Steel wool on four legs? Did this cat just lick a live wire? Their punk rock look sets this breed apart. The American Wirehair might have one of the most distinct (and lowest-maintenance) coats of all cats. It’s true: the texture of their fur means they look and feel their best with minimal brushing or combing. Too much grooming can even damage this breed’s coat. So, unless your American Wirehair is shedding heavily, you can just let her rock that “I-woke-up-like-this” look.
Considered one of the rarest breeds in the U.S., these steel wool pad-looking felines are favorites for cat shows and fanciers, and can be hard to locate as household pets.
Daily play, please
I looooove being with you
You can SEE me thinking
I mostly groom myself
I’m a cat and proud of it
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS THE AMERICAN WIREHAIR’S PERSONALITY LIKE?
American Wirehairs are feline comedians—they crave attention and love to make you laugh. They’re affectionate and appreciate being appreciated, but they’re usually not clingy. These cats are easygoing and generally tolerate kids well.
WHAT IS AMERICAN WIREHAIR’S BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This is an agile and active breed, but she won’t be climbing your drapes unless she doesn’t get enough engagement from you. Your American Wirehair wants to be with you as much as possible, so don’t be surprised if she follows you throughout the day.
HOW CAN I KEEP MY AMERICAN WIREHAIR ENTERTAINED?
Your American Wirehair loves to have fun and will often keep herself entertained—but don’t underestimate the appeal of getting to outsmart a treat-stuffed puzzle toy or pouncing on a toy being dragged across her path. Given her people-centric outlook on life, plan to play with your American Wirehair a few times each day.
CARE & HEALTH
WHAT DO AMERICAN WIREHAIRS LOOK LIKE AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
American Wirehairs have wide-set eyes, tapered tails, and—most distinctively—a steel wool-like coat that sets her apart from other breeds. While less brushing or combing is better for this cat, she might benefit from regular baths to lessen her coat’s oily feel and slough off dead hair.
Your cat’s coat and skin can tell you a lot about her health and well-being. Healthy cats have coats that are smooth and shiny; they should have supple, clear skin. Nutrition and wellness factor heavily into the texture and luster of your kitty’s coat, but you can help keep her looking and feeling her best with regular skin care and grooming.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO AMERICAN WIREHAIRS HAVE?
As a breed, American Wirehairs are usually healthy. Some are prone to heart disease.
Remember that cats often hide disease symptoms! It’s important to bring your furry friend in for veterinary checkups at least once a year.
ARE AMERICAN WIREHAIRS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
American Wirehairs aren’t among the breeds generally recommended for allergy sufferers. If you’re worried about allergies, let’s talk about gender: male cats produce more allergens than their female counterparts. (#FurryFeminism?) Short—or wiry-haired cats do tend to be easier keepers than their long-haired cousins. But shedding less doesn’t make these breeds hypoallergenic. Dander (found in urine, dead skin, and saliva), not pet hair, is what sets off allergy sufferers. Lighter-shedding cats will distribute fewer allergens around your home, though.
Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT IS MY AMERICAN WIREHAIR’S BEST DAY?
Your American Wirehair will never tire of being the center of your (or your visitors’) attention. This breed also enjoys birdwatching through your windows, so consider investing in a bird feeder to let your kitty play on her very own version of Twitter. If you don’t have a good spot for a bird feeder, you can turn on DVD programming designed for cats—that way your furry friend can watch her stories about ducks, fish, or whatever strikes your (and her) fancy.
SHOULD I ADOPT AN AMERICAN WIREHAIR?
American Wirehairs are an incredibly versatile breed who’ll do well in many kinds of homes—from families with busy children to sedate senior citizens. That is, if you can find them. This is a great all-rounder sort of cat, but their rarity makes them tough to locate for the average American home. But given the chance, this lil punk will rock your world.
Have you decided that an American Wirehair is the purr-fect cat for you? Why not be your new best friend’s hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you’re adopting a dog or cat.