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American Curl

American Curl

Place of origin

Los Angeles County, California


Curl-eared cats have been reported only a few times: in the United States in 1981, in Australia in 1996, and in western Greece in 2007. Only one in the United States has been developed into a breed. All American Curls trace their ancestry to a black longhaired female cat named BibleShulamith. A couple found Shulamith and another curl-ear cat on their doorstep in 1981 and adopted them. The cats had ears with firmer cartilage than that of typical cats, which caused the ears to curl backward. Although her companion disappeared, Shulamith stayed and produced a litter of kittens in December 1981. When half of the kittens from the litter also had these unique ears, the couple realized that a new mutation had entered the cat world and set about gaining recognition for this new breed. The curl-eared cats attracted attention when exhibited at a cat show in 1983, and the American Curl breed was recognized by TICA in 1985 and by the CFA a year later.

Unlike cats with the Scottish Fold mutation, two cats with the American Curl mutation may be bred together without adverse health consequences in the offspring. Domestic shorthaired and longhaired cats have been used in the development of this breed, and outcrossing to random-bred cats is still permitted to expand the population of this relatively new breed.

Physical description

When Curl kittens are born, their ears are straight, like those of other kittens. The ears start to develop their characteristic curl in the first week of life. Breeders anxiously observe the ears as they change until they reach their final shape at about sixteen weeks of age. Perfect show-quality ears are prominent in size and equally matched, with a smooth curl backward toward a point in the center of the back of the head.

The Curl has a moderately long, muscular body and a wedge-shaped head with soft contours and a straight nose. These are medium-sized cats, with the females often being particularly petite.

Colors and varieties

All colors are recognized in both longhaired and shorthaired varieties.


American Curls are playful, friendly cats. They are an intelligent breed that adapts well to a household with other pets or children. They enjoy jumping to high places with their athletic bodies and chasing birdlike toys.

Activity level


Vocal level


Special needs

The American Curl requires no special grooming; even the longhair coat is fairly easy to maintain. However, care should be taken not to handle the ears roughly, especially when cleaning them. Some Curls have narrowed ear canals, so avoid getting water in the ears. Ear mites can be especially serious in this breed, so take steps to avoid infestation.


In recent years, the American Curl has been crossed with other breeds to produce cats such as the Ruffle (recognized by the American Association Cat Enthusiasts) and the Kinkalow (recognized as an experimental breed by TICA).

Longhaired American Curl

Shorthaired American Curl

From The Cat Bible, Copyright by Sandy Robins, licensed through ContentOro, Inc and used by arrangement with I-5 Press

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