January 28, 2023

American Curl Cat Breed Profile

American Curl

About the American Curl cat breed

The striking American Curl stands out from the crowd with it’s curled back ears, which is believed to have been caused by a spontaneous mutation in its origins.

Mostly popular in the USA, a handful of cats have been imported into the UK as pets, and Claire Winnall, of Overear Cattery in Lincolnshire, imported the first UK breeding pair of Curls in August 2007. Her first litter of Curl kittens was born in 2008 and 2013 saw the first Shorthair Curls born in this country. Currently there is only a small handful of Curl breeders in the UK. “It can be hard to describe just how special these cats are!” says Claire. “They are soulful, intelligent, gentle and affectionate.”

Variety is certainly the spice of life with this unusual breed, as you can get both long and shorthaired Curls in tabby, self and points in a variety of colours. And, although not recognised by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), the breed is at Championship status with TICA, the Cat Fancy Association (CFA), Felis Britannica (FIFe) and most other registries around the globe.

American Curl cat breed history

In June 1981, in Lakewood, California, a black kitten with a long silky coat, large golden eyes and uniquely curled ears showed up on the doorstep of Joe and Grace Ruga. Six months later, the cat, Shulamith, delivered her first litter of four kittens, and two had ears that curled like their mother. Nowadays all true American Curl cats can trace their ancestry back to Shulamith.

American Curl kittens

The kittens’ ears are straight at birth and start to curl at around three days old. The curling stops at about four months old, at which point you can tell if they will be suitable as a show cat – show standards require the cats’ ears to have a 90 to 180-degree curl. Not all kittens ears curl, and currently the breed is being mated with the domestic cat to bring in much needed gene pool lines. Pet and show quality kittens are rare due to their new status in the UK, and you should expect to pay from around £700.

American Curl cat breed health

Claire says that the American Curls are known as one of the healthiest breeds of pedigree cat, mostly due to their ‘domestic’ background, and they have no known inherited disorders. The gene causing their ears to curl has no health issues associated with it.

Curls do produce thicker ear wax that other breeds so do require some extra attention to keep their ears clean. The ears are no more prone to sunburn that those on other cats as the exposed parts have a fine layer of hair. Claire says: “They need no more grooming than a shorthair so you only need to comb once a week, maybe twice when they are moulting. They are generally a long lived breed with several instances of cats living in excess of 20 years!”

American Curl cat breed personality

Curls love to play, even into their late teens, and will quickly learn to play fetch. They are an active but not demanding breed, they are generally quiet and will chat to you with little chirps and plenty of purring. They love to be close to you and will pat you for attention and ‘help’ with chores.

Remember! All cat breed profiles are general and every cat is an individual.