American Curl Cat

Peter Pan of Felines

Family: Felidae American Curl Cat, also known as the Peter Pan of FelinesFelis domesticusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Justin Brough
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Our male calico cat died September of last year:( he was seventeen almost eighteen years old, his name was Toby. He used to love to sit in shallow boxes, sit next... (more)  Liza

The American Curl is a delightful cat breed with a unique expression and a pleasant disposition!

The American Curl Cat is a highly affectionate cat breed, that maintains a kitten-like behavior throughout its whole life. It got its name from its curled ears giving it the appearance of intent interested or surprised. These unique ears start out straight, but after just a few days begin to curl back in a lynx-like fashion with feathery tufts sticking out. Another cat breed with unique ears is the Scottish Fold, but its ears fold to the front rather than curving backwards.

The American Curl tends to be an even-tempered cat breed. It enjoys being around people, cats, and other animals. It is especially playful and loving toward its owner, with whom it becomes firmly attached to. This breed easily adapts to new situations and new people, as well as other animals. It also tends to retain a kitten-like disposition throughout its life, earning it the nickname "the Peter Pan of Felines". This breed has a soft, trill-like voice that it rarely uses.

As their name suggests, American Curls originate from the Unites States of America, more specifically in Lakewood California. It is a mutation cat breed, and currently they can be seen in the United States and Europe. There are both long and short-haired varieties of the American Curl, but either type require only weekly grooming. This makes them a fairly easy pet cat to keep, although they will need occasional ear cleanings. Overall this cat has a charming look complimented by a very friendly, well-balanced attitude. This is an excellent breed for families, couples, and owners of other pets.

For information about keeping a pet cat, see:
Cat Care: How to Take Care of a Cat

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Felidae
  • Genus: Felis
  • Species: domesticus

Common Name(s) American Curl, Peter Pan of felines.

Background The American Curl is a fairly new breed, originating from a black, long-haired female stray kitten with unique ears. This stray was befriended by John and Grace Ruga in 1981, when they found her on their doorstep. They named her "Shulamith", which means "black but comely". Later, she had a litter of four kittens, and two of them had the same curled ear trait as their mother. In 1983, these unique cats were exhibited at a cat show in Palm Springs, California, and were received favorably. This breed was formally recognized as "The American Curl" in 1985 by the International Cat Association (TICA) and in 1986 by the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).

The curled ear trait characteristic of the American Curl is caused by a spontaneous mutation which involves a simple dominant gene. Though no health risks are associated with this mutation, some associations consider it to be a defect, and do no recognize it as an official breed. Only cats that can trace their pedigree back to Shulamith are considered true American Curls. Common names for this mutation cat breed include American Curl and Peter Pan of Felines.

Description The defining feature of the American Curl is, of course, its uniquely shaped ears. These cats are born with straight ears, which tightly curl back 3 to 5 days later, and finally relax to their permanent position at approximately 16 weeks. The final position ranges from almost straight, which is indicative of a pet-quality cat, to 90-180 degrees, which is indicative of a show-quality cat. The ears are rigid to the touch, and reveal tufts of hair from the center of the ears, giving it a lynx-like appearance.

The American Curl has a medium-sized, rectangular, moderately muscled body. The head is also medium-sized and moderately longer than it is wide. The nose is straight and the eyes are moderately large, walnut-shaped, and wide set. The legs are medium in length with the forelegs being slightly shorter than the hind legs. The tail is the same length as the body, tapering, and rounded at the tip. This breed weighs approximately 7-11 pounds and it has a long lifespan of 15 or more years.

The American Curl comes in both long and short-haired varieties. In both varieties, the undercoat is minimal. This breed is accepted in all color patterns. The color groups include the following: Solid, Smoke, Tabby, Parti-Color, Bi-Color, Tabby and White, and Shaded, Silver, and Golden.

Care and Feeding The American Curl has no special dietary needs.

Housing Your Cat The American Curl is a moderately active breed that does not require a large yard, but would benefit from space to run and play, whether it is indoors or outdoors. This breed is suited for apartments or houses.

Maintenance Since the American Curl has a minimal undercoat, both the short and long-haired varieties only require a weekly brushing and combing. Due to the unique shape of their ears, they also require occasional ear cleanings.

Social Behaviors The American Curl is a very social breed. It easily befriends people, dogs, and other cats. It is also affectionate toward and tolerant of children, which makes it a great family cat. This cat breed is very loyal and becomes very attached to its owners.

Activities American Curls are playful cats that should be provided with toys and a scratching post.

Breeding/Reproduction American Curls fully mature by two or three years of age. Their ears become fully set around 16 months. Unlike Scottish Folds, American Curls can be bred with each other without risk of causing serious deformity. However, they are often crossed with normal eared cats in order to avoid inbreeding, since this is a fairly rare breed.

Common Health Problems The American Curl is a healthy breed with no particular health risks.

Availability The American Curl is a rare breed, though breeders can be found on the internet. Prices can be rather high, generally around $1200 USD.


Author: Ruth Bratcher
Lastest Animal Stories on American Curl

Liza - 2017-07-08
Our male calico cat died September of last year:( he was seventeen almost eighteen years old, his name was Toby. He used to love to sit in shallow boxes, sit next to the oven while it was on,(because of the vent, it blew warm food scented air at him! We used to call it:"when he was blow drying his hair.") he's been dead for almost a year now and we still miss him and are hurting as much as we did when he least he's in cat Heaven now:). Rest in peace my darling.

K Regan - 2017-06-12
Lookilooking for an American Curl to purchase. Thank you

michelle - 2011-03-31
I would love to buy a cat like that. Am looking all over the world.

  • Charlie Roche - 2011-04-01
    Don't give up. You just have to keep looking and you will find your furry friend. Let us know
    when you do.
mandy rt - 2010-04-15
These are the cutest kitties ever! I MUST HAVE ONE!

  • peyton - 2010-12-30
    I have a dog so I barely know anything about cats. I barely like them also but I think this one is SO
    to die for! I hope you get one that IS to die for!
K Regan - 2017-06-12
Lookilooking for an American Curl to purchase. Thank you