American Curl is best known for its unique curled ears, which are
the result of a spontaneous mutation. The ears are erect and open;
curling away from the cat's face in a graceful arc as opposed to
the Scottish Fold's which fold forward and downward. The ears give
the breed an alert and happy appearance.
Curl history began on a sunny day in June 1981 in Lakewood, California.
A longhair silky black female kitten with unusual ears wandered
up to the doorstep of Joe and Grace Ruga. Joe encouraged Grace not
to feed the kitten, but Grace listening to her heart instead, left
a bowl of food on the porch. The affectionate black kitten quickly
worked her way into the Ruga's hearts and they named her Shulamith,
which means "black but comely".
December 1981, "Shulamith" delivered her first litter
of four kittens. Of the four, two had ears that curled. A geneticist
was contacted to study this phenomenon and he confirmed that this
unusual ear was a genetic trait and was inherited in every case,
causing it to be labelled a dominant gene, with no deformities attached
to it. Referred to as a spontaneous mutation, the gene that causes
the ear to curl appeared to be following a single dominant pattern.
breeding and presentation of the Curls began in 1983 with American
Curls officially accepted for CFA registration in 1986, and for
championship competition in February 1993. American Curls were also
the first breed to be admitted to the Championship Class as one
breed with two coat lengths. Recognised as one of the United States
native American breeds, the American Curl makes a wonderful pet
and has remained very hearty with no genetic defects associated
with the curl gene.
ideal American Curl is a medium sized, alert cat with an elegant
appearance and a sweet, open expression complimented by their remarkable
ears. Due to their domestic ancestry, American Curls are available
in both longhair and shorthair with both varieties having soft,
silky, lustrous, flat-lying coats. The longhair Curl has the distinction
of sporting a beautiful plumed tail. Because both coat lengths have
minimal undercoat resulting in non-matting hair, grooming an American
Curl is easy. An occasional bath and combing is all that is needed
to keep the coat in good condition.
most distinctive feature of the breed is their uniquely curled ears.
The ears are quite firm to the touch, erect and open, curling up
into a smooth arc. The American Curl ears have been compared to
those of a Lynx with long tufts accentuating the swept back look
complimenting the Curl's overall sophistication, stylish elegance,
and alluring beauty. Care should be taken when handling the ears
to avoid breaking the cartilage.
Curls are born, their ears are straight, but within three to five
days after birth, their ears begin to curl back. During the first
4 months, the kitten's ears will gradually curl and uncurl in varying
degrees until they are set permanently at 4 months of age. It is
usually around this time that the breeder can determine the quality
of the cat based on the ear's degree of curl along with body type.
First degree or almost straight is considered a pet, second degree
or slightly curved is suitable for breeding, and third degree as
show. Third degree is the most desirable curl to the ear, emulating
the graceful curve of a full crescent.
personality, American Curls are very people-oriented, faithful,
and affectionate cats. Having an astute and curious temperament,
they will readily assist their humans in whatever project is at
hand and delight in "bumping heads" with their humans
or new human acquaintances. American Curls love companionship and
will adjust remarkably fast to other pet animals, children, and
new situations. Curls are also even-tempered and intelligent, yet
they retain their kitten-type behaviour throughout their adult life.
First time admirers are always surprised by the American Curl's
unique ears and impressed by their infectious personality, intelligence
and beauty. Curls quickly endear themselves to their humans becoming
a favourite with all who come to know them. Most American Curl owners
enthusiastically acquire more than one Curl to share their home.
being available in longhair and shorthair varieties, the American
Curl can be any colour or coat pattern including the striking blue-eyed
colourpoint. Eyes are also found in a rainbow of colours. The shorthaired
variety is called the "Shorthair Curl" by some associations.