The American Wirehair is another breed who arose as the result of a spontaneous mutation. In 1966 a farm cat from Council Rock Farm in Vernon, New York gave birth to a litter kittens. One of these kittens, a red and white male, had an unusual wiry coat. The owner of the farm, Nathan Mosher sold him to local cat breeder Mrs. Joan O’Shea who realised the importance of such a unique cat. He was named Council Rock Farms Adams of Hi-Fi (Adam).
This is where the story varies a little. Some say that prior to his adoption, the litter of kittens was attacked by a weasel, with only Adam surviving. Others make no mention of this and say that Joan O’Shea adopted a female from the same litter by the name of Tip-Top of Hi-Fi (Tip-Top). It should be noted that some sources say the female was called Tip-Toe. What we do believe is that Tip-Top came from the same farm as Adam and was either a sibling or a relative of his.
Adam and Tip-Top were mated and produced a litter of kittens containing two wirehaired kittens like their father. These offspring were sold on to other breeders. The American Wirehair was accepted for registration with the CFA in 1967 and Championship status in 1978.
The gene responsible for the coat (Wh) is dominant with incomplete penetrance-thus cats with the dominant allele may have a normal coat – but produce cats with the wiry coat. Interestingly, repeated matings between Adam’s parents (named Fluffy and Bootsie) failed to produce any further “wirehaired” kittens.
Outcrossing is permitted with the breed to American Shorthairs.
The coat of the American Wirehair is unique among cat breeds. It is brittle, with each hair being bent or hooked. The coat has a dense, harsh and feels springy to the touch. The American Wirehair also has curly whiskers. They come in the same coat colours as the American Shorthair.
Everything else about the breed is comparable to the American Shorthair. The body is medium sized, muscular with moderate boning. The head is round with high cheekbones, eyes are wide set and round, ears are medium and rounded at the tip, the muzzle is medium with a strong chin.
The American Wirehair is an affectionate breed of cat who enjoys being petted and cuddled, they are very people oriented. They get along with children and other pets and make a great family pet. If you are out of the house for long periods of time it is recommended that you get two cats.
They are intelligent, easy going, playful, and it is said that they love to climb. But they are just as happy to curl up on your lap too. They have a quiet voice.
The coat has no special requirements and the breed is generally healthy with no known genetic disorders.
Photo courtesy of petsadviser.