The American wirehair is one of the rarest breeds, with only 22 registered worldwide as of 2003. The origin of the American wirehair can be traced to a single genetic mutation from a single litter of two barn cats in upstate New York, 1966. They've been bred since then and in 1978, they were finally recognized by the Cat Fanciers' Association.

Physically, they are very similar to American shorthairs, with strong, large bodies, wide heads, and a variety of coat colors. But what separates the American wirehair from other breeds is, of course, their wiry hair. Perhaps a better way to describe wiry hair would be to call it curly, although it is hard and springy as well. Even though, from a distance, the American wirehair can be virtually identical to American shorthairs, upon close inspection their lack of any straight hair on their body becomes apparent, mostly in the whiskers, which sprout from their snouts in long curving loops.

American wirehairs are intelligent and affectionate. Petfinder.com has an excellent description of their personalities.

"Wirehairs are people cats that crave human attention and affection. They are active without being hyper, and affectionate without being clingy. Fanciers say that they seem particularly in tune with their families' feelings and try to offer comfort and companionship when their chosen family member is feeling blue. That's when they turn on the purrs and sit beside them to offer their support. Agile and fun-loving, they enjoy playing the clown and are generally more playful and active than the American Shorthair."

If you are interested in adopting an American wirehair, it is best to do plenty of research (as always). Talk to owners, and go to a reputable adoption organization, such as Purebred Cat Breed Rescue.

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