The American Curl is an instantly recognisable breed of cat. It is distinguishable by its unusally-shaped ears, which bend backwards and inwards. This breed of cat was only recently recognised, and is still quite rare.
As a breed, American Bobtails have a very playful and curious personality. They enjoy human company and aren't shy about trying different ways of getting our attention.
The first American Curl was a long-haired cat named Shulamith. She was found as a stray in California in 1981 by a couple who decided to adopt the curly-eared cat.
When Shulamith gave birth, her litter also had the same unusual bent ears. This confirmed the hereditary nature of the trait, and resulted in the creation of a new breed of cat.
In 1983, Shulamith and her kittens were presented at a cat festival, where they attracted a lot of curiosity from both the public and experts. The first instances of cross-breeding were subsequently carried out in order to help the breed grow. In order to preserve the wild origins of Sulasmith, cross-breeding took place only with other cats which resembled her.
One year later, the first instance of breeding between two American Curls took place. It was therefore 1985 before an American federation recognised the breed.
The American Curl is a medium-sized cat with an unusual proportions. Its body is muscular and it is big-boned, but it is relatively thin all the same.
The cat's paws are round and medium-sized, while its tail is fairly long relative to its body, and is thicker at the base. American Curls generally have long and feathery coats. Altogether, this gives this cat a balanced and elegant appearance.
The American Curl's head is also medium-sized, but is triangle-shaped. The head has no definitive characteristics in particular, apart from its curved ears. The cat's eyes are proportional to the size of its head, and are a rounded oval shape. They can be any colour.
Ultimately, the cat's ears are its most important attribute. As is characteristic of the American Curl, they curve backwards in a crescent moon shape. As kittens, American Curls are born with straight ears which begin to curl after a few days, and reach their adult shape by the time the cat is 16 weeks old.
To be recognised as pedigree by cat federations, an American Curl must have ears which are flexible right to the tips, and don't touch their scalp or the base of their ear.
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The first American Curls had long coats, but there are now short-haired American Curls. It is the only breed which is recognised in both its long-haired and short-haired forms.
The first instances of cross-breeding took place with no breed of cat in particular, so all colours and patterns of coat are possible. Consequently there is a large variety of American Curls, from red tabbys to blue colorpoints. The combinations are infinite for wild cats.
Short-haired instances of the breed tend to have silky fur which covers their body well, with little undercoat.
The American Curl as a kitten is not very different from its adult equivalent. The cat remains playful all its life – so much so that some have nicknamed it "Peter Pan''. They are very curious and lively cats which love to explore and play with their owners as well as other household pets.
Sometimes inclined to naughtiness, they are nonetheless very endearing and affectionate cats. They enjoy calm moments and cuddles with their owners as much as they love playtime. This temperaent makes them an ideal companion to children.
Health and care
Thanks to various instances of cross-breeding, the American Curl has a large gene pool which protects them from genetic illness.
In general, they are robust cats, and seldom fall ill. Regular vaccines and a good diet should be sufficient to keep your American Curl in good shape.
The short-haired American Curl requires little looking after. They have little undercoat, and so only need regular brushing.
For the long-haired American Curl, a daily combing is recommended, particularly when the cat is malting. This prevents knots forming in its coat.
It's important to pay careful attention to the cat's ears, which must be cleaned regularly with a baby-wipe.