Selecting the breed of cat that is right for you and your lifestyle is the first step toward owning a pedigreed cat. Things to consider in choosing the breed include personality, health, appearance, and grooming needs.
Personality: American Shorthairs and Wirehairs are easy going, affectionate "lap cats." They are gentle with children (even those that are not gentle with them) and get along well with other pets. Quiet, with tiny meows, their purrs can be loud enough to be heard across the room. Their activity level is moderate and they adjust easily to structure within the household.
Health: American Shorthairs and Wirehairs are notoriously healthy cats. Typically they live long, healthy lives with only annual veterinary checkups. Spaying or neutering your cat will help ensure the healthiest life possible.
Appearance: The American Shorthair, with its sweet, open expression and well-proportioned body, has a striking appearance. Ideally, they are medium to large size cats, with a heavy, muscular build, short, dense coats, oblong head with full cheeks, and fairly wide set ears and eyes. Females tend to be smaller than males and do not achieve the "jowls" typical of the adult male. Add to that a rainbow of colors and unforgettable patterns and the American Shorthair will be difficult to resist. For more information see CFA's breed standard.
The American Wirehair is similar in appearance to the American Shorthair except for its wirey coat. (American Wirehairs also come in the straight coated variety which do not differ from the American Shorthair in appearance in any significant way.) Each hair on the coat is wired, or crimped, to produce a wirey, harder feeling coat. The feel of the coat is said to be that of a soft brillo pad, but can vary from feeling like a soft, thick fleece to a brittle, harder texture.
Grooming: You will find American Shorthairs to be low maintenance cats. Weekly brushing, which your cat will enjoy, will reduce shedding to a minimum. An occasional bath will keep your cat looking and feeling its best.
American Wirehairs do best with little grooming. Combing or brushing of the hair is not recommended. When bathing, it is recommended that the shampoo be "scrunched" through each part of the coat instead of rubbed back and forth to prevent hair breakage. As they age, the coat can become brittle and break off or thin in some parts. (Straight coated wirehairs do not differ in their grooming requirements from American Shorthairs.)