|Cat (Felis catus)|
|List of Cat Breeds|
The American Wirehair breed is uniquely American. It began as a spontaneous mutation in a litter of upstate New York farm cats in 1966. A spontaneous mutation is an uncommon, although not rare, happening. As it has occurred among cats in the past, two ordinary cats came together and as a result of their mating, a kitten unlike its parents or littermates was born.
The first wirehair cat appeared as a random cat mutation among a litter of six born to two barn cats. This single red and white male had odd wiry fur. The owner of the cats called a local breeder of Rex cats, Mrs. William O'Shea, to take a look at the kitten. She bought the kitten for $50, along with one of his normal coated female littermates, to start a breeding program. The wirehaired male was named Council Rock Farm Adam of Hi-Fi, and the female Tip-Toe of Hi-Fi.
Breeding between the two produced wirehaired kittens, many of which were sold off to other interested breeders. As the population grew, cats were exported to Canada and Germany. The breed did well, and in 1978 they were accepted for Championship competition.
The unique wirehair coat is genetically dominant over a normal coat, unlike the gene that creates rex fur. The fur is springy, dense and coarse, and even their whiskers are often curled. Many find it pleasant to the touch. It is unusual in that this coat has not appeared among other cats (most mutations occur in various places), and all wirehairs can trace their ancestry back to Adam. Apart from the wiry coat, they are strong, muscular cats, built similarly to American Shorthairs. They come in a variety of colors.
They are said to be adaptable cats resistant to disease.
They are described to be intelligent, affectionate, calm, reserved, loyal, playful, and inquisitive cats.
It was felt, at first, that since this mutation had occurred in the domestic American cat, the standard for it should conform to that of the American Shorthair. However, there were unique Wirehair qualities besides the coat that kept cropping up in each litter, and were worth keeping.
The coat is the characteristic that separates the American Wirehair from all other breeds. Just as there is a wide variety of texture in Persians or Exotics, there is also considerable variation among the Wirehairs. As this is a dominant mutation, approximately half of the kittens will be wirehaired at birth. The most readily apparent wiring is that of the whiskers and ideally, the entire coat will be wired at birth. If the coat appears to be ringlets, it may be too long and may wave or straighten with maturity. Some of the lightly wired coats may continue to crimp during the early life of the Wirehair. The degree of coarseness depends upon the coat texture of the sire and dam. To produce the best wiring, both parents must have a hard coat. Some say this cat is ugly.