American Curl

American Curl

About the breed:

Known as the “The Peter Pan of Felines” –  the American Curl retains a kitten-like personality throughout the cats entire life. They are often very playful and bond very easily with people. They are fairly active felines that love to run, jump and even fetch! They love to play but they do also have the typical cat curiosity and like to investigate new things and changes.

The Cat Fanciers Association describes them as “very people-oriented, faithful, affectionate soulmates” and that they adapt very quickly to other pets, children and other situations. They will follow their owners around so as not to miss a thing.  When introducing them into a home that already has some animals they seem to give the current animals space and the respect due to get used to them.  Granted, I have read some review that say otherwise, so always use caution and make introduction slowly in any case.

Overall they are a wonderful cat for families and love children.

Another consideration is that they are very social and don’t like to be alone for long periods of time.  Vetstreet.com recommends reviewing what your schedule would be like or if they have company of other pets as they could develop a separation anxiety.

Here is a fantastic video about the breed from Animal Planet: American Curl

Body Types and Coats:

Their ears are their most defining feature.  It was a result of a spontaneous natural mutation where their ears are actually made of firm cartilage, like a humans, instead of being soft, like most other cats. The curve can vary from 90 to 180 degrees. Kittens are born with straight ears and they start to curl 3 to 5 days later, staying in a “tight Rosebud position” (CFA) until permanently set at around 16 weeks.

According to CFA this is when breeders determine the ear quality and if they should be shown or be pets.

This breed comes in nearly all color coats and in both short and long hair.  Check out the next section on their history, which explains why!

Some Curls have ‘ear furnishings’ little toughs of fur in front of their ears, adding even more character to their already curious faces.  This is mostly with the long hair varieties.

The ‘standard body type is a muscular cat with rectangular body type. Coats are generally lay flat and feel silky with no under coat.

Grooming: These are low maintenance cats. Since their coats don’t have much of an under coat, they shed only a little, so an occasional combing, say once a week, would be enough to keep mats away, especially on the cats with longer hair coats.

Weight: Medium sized cat: Females 6-8; Males 7-10

Additional Resources:

Cattime.com – American Curl

Wikipedia.org – American Curl

CFA.org – American Curl (Cat Fancier’s Association)

Vetstreet.com – American Curl

TICA.org – American Curl (The International Cat Assoc.)

Petfinder.com – American Curl

Petmd.com – American Curl

Adoptions – curlessence.com

American Curls in Pop Culture

In the webcomic Achewood, the character Ray Smuckles has admitted to being an American Curl.

From <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Curl>

History:

In 1981 a long haired black cat with curled ears was found on the doorstep of the home of Joe and Grace Ruga in Lakewood, CA. They loved her curled ears so much and found that her kittens also exhibited the trait with the health of a friend they decided to try to get recognition with Cat Fancier Association. They bred her with non-pedigree domestic cats to ensure health. Unlike the Scottish Fold, which has folded ears actually due to a cartilage defect, the Curl’s ears are not a defect, but a rare genetic mutation as confirmed by genetic tests.

Due to this diverse background you can find this cat in any color combination, hair length, eye color, etc. To keep the genetic gene pool diverse, they continued to cross the cat until the end of 2009, but since then they now breed curls with other curls or a similar breed that that otherwise meets the curl breed standard, but with straight.  Straight eared Curls, for instance, can still be used in breeding programs. Still, this means the breed can vary greatly in personality, size, color, and other traits depending on the bloodline and the breeding program.

Genetics confirmed the trait of their ears to be autosomal dominant meaning that any cat with even one copy of the gene will show the trait. A Curl and other breed will have at least 50% of the kittens having the firm, curled ears, and 100% if both parents are Curls. Other health tests found no genetic issues outside of what is common to all cats.

19 Comments

  1. Maria

    How interesting – I never knew all this. I think it’s so great that they have that distinct personality that also somehow matches with the ear genetics. They’re so cute. I wonder – because one of the pictures shows a persian looking cat – and others show tabby like cats or others, it seems they can have characteristics of all those cats too and still be curl cats. Also it’s cool that just having the gene for it can make it manifest in the cat on the ears – I’ve never met one that I can recall – but they are definitely adorable.

    Reply
    1. Bethany (Post author)

      Exactly! In the looks department these cats literally can be any color or pattern, like the typical domestic short hair, and still have those wonderfully curled ears. Meanwhile they have that kitten like personality that is the trade mark of an American Curly personality. That is pretty much all the breed standard calls for. They do have a bulkier rectangular body, so they are not sleek and lean like a Siamese or Abysinnian, but beautiful none the less.

      Thank you for the Comment!

      Reply
  2. maxg44

    Hello!

    I really love the ears of these cats! It is completely different from what you normally see on a cat! Love that! You are saying they can adapt easely with other pets or children? That a very important point, because I have 3 kids and other cats and I know sometimes, cats may have difficulties with new members in the house!

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Bethany (Post author)

      Yes! While I have not had the pleasure to own a curl myself yet, every source that I went to for the page indicated that they are excellent with families, even with small children as the cat is rather fascinated by them thanks to that kitten-like personality. They would definitely be a breed to consider.

      Reply
  3. Daniella

    Hi Bethany,

    Your website is absolutely wonderful, I love animals and cats are one of my favorite pets! In fact, I have two cats at home, but I would have definitely adopted another cute cat like the one the picture:) Are the American Curl salable? If so, How much would cost this kind of cat breed? They must be very expensive since they are so beautiful!
    Thank you very much for this excellent post!

    Reply
    1. Bethany (Post author)

      This took me a while to find, it was actually quite difficult as no one seems to list “adoption” prices up front. A site called catbreedslist.com listed that American Curl kittens can range from $800 to $1200. Abyssinian and Siamese are about half that and a Sphinx is about the same as the Curl, if that puts it into perspective.

      Reply
  4. Rock

    Hi Bethany,

    Well, that’s quite an information. I must say this is the first time I’ve encountered that kind of breed for cats. They are all beautiful regardless of which color, they look more like a stuffed animal. And I think that their ears give them that impressive and distinctive look. They are pretty costly though but, seems it will be worth it given their characters and ‘sociable’ qualities which most cats aren’t. I’ll try to own one of these soon. =)

    Thanks for sharing.

    Rocky

    Reply
    1. Bethany (Post author)

      Thank you, Rocky! They are quite the whimsical breed. Just like dogs, cat breeds are distinctive and have breed normal characteristics.

      -Bethany

      Reply
  5. ches

    I’m not really a cat person, dogs are my thing, even so these particular cats seems to have more of the characteristics of dogs!
    Following owners around, likes to be in company, doesn’t want to be alone, always playful, people oriented, likes children, adapts to other pets, faithful. This is surely a dog!
    These cats are so unusual but I’ve never seen one here in the UK. Are they only bred in the US? Are they expensive to buy because they are so unusual? My auntie is always on the look out for a cat and one of these would suit her down to the ground.
    One thing though, I notice many of them are white. Do they have a problem with deafness as many white cats do? Great post. Ches

    Reply
    1. Bethany (Post author)

      I have found American Curl Breeders in the UK! Cat personalities are dependent on breed just like dogs and mixed/mutt cats can be just as unpredictable, just like dogs. They do have a different language so you have to be aware of that. Certainly can’t treat or train them like a dog, but if you do so in their language, they are amazing animals that will thrive! For instance your typical tabby cat is highly intelligent. With correct socialization and training, they will talk to you, be your best friend and can even be taught to go on walks with you in a safe neighborhood, even on a leash if you want to keep them even more safe. Just start the training while in kittenhood. Unfortunately the window is much shorter for cats than for dogs, but even older cats can be taught. Be sure to reach out any time if you have any questions! I am back on working on my website and new content and breeds will be up this week!

      Reply
  6. Jessie

    wow, what a beautiful breed. I love cats and I’ve owned many types over the years. The most exotic being a Maine Coon cross. She wasn’t big like a regular Maine Coon but she certainly had the bit long coat. I’m currently trying to convince my husband to get a new cat so I’m on the hunt already and having three small children, this sounds like a perfect breed.

    Reply
    1. Bethany (Post author)

      Hello Jessie and thank you for the comment. Yes, breeds like Maine Coons can certainly be a handful since they are so much closer to their wild cousins. In my research these cats are so far the most kid friendly I have seen with it’s lifelong kitten quality of playfullness.

      Reply
  7. Michelle

    I really loved your article!
    This was relateable since I’ve always wanted an American curl. I discovered the breed back in 2012 and immediately feel in love with the with the unique beauty and friendly personally. Many breeds and mixed cats tend to find their way to my home, most are dumped, but I’m always happy to give them some love, shelter and food yummy food.

    Reply
    1. Bethany (Post author)

      Thank you Michelle! I appreciate the feed back from someone who knows the breed personally! It means I’m on the right track with the content.

      Reply
  8. Cathy

    Interesting breed of cats but we don’t see them very often at the vet where I am working. There’s one – Farina is her name and although she looks gorgeous, she totally hates coming to the clinic.

    One problem I noticed is that it is very challenging to clean their ears. The curl seems to make their ear canal smaller and this is a headache when you want to get sample to test for ear mites and to apply topical medications.

    Do you have the same experience with other curls or is it just Farina? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Bethany (Post author)

      Unfortunately I don’t have any personal experience though I could understand the problem. I would imagine it may depend completely on the degree of curl and how much hair they have in their ears though I have a feeling that you would know better than I if you work at a vet clinic!

      I hope that once I get some momentum to start reaching out to breeders of as many different breeds as I can, first locally to the Seattle area where I live and see where it goes from there.

      Reply
  9. Evie

    oh my these are so cute and I actually had never heard of this breed – not sure if they are available here in the UK. I do think the ears are extremely cute and the range of coat colors are great. I am a big fan of long haired cats.

    Their personality traits seem very similar to my cats who are ragdolls – they too are inquisitive and will follow you around like dogs. As well as being very even tempered.

    Reply
  10. Judy

    Great info on the Aby.. they must be amazing kittens!

    Reply
    1. Bethany (Post author)

      Hmm, checking on why you were not able to leave a comment on the Aby page. Looks like this is the only page allowing comments. I’ll fix that. 🙂

      Reply

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