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The American Wirehair breed was created from a spontaneous genetic mutation among the domestic cats of the United States. In 1966, a male kitten was born in a litter of farm cats in Verona, New York, with a coat unlike the rest of his littermates. The guard hairs on the kitten's coat were unique; instead of smooth and tapering like most cats, the guard hairs were crimped along the shaft and hooked at the end. Mrs. John O'Shea bought the kitten, named Council Rock Farm Adam of Hi-Fi, and his female littermate, Tip-Toe, who eventually produced four kittens, two of whom had the same "wirehair" coat of their father. Through a series of selective breedings, including crossings with American Shorthairs, the American Wirehair became established as a breed and was recognized by the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) in 1967. The coat, which was quite sparse in the early representatives of the breed, has been developed into a thick, coarse, resilient coat not unlike sheep's wool.
The whiskers of the American Wirehair are often crimped and curly.