American Curl History
The American Curl cat is an unusual breed with distinctive ears that gently curve backward. The backward curling ears are a result of a dominant mutation. This mutation was first documented in 1980 when a stray long-haired cat with curled ears was taken in by Grace Ruga and named “Shulasmith”. A subsequent unplanned litter resulted in two of the four kittens having curled ears. The first time these American curls, Shulasmith and the 2 kittens, were shown was at Palm Springs in 1983 where they created a lot of interest and excitement. Since the curled ears seemed to be a dominant mutation, Joe and Grace Ruga and a friend, Nancy Keister, started a selective breeding program with the intent of developing a new cat breed. The American Curl was first recognized in the US by the International Cat Association and later in 1991 was given provisional recognition by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA).
- Curled back ears
- Playful and affectionate
- Loves children
- Gets along well with other pets
The American Curl is a small to medium-sized cat breed with distinctive curled ears. Male Curls weigh from 7 to 10 pounds and females from 5 to 8 pounds. Curl kittens are born with uncurled ears but they become tightly curled within a week and then gradual uncurl until they reach their adult state in 4 to 5 months. The degree of final curling varies between individual cats with show quality ears ranging between 90 and 180 degrees arc of curl. Curls are elegant, moderately muscled and slender in build with a rectangular body. The head has a wedge shape that is slightly longer than wide and the eyes are fairly large, walnut-shaped – oval on top and rounded at the bottom. Longhair varieties have a semi-long fine, silky and flat-lying coat with a minimal undercoat and a fully plumed tail. Shorthair varieties have a short, soft, silky and flat-lying coat with a minimal undercoat.
What They Are Like to Live With
American Curls can vary a lot in personality, but are basically easygoing, fun loving pets. They are playful and affectionate, and enjoy children. They also tend to get along well with dogs and other cats.
American Curls thrive on attention, but are not excessively vocal cats.
Things You Should Know
The look of the American Curl can vary significantly from one cat to another because of continued outcrossing to non-pedigreed cats. All American Curls should have the signature curled ear.
American Curls need regular ear checks to make sure their ears are healthy. Owners can check the ears for accumulated ear wax or other problems during weekly grooming sessions.
Curls are very healthy due to a wide range of cat breeds used during the development of the breed. The curled ears do not present a health problem. The American Curl is a low-shedding cat breed and requires little grooming beyond a once per week combing to remove dead hairs.