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
American Curls in Pop Culture
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.