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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
- See Animal-World References: Cat Breeds – Exotic Cats
- Bruce Fogle, CATolog, DK ADULT, 2002.
- Mordecai Siegal, Simon & Schuster’s Guide To Cats , Simon & Schuster, 1983
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