American curls are considered national treasures. Their unique and adorable curled ears have put them on the list of the most unique and beautiful felines. But there is a lot more to know about this cute cat breed.
The American curl is recognized by almost all major cat associations. This cat breed has also been awarded championship status. They are often referred to as kitten-like because they maintain their cute personalities and nice temperament throughout their lives.
Are you a fan of American curl? How much do you know about this cat breed? In this article, you will find some interesting information about the American curl’s history, personality traits, and common health problems.
You will also find information related to their grooming needs that will particularly help if you already own an American Curl.
American Curl History
The American curl is one of the youngest cat breeds that originated in 1981. This breed comes from the genetic mutation in the domestic cat breed population.
The selective breeding started in 1983 and by 1986 they were recognized by the three most popular North American cat registries.
In June 1981, two cats with curled ears arrived on the doorstep of Joe and Grace ruga in Lakewood, California. One cat died shortly afterward but the other remained with the couple and was named Shulamith.
Shulamith, a black kitten with long, silky hair gave birth to four kittens. Two kittens shared her curly ears. The father, a local longhaired cat did not have curled ears.
Roy Robinson, a feline geneticist found that the curl ears were caused by the dominant gene. Only one parent needs to have the gene to pass on curled ears to some of their offsprings. If a cat does not have curled ears, it cannot have the ear curling gene.
A dominant gene will always appear in the physical appearance of the cat. Only a copy of the gene is required for cats to be born with curl ears.
Shulamith continued to have litters with the local longhaired cat, adding to the curl population. Both varieties of short and long-haired appeared in early litters. Different colors and patterns also appeared. The couple gifted the kittens to friends and family members.
Two of these kittens were acquired by Nancy Kiester, who loved their unique ears and nice temperament.
In 1883, several cat fanciers started breeding the cats and in 1986, the American curl was registered by the Cat Fanciers Association. The International Cat Association recognized the cat breed in 1987. The American curl took only six years from a stray cat to becoming a separate cat breed recognized by most popular registries.
All American curls are the result of Shulamith. These cats can be bred to other curls or with domestic cats with straight ears that meet the curl breed standard.
American Curl Physical Attributes
The American Curl stands out for its uniquely shaped ears. This well-muscled cat has a slightly long body compared to the overall body size.
Below you can find more about the physical attributes of the American curl.
- Semi-foreign rectangle
- Moderate in strength
- Wide at base
- Slightly curve back in a smooth arc
- Tips rounded
- Set equally on top and side of the head
- Modified wedge
- Nose straight in length
- A slight curve to the top of the head
- Muzzle rounded
- Chin in line with nose and upper lip
- Walnut shape
- Oval on top
- Round on bottom
- Color not related to coat color
- Medium-sized length
- Straight when viewed from front or rear
- Medium boning
- Wide at base
- Size is equal to body length
- All colors and patterns are allowed
- Pointed pattern, ticked tabby, pointed with white, smoke, shaded, van, chinchilla, and bicolor
- The texture is fine and silky
- Minimum undercoat
- Semi-long coat length
- The texture is soft
- Minimum undercoat
- Short coat length
American Curl Personality Traits
American curls have many qualities other than the curled ears that make them one of the attractive cat breeds. This cat breed is known for its friendly and gentle nature. They are people cats and even like children which is not the case with most cats. They love to seek out their company and get along well with almost everyone.
The American curl is a smart, active, and curious cat breed. He will give you company in everything you are doing and will most likely follow you around the house. He is not much talkative or bossy unlike some other cat breeds such as Siamese.
If needed, he will sit quietly and see you for food, attention, or anything else that he wants. When you come home from a long day of work, he will greet you with excitement and may even extend his affectionate gestures to guests in the home.
American curls are often referred to as the ‘Peter Pan’ of the feline world. The older curls are not as energetic as the younger curls. Males and female curls of the same age are equally active.
The curls love to play and can easily be learned different techniques like fetch. He can also open doorknobs and kitchen cabinets. When needed break, he will love to sit on your lap.
He is an alert, active, and adaptable cat breed that is best suited to any home and family. While not as energetic as Siamese and Abyssinian, American curls are quite energetic and risky.
Like other cats, American curl also shows curiosity towards the surroundings. Because they are intelligent, they can easily learn new things. This cat breed can quickly adapt to any new environment. Therefore, it is a suitable cat breed for almost every family.
American Curl Care
American curls have both varieties of short and long hair that can easy to care for. The longhaired variety has a minimum undercoat so there are very few chances of tangles or mat.
Once in a week combing is enough to keep both long-haired and shorthaired curl beautiful. You can also try combing backward as it will help you remove the dead hair.
Shorthair shed throughout the year and shed more than longhair. During summers, the longhair may shed more so, it is better to comb more often. A regular bath is not required.
Brush the teeth regularly to avoid the chances of Periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is very important and weekly brushing is best. Trim the nails once or twice a month or when needed.
Wipe the corner of the eyes with a soft cotton cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate piece of cloth for each eye to avoid the risk of spreading any infection.
Check the ears once a week or when needed. Clean ears with a cotton ball if they look dirty. Do not use cotton swabs for cleaning ears as they can damager the inner side of the ears. Handle the ears gently and with care.
Keep the litterbox of the American curl clean. It is also advised to keep the American curl as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats and outdoor animals.
American curls are intelligent. They are very smart and do not have high exercise needs. Provide him with different games to challenge his brain and physical abilities. Try puzzles that are specifically designed for cats. They also love to play fetch with a small toy or a rolled-up paper.
Coat Color & Grooming Requirements of American Curl
The American curl stands for its uniquely shaped ears but even without that feature, he is a strikingly beautiful cat with a cute expression and a coat of both short and longhaired variety. The coat can be of any color and pattern. The shades also include exotic shades such as silver patched tabby, chocolate tortoiseshell smoke, and lilac lynx point. The longhaired cats have a plumed tail.
The most intriguing and distinctive feature of American curl is the ears. Ears are straight when a curl is born and they begin to curl 2 to 10 days after birth.
They curl and uncurl until reaching 4 months of age. It is the time when they reach their permanent shape. A kitten chosen for the show ring has a crescent-shaped ear with a 90 degree arc of curl.
The tips of the ears are flexible and rounded that are often embellished with tufts of fur. Their ears swivel forward when these cats are alert.
American Curl Health Problems
American curl is generally a healthy cat breed and has not shown any symptoms of genetic disorders. However, it is important to be well aware of the fact that both mixed breed and pedigreed cats are not 100% protected from showing symptoms of certain health issues during their lifetime.
Due to their uniquely shaped ears, some kittens may be born with narrowed ear canals. This can lead to ongoing ear infections. So, it is important to check your curl’s ears every now and then to identify any inner ear issues.
It is also important to buy a cat from a breeder who provides a written health guarantee. If you want to take a new kitten home, you are responsible for the overall wellbeing of the cat. Obesity is one of the most common health concerns that you need to take care of.
Make sure to keep your American curl at an appropriate weight by providing him a balanced diet. The amount of food a curl need depends on age, sex, and activity levels. Go for expert advice if you are not sure of the best cat food that you can give your curl.
You can also consult with a veterinarian if you are not sure about the health of your American curl.
American Curl with Children & Other Pets
American curl gets along well with children, cats, and other pets. This breed is a good choice for families with and without children. For families with children, it is important for them to teach their children to treat the pets nicely and don’t pull his tail or ears.
He can also live with cat-friendly dogs. If you have more than one pet, introduce them slowly and in a controlled environment to make sure they get along well with each other.
Cat Breeds Similar to American Curl
Before bringing American curl home, it is important to conduct some research. It will help you understand which cat breed is best for your lifestyle.
The American curl does not require high maintenance, engagement, and attention throughout the day. They are prone to ear infections so routine ear examination is important.
If you like American curl, you will also like the following cat breeds.
There are many other cat breeds that you can also explore and find the best one that matches your lifestyle.
American Curl for Emotional Support
American curl can also be a great option for an emotional support cat. It is relatively a new cat breed, American curl has won the hearts of many with its cute looks and unique ears.
The most distinguish features of American curls are its plumed tail, walnut-shaped eyes, and curling ears.
If you are thinking about whether American curls make good emotion support animals, the answer is yes. They are extremely sweet cats with nice temperaments. They make great family pets and tend to bong with everyone around them. So, if you’re suffering from stress, anxiety, or depression, this cat breed is one of the best choices.
To obtain an ESA, all you have to do is get a valid legit ESA letter from a licensed medical health professional.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does an American Curl cat cost?
The average cost is $75-$150 if you want to adopt an American curl. The cost may increase if you purchase from a breeder and that is usually around $1,000-$1,200.
Are American Curl cats healthy?
The American curl is generally a healthy cat breed due to its genetic pool with non-pedigree cats. However, these cats have a high possibility of developing ear infections. Therefore, gentle handling and routine ear checkups are required for its overall good health.
Are American Curl cats hypoallergenic?
American Curl cats are not hypoallergenic. They are low shedding cats. However, there is no evidence supporting American curl being hypoallergenic. If you suffer from the symptoms of cat allergies, the American curl might not be the best option for you.