The American Curl is a fairly new breed, originating
from a black, long-haired female stray kitten with unique ears.
This stray was befriended by John and Grace Ruga in 1981, when they
found her on their doorstep. They named her "Shulamith",
which means "black but comely". Later, she had a litter
of four kittens, and two of them had the same curled ear trait as
their mother. In 1983, these unique cats were exhibited at a cat
show in Palm Springs, California, and were received favorably. This
breed was formally recognized as "The American Curl" in
1985 by the International Cat Association (TICA) and in 1986 by
the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).
The curled ear trait characteristic of the American Curl is caused
by a spontaneous mutation which involves a simple dominant gene.
Though no health risks are associated with this mutation, some associations
consider it to be a defect, and do no recognize it as an official
breed. Only cats that can trace their pedigree back to Shulamith
are considered true American Curls.
The defining feature of the American Curl is, of course, its uniquely
shaped ears. These cats are born with straight ears, which tightly
curl back 3 to 5 days later, and finally relax to their permanent
position at approximately 16 weeks. The final position ranges from
almost straight, which is indicative of a pet-quality cat, to 90-180
degrees, which is indicative of a show-quality cat. The ears are
rigid to the touch, and reveal tufts of hair from the center of
the ears, giving it a lynx-like appearance.
The American Curl has a medium-sized, rectangular, moderately muscled
body. The head is also medium-sized and moderately longer than it
is wide. The nose is straight and the eyes are moderately large,
walnut-shaped, and wide set. The legs are medium in length with
the forelegs being slightly shorter than the hind legs. The tail
is the same length as the body, tapering, and rounded at the tip.
This breed weighs approximately 7-11 pounds and it has a long lifespan
of 15 or more years.
The American Curl comes in both long and short-haired varieties.
In both varieties, the undercoat is minimal. This breed is accepted
in all color patterns. The color groups include the following: Solid,
Smoke, Tabby, Parti-Color, Bi-Color, Tabby and White, and Shaded,
Silver, and Golden.
The American Curl is a moderately active breed that does not require
a large yard, but would benefit from space to run and play, whether
it is indoors or outdoors. This breed is suited for apartments or
The American Curl is a healthy breed with no particular health risks.