American Curl: Cat Breed Information, Characteristics and Facts

American Curl Cat: Breed Information, Characteristics and Facts

The American Curl has been described as a very lively cat that loves to jump and play around its environment. It has the most unique ears you will ever see on a cat. If you love cats with curls, then the American Curl is for you. You have probably heard the phrase “forever young”, referring to humans that remain young at heart throughout their lifetime. Well, the American Curl can be referred to as “forever kitten”, because of how lively it is throughout its lifetime. This cat breed is sure to catch your attention with its appearance, then keep your attention with its personality. Almost everything about this cat seems to be unique. This includes its breeding. The American Curl came about as a result of a natural mutation that happened spontaneously. This is almost unheard of in the world of cats.

When you hear the name American Curl, your first thought will probably tell you that the name refers to its coat. But that is far from the truth. In fact, the American Curl got its name due to the shape of its ears. This is because of the way their ears curl backward. This, added to its long tufts of hair, gives the cat a sort of joyous appearance. And truth be told, the American Curl is a bundle of joy. Its energy and love for playtime do not seem to dwindle even in old age. It loves to show off its agility by leaping and climbing onto high places. Do not be surprised when your laps become its favorite place to perch. This is a cat breed that is ideally suited for a loving home where it would be kept indoors and showered with a lot of love. If your attention has been caught, then read on as we explore more about this unique breed of cat.

American Curl cat

History of the American Curl

The American Curl is not one of the old cat breeds. As mentioned earlier, it came about as a result of a natural genetic mutation. Once upon a time, a stray black kitten with oddly shaped ears made its way through the open doors of Joe and Grace Ruga, who lived in Lakewood, California. The coat of this black kitten was long and silky, causing the Rugas to name it Shulamith. The name was inspired by a princess in the book of Songs Of Solomon of the Old Testament. Shulamith, in the Old Testament, was also referred to as a “black and comely” princess.

Later on, this cat, now named Shulamith, had a litter of four adorable kittens by an unknown male cat. Two of Shulamith’s kittens inherited its curly ears. After consulting with a geneticist, the Rugas learned that the curled ears were as a result of a dominant gene.

In 1983, several cat lovers began to breed the new cat selectively. This new breed of cat was named the American Curl. In 1986, the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) began registering the American Curl. A year later, in 1987, the new cat breed was recognized by the International Cat Association (ICA). But the American Curl breed had to wait several years later in 1993 to achieve full recognition from the Cat Fanciers Association. Thus, it took only seven years (from 19860) for this new breed to reach pedigreed breed status. Also, at the time of its recognition, the American Curl was the first single breed with a double-coat length to attain recognition by the Cat Fanciers Association. Thus all American Curls descended from Shulamith. Several years after the selective breeding programs started, the American Curl is being out-crossed to other breeds or bred to other curl Curls.

Quick Facts About the American Curl

  • The Curled Ears: At birth, the ears of the American Curl are straight. They begin to curl backward after three to five days. After about four months, the ears curl completely and take on a permanent shape. The ears can curl from ninety degrees to a hundred and eighty degrees in angle.
  • Curly Ears And Hearing Ability: Most people wonder if the curled ears affect the hearing ability of the American Curl. The simple answer is no. The curled ears do not affect their hearing. The ears have tufts that face outward. It is recommended that the ears are checked regularly for the build-up of wax.
  • Years Of Existence Of The Breed: The American Curl is one of the youngest breeds of cats. It was discovered as recently as 1981 at Lakewood, California, by the Rugas. The first known American Curl was a black kitten named Shulamith.
  • Curiosity: The American Curl is known to be a curious cat. It is fond of opening drawers and cabinets. It is also capable of special tricks like turning doorknobs and opening doors.
  • High Places: This breed of cat is agile and fond of perching at high places like the shoulders of humans, top of tables and counters, and laps. It also loves to play a game of fetch.
  • Sociable: The American Curl is a friendly and sociable cat. It is also loyal and affectionate towards its owner. It is comfortable with any size of family and adapts very well. It is also friendly towards other cats – no discrimination from this cat breed.
  • Forever Kitten: The American Curl has the personality of a kitten throughout its growing years. It loves to play and bounce around the house as a healthy little kitten would.
  • Not Too Vocal: This cat breed is not made to be as vocal as other breeds of cats. At best, it only produces subdued meows. It is a relatively quiet cat that only loves to play and be active. Less talk, more action!

American Curl sitting near a suitcase

Things You Should Know


Thanks to its comparatively large genetic pool with non-pedigree cats, the American Curl is generally a very healthy breed of cat. However, most cat experts advise that it is still too early to be certain about the health status of the American Curl. There are some health precautions to take to ensure that your American Curl remains healthy and joyous. First, the ears of the cat need to be cleaned very often. This is to make sure there is no risk of infection from the build-up of wax. Secondly, handling the ears must be done gently. Due to the nature of the ears, handling them requires special. In some lines of the American Curl, there were concerns about potential health risks such as dysplasia of the tail and the lower limbs. Again, the concerns have yet to be proven after several years of breeding the American Curl. Another concern was raised about the possibility of defects in the formation of cartilages as well as some bone abnormalities. This concern was raised, taking into consideration the fact that there have been various breeding between the American Curl and other breeds of cats like the Scottish Fold. Again, none of the health concerns raised has been confirmed after several years. Other lines of American Curls may have some problems with ear canals that are too narrow, and thus, could lead to ear infections that result from the build-up of wax. This is why it is important to clean the ears regularly. All that said, one of the commonest health problems for the American Curl (and indeed for all cat breed) is overweight. Being able to ensure that your cat maintains a healthy weight is one sure way to keep it healthy.

Related Post: Best Cat Ear Cleaner


A good understanding of the dietary needs of the American Curl will help to ensure that you keep it healthy and playful. Just like any other cat, the American Curl is a carnivore. This means that a large part of its diet should consist of protein. All cats have similar nutritional needs. An adult American Curl should have ninety percent of its diet consisting of protein. The kitten needs a minimum of thirty percent of its diet consisting of protein. Natural sources of protein like meat, fish, and poultry. Protein will also ensure that your cat maintains lean muscles.

Related Post: Best Cat Food for Weight Loss

Fat is also important since it provides a source of energy while it helps the coat and skin of the cat healthy. However, and carbohydrates should not form a huge part of the cat’s diet. Because a cat’s digestive system is not designed to process plant food well, always make sure that you feed your cat carbohydrates that are only limited to fruits and vegetables that are digestible. Ideally, ten percent of its diet should consist of carbohydrates. You can also treat your cat with fresh vegetables once a while, as this will give it a natural source of important nutrients.

When it comes to calories, also make sure it is kept at a very low count. The American Curl is a fairly large cat. Overfeeding it with a lot of calories can easily result in obesity.

American Curl kittens below thirty weeks old should be fed three meals in a day, mostly milk. Kittens above thirty weeks old but below twelve months can be given two meals in a day. An adult American Curl can be fed once or twice a day.

For the best brands of wet cat food, be sure to consult your vet.


An American Curl breed, as mentioned earlier, is an active and agile cat. It has a body shape which is fuller than most cat breed. It comes in either shorthair or longhair variety. Because it is a very active cat, it requires regular outdoor exercise to pump it up. However, care must be taken not to make it an outdoor cat to ensure its safety. A good game of fetch at the backyard is enough to keep this cat’s spirit high. You can also take it out for a walk once a while to keep it healthy.

As indicated earlier, the American Curl is a generally healthy breed. Its make-up is designed to make it hardy and resilient to a lot of diseases. However, one of the main reasons why pet owners visit the vet is skin problems. Just like any other breed of cat, the American Curl is susceptible to skin diseases. Thus, if you notice your cat scratching too often or too rigorously, something may be wrong with its skin or coat. Also, if you notice redness, swelling, and heavy loss of hair, you must take to the vet to diagnose the exact problem and get the necessary treatment. Aside from emergency visits, it is healthy to plan regular visits to the vet. General examinations are the best to prevent certain diseases from showing up. It is important to visit the veterinarian at least once every month. Also, your cat must be up-to-date with every vaccination it needs to keep it protected.

Furthermore, just like any feline buddy, the American Curl needs a lot of playtime and exercise to keep its mind stimulated. It is a smart and playful breed of cat that requires enough attention from its owner. Constant exercise and enough playtime will keep it active, focused, and in good health.

American Curl Cat


The American Curl comes in both long and short coats of hair. The good thing is that both coats are not difficult to take care of. When it comes to the longhair variety, mats and tangles are unlikely. This is because the longhair type has a little undercoat. Whether longhair or shorthair, combing the cat’s hair once every week is enough to keep it looking good. When combing, always follow the direction of the flow of the fur. If you want to remove dead hair that has accumulated, you can comb the coat of the shorthair backwards. You can comb it downward to remove bugs and insects that may be trapped in the fur. Shorthairs shed more often than the longhairs. This is because shorthairs shed all year round. Longhairs shed heavily during the warm periods of the year. It is important to brush the longhair more often during the warm months. The American Curl does not require regular baths.

  • Oral hygiene is very important. The teeth need to be brushed regularly to prevent periodontal disease. It is recommended to brush the cat’s teeth daily. But once every week is also acceptable.
  • The nails need to be trimmed once every couple of weeks. Be sure to wipe the corners of your cat’s eyes. Use a soft and damp cloth to carefully and gently remove any discharge. To avoid the risk of spreading any infection, always use a different area of the cloth for both eyes.
  • The ears should be inspected every week. When you notice that there is dirt in the ears, dampen a piece of cloth with a mixture of warm water and cider vinegar. Alternately, you can use a cotton ball to wipe the ear clean. Cotton swabs can cause damage to the delicate ears. Avoid using them. Also, be sure to handle the ears with extra care. The cartilage can be broken easily.
  • Be sure always to keep the litter box clean and dry. Cats, in general, are strict about bathroom hygiene.

To keep your American Curl safe, it is best to keep it indoors. This will protect your cat from certain diseases spread by other cats. It will also protect it from predators, cat thieves, and road accidents in particular. Plus, a cat kept indoors is less likely to get lost.

Check out some of our cat grooming guides, such as cat toothbrush, cat toothpaste, cat nail clippers, and cat ear cleaner.


The American Curl kittens are very active. They are not like most kittens that basically snooze through the day. These little guys love to play from as early as their eyes open. Thus, if they are not provided with a playful environment, they get bored quickly. For the best toys to provide your kittens, be sure to check out the pet store. As mentioned throughout this blog article, the American Curl is a very active and playful breed of cat. It is agile and loves to leap, jump, climb, and fetch.

The American Curl is loyal and affectionate towards its owner. It is likened to the dog with the way it runs to the door to meet its favorite human. It loves to greet in an affectionate way by gently bumping into its human with its head. It also loves to follow its human around the house, driven by both loyalty and curiosity. Speaking of curiosity, this breed of cat is capable of opening closed drawers, cabinets, and turning doorknobs. Be sure to keep valuable stuff away from this guy. It also loves to perch at high places like the top of tables, cabinets, shelves, laps, and the shoulders of its favorite human.

This cat loves to play, and you must make time for it. It is important to set aside a specific part of your day to spend time with it. During these bonding moments, you can engage it with interactive games or just bond quietly. During your busy hours, keep your cat busy with favorite cat toys. This is because American Curls get bored easily. No wonder they are referred to as “forever kitten”.

American Curl Kitten

To Summarize

The American Curl is a young breed of cat. Although there is still a lot to know about this special cat breed, there is enough information to guide anyone who wishes to own one of these adorable cats. It is playful, affectionate, and loyal. It is low maintenance when it comes to caring for it. Plus, it is an ideal indoor cat for the family.

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  1. American Curl, PetMD
  2. American Curl, VCA Animal Hospitals

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