American Wirehair

The American Wirehair originated in upstate New York in 1966, a spontaneous mutation from a barnyard litter. A single red and white male in a litter of five had wiry hair and was purchased by a local breeder.

Common Characteristics

  • Size: 1 to 20 pounds
  • Lifespan: 16 to 25 years
  • Pet purchase cost: $501 to $1000
  • Allergies: Severe
  • Shedding: Moderate
  • Primarily suited for indoors


Common Reasons for Surrender

American Wirehairs typically are not surrendered to shelters or rescues because they are one of today’s rarer breeds of cat.


Described as “love bugs,” the American Wirehair loves sitting and napping in her human’s lap. Most American Wirehairs are friendly, easygoing, and do well with other cats, dogs, and children. Running and playing are favorites for kittens, which may continue well into adulthood with encouragement from their humans.


American Wirehairs have been likened to dogs by some with experience with the breed. If you’re looking for an independent cat, you may not like the idea of having a lap cat like the American Wirehair. You must also encourage playtime every day, especially as your cat grows older.


A high quality food is essential to your American Wirehair’s wellbeing. Some people prefer feeding canned food while others opt for dry food or a raw diet. Be sure any commercial foods are grain free and are of the best quality you can afford. Treats can be given sparingly and, like most cats, American Wirehairs enjoy freeze-dried treats made from meat, including chicken and salmon.


Keep your American Wirehair healthy and lean with a minimum of 10 minutes of playtime every day. Shining a laser pointer around the room and throwing a ball for your cat will give her the exercise she needs each day.

Possible Health Issues

The American Wirehair is generally a healthy breed when properly bred. There are misconceptions that all American Wirehairs deal with hair loss, greasy hair, and ear wax issues. However, experts state that American Wirehairs bred from good lines will not have such problems.


Most American Wirehairs prefer clay litter, although they’re not generally finicky like some breeds and will adjust to whatever they are given. Clay litter should ideally be dust-free and digestible. Cats can easily and inadvertently ingest litter when cleaning themselves, which could result in serious health problems.


American Wirehairs require no grooming. In fact, if you brush your American Wirehair, his hair will break off of his coat. Instead, you can wipe her down with a warm cloth, which will remove any oil and dirt. You should bathe your cat at least once a year.


You must be consistent and invest the time if you want to train your American Wirehair to do basic commands, such as sit, stay, and come. Some also learn how to roll over and to retrieve. Most American Wirehairs learn very quickly.


American Wirehairs love to chase—such as real-life mice, animals on a computer or a television screen, animals running around outside the window, and balls—which will help your cat expend energy and remain happy. If you have another cat, your American Wirehair will enjoy a good game of chase. Catnip toys are also popular with most cats.

We want to thank Russellers Cattery for help with this profile. Photos courtesy of Erin Russell.

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