Pet Advisor Blog
American Curl Cat – Cat Breed Guide
The American Curl is among the youngest recognized cat breed in the world. It may be young, but specimens of this breed have been recognized and awarded as champions on various cat shows. This particular breed is famous for its very unique ears that are curled back from the face and towards the center of the back portion of the cat’s head. This famous curled ear feature is also the reason for the breed’s name.
There are two varieties of the American Curl:
– The American Curl Short-Hair
– The American Curl Longhair
The American Curl is a cat bred that originates in the West Coast of the United States, specifically in Lakewood, California. They were first developed as a distinct breed sometime during the early 1980s. It was first exhibited to the world in the year 1986.
Size: The American Curl is a cat that is small to medium in size
Coat Type: American Curls are either short-haired or long-haired
Body Type: American Curl cats have bodies that are semi-foreign in built
Short-haired American Curls require grooming twice a month.
Longhaired American Curls require grooming two times a week
Vocal Tendency: Both Varieties of the American Curl cat breed are considered average when it comes to vocal tendency.
Energy Levels: The American Curl is one of the most energetic cats known today
Time Alone: This particular cat breed requires 4 to 8 hours of personal time every day
Care: The American Curl requires lots of attention and will be fairly docile
Cat Fanciers’ Association
The International Cat Association
American Cat Fanciers Association
Canadian Cat Association
American Association of Cat Enthusiasts
Clube Português de Felinicultura
Asociación Felina Española
Fédération Internationale Féline
The Traditional Cat Association, Inc.
The American Curl cat breed has a very interesting history. Sometime in June of the year 1981, the Ruga Family, headed by the husband and wife team of Grace and Joe Ruga who lives in Southern California took in two stray kittens. Both of the stray kitties have these unique curled ears and coats that are a longhaired variety. There’s one that is black coated and the other with black and white colors on its coat. The black and white coated cat was killed in an accident and the black cat which was named Shulamith. Shulasmith is a named that was derived from the Hebrew term which loosely translates to “black but comely”.
The Ruga did not know how unique Shulamith’s curled ears are and assume that it is a trait of a particular cat breed. But further research failed to identify a cat breed with the same curled ears. By the end of 1981, Shulamith and a local longhaired cat mated and produced a litter of four, two of which inherited Shulasmith’s unique shape of ears. Succeeding litters from the two progenitors produced the same results, every litter has one or two kittens with the unique curled ear shape. The family learned, through the help of the cat expert Ms. Nancy Kiester that kittens with curl ears have the genes needed to pass it on their future offspring. This is probably caused by a spontaneous mutation of this cat breed’s genetic makeup.
A serious breeding program was then initiated, selecting only the specimens that have the curled ears. Luckily for the American Curl breed, the gene that produces the curl is dominant and will always appear even if only one of the parents has it. By 1982 the Ruga family, together with Ms. Keister and Mr. Jean Grimm set up the breed’s standard for both hair length varieties. The standard restricted breeding and did not allow other cat pedigrees as outcrosses of the breed being developed. Several years later, the American Curl’s breeding program produced consistent results and by 1986 it was ready to be exhibited for the first time. Today, The American Curl cat breed is still considered to be uncommon when compared to the more popular cats. It is slowly gaining momentum outside the United States and already earned a following in several countries including Japan, France, Russia and Spain.
The American Curl breed is not just a cat famous for its very unique curled ears. Although a very irresistible physical trait, this feline breed is also prized for its pleasing disposition. American Curls are extremely people-oriented and will show their very affectionate and devoted traits towards their owners. These cats are not aloof at all and always willing to cuddle and act as sweet as they can with the humans that they have opted to attached with.
Some breeders say that both varieties of the American Curls tend to mature slowly. Most cat fanciers of this breed disregard that, they actually don’t mature at all. These curl-eared felines seem to stay young forever and gained the nickname “the Peter Pan of the cat” breed universe.
Cats of this type will stay playful, energetic and naturally inquisitive even if they reached their senior years. Another amazing trait of these cats is the ability to learn the game of fetch! The American Curls are cats that will be great to have around older people as well as children of all ages. They are also one of the most sociable cats known today, displaying their enjoyment when around other cats as well as dogs that are known to be cat-friendly. This breed is not known to be vocal. The only time they will vocalize is when it is hungry. But do not fret, the Curls have this arresting voice that often described as melodious and very sweet to the ears.
The famous curled ears of the American Curls are not instantly seen at birth. Kittens will develop the Curl shape during the first week of their lives. The actual curl shape will settle down into its final form after four months of gradual development. Once fully formed, the ears will not regress and will maintain that unique curl for the rest of the cat’s life.
American Curl cats are generally very well-balanced felines with bodies that are slender but with a fair amount muscle. The size of the cat is not important, what is important for American Curl enthusiasts is the overall balance and proper proportion of the cat’s physique.
American Curls have a semi-foreign body that rectangular in built.
Head, Ears and Eyes
The American Curls are cats with a modified wedge head that have no flat planes. The curled ears should have a minimum of 90 degreed arcs and a maximum of 180 degrees. It should also be wide at the base and have an open and curving back in a very smooth arc. These cats should have eyes that are somewhat fairly large in size with a walnut shape that can be described as oval-shaped at the top and round-shaped on the bottom. The colors of the eyes do not have to be related to the coat color, but it should be brilliant and clear. An exception for the blue-eyed varieties of this cat breed, as it is required in the color point class of the major international feline registries and organizations.
Coat and Tail
The American Curls have tails that are generally flexible, tapered and wide at the base.
Longhaired American Curls have a flat but fine and silky coat texture that is semi-long in length.
Shorthaired American Curls have flat but soft and silky coat texture that is short in length.
The American Curl cat breed is pretty loose in its standard when it comes to color. Every color and pattern is allowed.
The American Curl is a fairly young cat breed that has a very small genetic pool. There are restrictions on breeding to promote the sufficient diversity of this breed’s genetic makeup. Today, it is currently recognized as a healthy breed. Infections and coat damage does occur but can be prevented with gentle handling and frequent grooming.