills. They also use their agility to dart across the room in a racecar-like fashion, although they can never beat the Munchkin in this regard.
American Wirehairs are affectionate and loving. When not hunting mice and other rodents, you will see them on their favorite nook. They will gladly hop onto the lap of their owners for a much-needed cuddle time. While they enjoy the attention they receive, they are never demanding. They can be vocal. However, they try to temper it with understanding. Only when their owners are not giving them attention will they let out a soft meow. If this doesn’t get the person’s attention, expect the vocalization to grow louder.
These cats lead an active lifestyle. It is a trait that they inherited from their barn cat ancestors. They are not hyperactive, however. This makes them adorable cats for the average American family. They can be social with other pets, too, like dogs.
If there’s one thing that is adorable in these cats, it is their ability to get a sense of their owner’s feelings. What is more remarkable is that American Wirehairs can offer their companionship to those they feel are in the dumps. They will give you that purr as they sit by your side. Nothing can be more endearing than that.
The American Wirehair is an American Shorthair with a wiry coat. It shares many of the adorable characteristics of the Shorthair, while providing owners with the cat’s own lovable personality. It is perfect for households with kids and pets and who lead an average kind of life. They are people-oriented and very easy to care for.