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American Wirehair at a GlanceAmerican Shorthair Full Body

Like its counterpart, the American Shorthair, the American Wirehair is a good-natured, easy-going medium-sized cat and is one of the most adaptable breeds for any type of household, including children and seniors. The two breeds are alike in appearance and personality, differing only in coat type. The American Wirehair has a hard “wiry” coat while the American Shorthair has a regular short coat. Wirehairs also require less grooming as compared to Shorthairs, for them the less grooming the better. Find out more about this breed and if the American Wirehair is right for you and your family.

  • Temperament: Easygoing, Friendly, Curious

  • Size: Medium-sized cat with an athletic build. Males tend to be larger than females.

  • Colors: The American Wirehair can be found in all traditional colors. The most common are the tabby and tabby with white variations.

About the American Wirehair

Loyal and loving by nature, American Wirehairs are very people-oriented and love being with their families. They thrive on human companionship and participating in a busy household. But be advised, they are smart and curious enough to get into something.

Activity Level: American Wirehairs are easy to train and like to be active and play fetch, but they are happiest when cuddling with their families. They make great family pets and are good with young children, other pets, people living on their own, the elderly and disabled.

TICA Regions, Clubs & Rescues

Want to connect with fellow cat lovers and those who love the same breed as you?
TICA is a large resource made up of smaller regions and clubs around the world.
Click here to find a club near you and contact information for your regional director and website.

Wherever you are, you’re in TICA’s world!® 


Find a Kitten: American Wirehair TICA Breeders

The TICA website is the only place where you can find TICA member breeders who have signed the TICA Code of Ethics.
Click here to find American Wirehair Kittens.

American Wirehair Breed Head ShotCare

With the American Wirehair coat, the less grooming the better. Brushing or combing can damage it, so resist unless they are shedding heavily.

Some American Wirehairs have sensitive skin that can be susceptible to outside influences resulting in an allergic reaction. To reduce any potential problems, the skin and coat should be kept clean with regular bathing to remove loose dead hooked hairs that could initiate some irritation. The coat can be a little greasy from the oil secreted by the skin and regular bathing removes this grease too. Gently clean earwax out with a cotton swab when bathing the cat.

As with all cats, keep their nails trimmed and teeth brushed regularly with a vet-approved pet toothpaste and provide a nice tall scratching pole to help their natural scratching instinct.


A small portion of wet food is good once daily for American Wirehairs. They like to have a variety of food. A bowl of dry food can be left out as they like to eat a little at a time. Food can depend on their activity level and whether they are fully mature. A few treats can be offered and are preferred over table scraps.

As with all cats, it is important to give your cat fresh, clean water daily. Fresh, clean water is best, so cats don’t hesitate to drink. If you worry about your cat drinking enough water each day, here's a tip from cat behaviorists - place the water bowl at least three feet away from any food. Cats’ noses are sensitive and an overwhelming smell of food may cause them to drink less. Filtered drinking fountains can also be used in place of a water bowl.


The American Wirehair is not known to be prone to any genetic or hereditary illnesses, however it is advised to schedule regular visits to the veterinarian.


The first American Wirehair was found in a litter of 6 kittens born on Council Rock Farm in Verona, New York. The kitten was a red-and-white male with a sparse, wiry coat-every hair, including his whiskers, was crimped and springy. His parents, Bootsie and Fluffy, were normal-coated domestic shorthairs who lived on the farm owned by Nathan Mosher. Local cat breeder Joan O'Shea saw the kitten and, recognizing him as unique, was able to acquire him. She named him Council Rock Farm Adam of Hi-Fi. He was bred to a female belonging to O'Shea's neighbor and produced kittens with a wiry coat. The female had also come from Mosher's farm so could have carried the wirehair gene. A second breeding to an unrelated female also produced wire-haired kittens thereby establishing it as a dominant gene. O'Shea sent hair samples for analysis to noted British cat geneticists A.G. Searle and Roy Robinson. Robinson replied to her that the samples of Adam's hair showed the coat was unique and not related to the Cornish or Devon Rexes. All three hair types (down, awn and guard) were twisted and the awn hairs were also hooked at the tip. The cat was closest in type to the American Shorthair and this was the breed used to develop the American Wirehair. Today the only difference between the two breeds is the coat.

Opposite Breeds


The Breed Standard

The American Shorthair and American Wirehair are medium-to-large in size. The body should be well-knit and powerful with well-developed chest and hindquarters, especially in the males. Females are of proportionally smaller size and allowance must be made. The head is broad, with cheeks especially well-developed in studs. The nose and face are medium-short, with eyes and ears set wide apart. The muzzle should present a squarish aspect, but should not be foreshortened.

Click here to read the full TICA American Shorthair Breed Standard.

American Wirehair Breed

American Wirehair Full BodyAccepted For Championship in TICA in 1979

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