The American Curl Cat

The Curl is known for its distinctively shaped ears, but this is an arresting cat with a pleasant expression even without them. Learn more about the American Curl Cat in today's blog.
The American Curl Cat - KittyNook Cat Company

The Curl is known for its distinctively shaped ears, but this is an arresting cat with a pleasant expression even without them.


history of the american curl cat

The American Curl is one of the newer cat breeds. Its story began on a hot June day in 1981 when a stray black kitten was embraced by Joe and Grace Ruga of Lakewood, California. She was named Shulamit, after a character in the Old Testament book the Song of Solomon. She has long, silky hair and ears that curled backward.

Shulamith had a litter of four kittens, the father being unknown; two of them shared her curly ears. An assessment done by feline geneticist Roy Robinson determined that the ear-curling gene was autosomal dominant, suggesting that a cat with even one copy of the genetics would have ears crinkled back. 

Cat fanciers started uniquely breeding the felines in 1983, which means All American Curls can map their way back to Shulamith. And so, the new breed, called the American Curl, was registered in Cat Fanciers Organization in 1986. They were acknowledged by The International Feline Organization in 1987 and attained full recognition from CFA in 1993. With practically unprecedented rapidity, the journey from stray to pedigree took only six years for the American Curl. The breed also stands apart as the first single breed with two coat lengths recognized by CFA.


personality of the american curl cat

The American Curl has a pleasant and mild personality and is known for being people-loving. Due to its domestic heritage, it is moderately energetic, curious, and intelligent. It is likely to follow its owners around to see what they're doing, but the Curl is not talkative or bossy like some breeds. If need be, it will quietly request you for food, attention, or whatever else it needs. The Curl is friendly, caring, and family-oriented, often with a unique fondness for kids. Owners say that when returning home, their Curl will greet them with a head bump and extend this affectionate gesture to visitors in the house.

American Curls are dubbed the "Peter Pan" of the feline world. It is not uncommon to see older Curls "flying" about with as much pleasure as the younger ones. Males, as well as females, are similarly active. The Swirl likes to play and can be trained to fetch. The breed is also known for being efficient in opening doorknobs, so take care to do away with any cabinets within his reach.

Cat Care and Grooming

cat care and grooming of the american curl cat

The Curl's coat can be long or short, and both lengths are easy to care for. The longhaired ones have a little undercoat and a plumed tail, so it's not likely to mat or tangle. A once-a-week combing is enough to keep the longhaired or shorthaired Curl looking stunning. Try running the comb in reverse through the shorthair's coat; it can help eliminate any dead hair that has gathered. Shorthairs shed year-round as well as tend to shed more than the longhairs. When the longhairs lose heavily throughout chilly months, cleaning or brushing regularly is an excellent idea. A bath is rarely needed.

Brush the teeth to avoid oral problems. Daily oral health is best, but brushing once a week is better than nothing. Cut the nails every two or three weeks. You can wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to eliminate any discharge. Clean the ears gently every week or so. 

It is best to keep an American Curl as an indoor-only feline to protect from diseases and dangers outside.


health concerns with the american curl cat

Both pedigreed felines and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of illness that might be hereditary. American Curls are usually healthy. However, some lines have narrow ear canals, resulting in ear infections from wax build-up.

Suspected Disease Risks

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Arterial Thromboembolism
  • Kidney Failure
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism

Did You Know?

The breed is born with straight ears, which don't begin to crinkle back till the kitten is about three weeks old. But not all cat's ears will curl; some will remain straight. They scrunch, uncurl, and scrunch until they reach their permanent form when the cat is about four months old.

Taking on an American Curl Cat from Rescue or a Sanctuary

a man holding an american curl cat in the hook of his elbow

The American Cat is an uncommon breed type. While it is not likely that you will find one in a sanctuary or rescue, it does not hurt to look. In some cases, a pedigreed feline winds up at a shelter after losing its home to an owner's death, separation, or change in financial circumstances.

Here are pointers to help you find and take on the best cat from a rescue group or shelter.

1. Use the Internet. PetFinder can help you find an American Curl your area. The site also enables you to be highly specific in your requests or extremely general. can also help you find animal rescue teams in your area. Some newspapers even have "family pets seeking residences" sites you can see.

Social media is another excellent way to find a feline. You can use Facebook Groups or even Instagram to find what you are looking for.

2. Reach Out to Local Specialists. Start chatting with pet professionals in your area regarding your wish for an American Curl. That includes vets, cat caretakers, and groomers. When somebody has to make the challenging choice to surrender a feline, that individual will often ask her own trusted network for referrals.

3. Talk to Breed Rescue. Networking can help you find a cat feline that might be an excellent addition to your home. You can start with the Fanciers Breeder Referral List. You can also search online for other American Curl rescues in your area.

Once you find your cat, here are some questions that you can ask the shelter or rescue team staff or volunteers. These include:

  • What is its energy level?
  • How is it with other pets?
  • How is it with sanctuary employees, visitors, and kids?
  • What is its personality like?
  • How old is it?
  • Has it bitten or scratched anyone that they know of?
  • Are there health concerns?

Wherever you get your American Curl, make sure that you have a contract with the shelter or rescue group that states the obligations on both sides. In places with pet lemon laws, make sure both parties understand their legal rights and recourses.

Kitten or adult, take your American Curl to your veterinarian right after adoption. This way, the vet will be able to identify problems (if any) and work with you to establish a preventive regimen that will help you stay clear of numerous health concerns.

Finally, some cat breeds are independent; others bond entirely to a single person and are indifferent to everybody else. The breed isn't the only aspect determining affection; felines raised inside a home with people around feel extra comfy with humans and bond much more quickly.

Previous Article Next Article