History of the American Shorthair and
When Europeans first settled North America, cats were brought along on the ships for rodent control. Released into the New World they made a home for themselves happily establishing themselves as the native North American shorthaired cat. However, the late 1800s and early 1900s saw the introduction of additional foreign breeds to the United States. To protect and develop the breed, lovers of what had become America's own short-hair cat, began choosing what they wanted to preserve and selective breeding began.
The American Shorthair (known as the Domestic Shorthair until 1966) was one of the first five breeds of cats recognized by the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA). Despite the numerous breeds recognized today by CFA, the American Shorthair remains one of the 10 most popular breeds.
Another significant event occured in 1966 besides the change of the American Shorthair's name. On a farm in upper-state New York a spontaneous mutation occurred in a litter of plain barn cats. Each of the litter of kittens was born with a wirey coat. The farmer, knowing he had something unusual contacted a cat breeder, who offered to buy the kittens. The farmer refused. That night, a weasel invaded the nest of kittens and killed all but one. This surviving kitten was offered to the breeder, was named Adam, and is the father of the American Wirehair.
The gene that produces the American Wirehair coat is a thought to be a dominant gene. If one parent has wirehair, it can produce wirehaired kittens. But many litters have few kittens with coats that wire. The straight haired variety differ little in appearance from the American Shorthair and make great pets.
For more information on the American Shorthair or American Wirehair, visit CFA's website.