The history of the American Curl

The history of the American Curl began in the United States in the early 1980s. A couple from California took in a stray black female cat whose ears were very unique: its auricles weren’t curved forwards – as is usually the case with cats – but backwards and upwards instead! And this new look wasn’t the result of some odd breeding practice carried out by humans; instead, it was a special feature that emerged as a result of a natural, spontaneous genetic mutation caused by one of the cat’s dominant genes.

Appearance of the American Curl

What do American Curls look like? This breed achieves its final appearance at the age of two to three years, at which point the growth phase is complete. The American Curl is medium-sized and has a slender, long body – it’s not willowy, but not chubby either. Each part of its body is perfectly balanced, giving it a very elegant appearance. The head of an American Curl is shaped like a wedge, tapering down to the strong chin. The cat’s curved ears point towards the centre of its head and curl upwards in a slight wave towards the back.

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Size of the American Curl

How big are American Curls? With an average shoulder height of 20 to 25 cm and a body length of up to 90 cm – measured from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail – the American Curl is a medium-sized cat. The males are usually somewhat stockier and more compactly built than their female counterparts.

Weight of the American Curl

American Curl females are somewhat more delicate in build. When they’re all grown up, they weigh about 3.0 to 4 kg. The males are a little heavier than the females due to their sturdier bodies: when a male American Curl is hoisted onto the weight determination device, the scale comes in at around 4.0 to 5.0 kg.

Coat of the American Curl

The silky coat of the American Curl feels wonderfully soft to touch. This breed of cats has no uniformity where its coat length is concerned: there are American Curls with short hair and others with semi-long coats. They have hardly any undercoat, which makes grooming quite manageable. In terms of breed standards, small brushes of fur on the ears are considered very chic

Coat colour

Anything goes! The coat of the American Curl comes in all imaginable colour variations. From single-colour to spotted and mackerel, any coat is possible and there aren’t any standards or restrictions. This is due to the colour variation expressed by the domestic cats that were initially crossed with the “progenitors” – that is, the original founders – of the breed.

Coat length

How long is the coat of an American Curl? Cats of this breed have either short coats or semi-long coats. The semi-longhaired cats have a more luxuriant, wavy coat, so their grooming sessions are naturally a little more time-consuming than for American Curls with short coats. But the splendour is worth it, isn’t it?

Coat patterns

American Curls have just as many coat colour variations as they have different patterns. It’s an unbelievable selection that includes spotted, mackerel, brindle, tabby, pointed, calico and tortoise shell. The appearance of the American Curl is equally varied, and no two cats are alike. It’s almost impossible to recognise this cat breed solely on the basis of its predominant colour or coat pattern! Even cat connoisseurs have to look very closely.

Eyes of the American Curl

In the case of some coat patterns, breed standards stipulate blue eyes in the American Curl cat. In all other cases, their eye colours simply adapt: the genetics of the cats that were involved in the mating process determine which eye colour the kittens are born with. They can have yellow, orange, green or blue eyes. This variety also fits perfectly with the American Curl’s overall look. Indeed, nature always has excellent taste when it comes to choosing the best colours!

Special features of the American Curl

At first glance, they look like completely “normal” cats, right? American Curls are similar in build to their fellow felines – if it weren’t for those peculiar ears! Indeed, these cats owe their name to their unusual ears – and the name is pretty much self-explanatory! The upper part of an American Curl’s ears curves backwards in a slight wave. Some American Curls also have plump tufts of hair in and around their ears, which brings out the curly shape of the earlobes quite effectively.

Features of the American Curl

The special feature of the American Curl, namely the curvature of their ears, is a dominant trait passed on from one generation to the next. It’s possible, however, that their offspring also inherit the gene for non-curved ears, which they then pass on when they mate. In that case, the next generation might then, once again, produce kittens with upturned ears. An American Curl with straight ears is called an “American Curl Straight Ear”.  

Character of the American Curl

Solid as a rock: If you’re looking for a perfect family cat with a character that’s not easily upset by anything, then an American Curl is a good choice! They are affectionate cats, not pushy, and they usually get along well with their fellow residents. They are also very playful cats, always ready to jump into the next adventure. This joie de vivre is completely in keeping with the temperament of the American Curl.

Price of the American Curl

When you buy a purebred cat, you can expect it to have very special characteristics, such as a particular appearance or specific character traits that are unique to that breed and ideally can be traced back through generations. The price of an American Curl from a reputable cattery is around €800 to €1,100 depending on the pedigree.

The breeding of American Curls

The mother of all American Curls was christened “Shulamith”by the people who discovered her. Two of her kittens also had curled ears. They were so well-received that American Curls have been bred since 1983. The breed standards are set by the CFA, FiFé, TICA, WCF and WACC. To this day, pure American Curls continue to be mated with one another, but also with domestic cats that best meet the breed standard.

Important information on keeping and caring for American Curls

The coat of an American Curl can be short or semi-long and, consequently, grooming should take place whenever it’s time for a coat change. This breed of cat has very little undercoat, so it’s relatively easy to keep its coat in a well-groomed condition. If you brush your cat weekly and then use a fine comb, they’ll inevitably have a top-notch hairdo!

The American Curl kitten

When American Curl kittens are born, they start out with straight ears. Only after a few days do their ears start to turn. It takes about 120 days for the final iteration of their ears to emerge. And it isn’t until up to three years later that the offspring of the American Curl is completely grown and fully adult. Only then will you finally know what you have!

Typical diseases of the American Curl

Are American Curls susceptible to any specific diseases? As it’s been crossbred for years with many domestic cats, the American Curl is very robust in health, and there are no diseases known to be specific to them. The wavy curve of their ears doesn’t affect this breed health-wise or in terms of hearing either. In other words, these cats can hear just as well as other cats, provided they want to respond to calls….

Life expectancy of the American Curl

How old do American Curl cats get? With an average life expectancy of 12 to 16 years, the American Curl can live quite a long time. Sixteen cat years are the equivalent of 80 human years! Of course, we can’t make any blanket statements about how long a cat will live. It depends on many different factors. Unfortunately, the life cycle of a cat is much shorter than our own. Still, that means we get to enjoy them from the time they’re kittens to the time they reach old age.