American Curl Longhair Cat Breed

These affectionate cats are best-known for their remarkable ears that curl out and back in a very elegant arc, giving them a distinct alert look. This unique trait also gives them a happy, cheerful appearance that brings joy to everyone as well. American Curls are a medium-sized ball of happiness with a beautiful face and body.

American Curls have a very glamorous look, accentuated by their gracefully arched ears. This makes them gain followers and fans worldwide. They boast a perky and alert expression that is adored not only by cat fanciers around the world but cat lovers as well.

Because their curled ears are a result of a natural genetic mutation, it is said that these cats were designed exclusively by Mother Nature. Their ears curl naturally like that of a Lynx, with their long tufts fanning outward, emphasising their swept-back appearance. These traits add to the American Curl’s overall sophistication, dynamic and elegant presence.

What cat owners love about American Curls is that they shower their families with affection by patting their human companion’s face, giving soft head bumps and nuzzles. They are intelligent and inquisitive. So, expect your cat to follow you around because they love to be a part of everything you do. They also take a significant amount of time exploring their surroundings or playing games.

American Curls enjoy spending quality time with their human companion and their families. Because of their curious nature, they love participating in everything that is happening in the household. Spend time and talk to your American Curl; they would love that!

Don’t worry; they are not noisy felines and only “talk” when you engage them. They might make gentle “cooing” sounds to get your attention, or simply pat you for attention. While they appear to be very calm and relaxed, American Curls are very playful and best known as the “Peter Pan” of the cat world as they keep their kitten-like playfulness until well into adulthood.

Make sure to exercise your American Curl daily. Invest in cat trees and indoor perches as they enjoy climbing and jumping. Due to their playfulness and intelligence, you can easily train them to play a game of fetch. You can teach them simple commands, and they love being rewarded for a job well done.

Adored by cat lovers worldwide, American Curls are becoming one of the top choices of families with children and other pets because they can quickly adapt to new environments. They can also be a great companion for the elderly due to their devoted and affectionate nature. 

American Curl Longhair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

Breed Information

Size:
Medium
Height:
23-30 cm
Weight:
2.3-4.5 kg
Life Span:
12-18+ years
Temperament:
Social, Playful, Intelligent, Curious, Loving
Coat:
Long
Colours:
Various
Energy Level:
High
Registration:
TICA, CFA, FIFe
Country of Origin:
United States of America
American Curl Longhair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws
  • Grooming: Twice a Week 6/10
  • Shedding: Medium 6/10
  • Hypoallergenic: Low 2/10
  • Activity Level: High 10/10
  • Playfulness: High 10/10
  • Friendliness to other pets: High 10/10
  • Friendliness to children: High 10/10
  • Affection towards it’s owners: High 10/10
  • Vocality: Low 2/10
  • Intelligence: High 10/10
  • Independence: Medium 6/10

History

Their story began on a hot sunny day in Lakewood, California, in June 1981. When Mr. Joe and Mrs. Grace Ruga found a stray black kitten with a long-haired smooth coat and a unique pair of ears on their doorstep. They were so endeared by its traits they decided to take the kitten and name it Shulamith. Little did they know that Shulamith would be the foundation of all American Curls.

In December 1981, Shulamith had her first set of kittens in which two of her four kittens had the same curly ears as hers. This started a worldwide discussion on the genetics of rare ears. In 1983, Cat fanciers began developing selective breeding programs to retain this particular gene and develop a cat breed based on it. The unique American Curls were then presented to the cat fancy to showcase them as a new addition to the feline world.

A renowned English feline geneticist named Roy Robinson worked with breeders and helped him analyse data from 383 kittens from 81 litters. Mr. Robinson established that this ear-curling gene was unique and it was an autosomal dominant gene. It means that any cat with even one copy of this gene will display this unique trait. In 1989, he stated in the Journal of Heredity that he had discovered no defects in any of the cats he crossed and analysed. This made the foundation of a new and healthy cat breed.

While American Curls are fully accepted in the United States, these cats are rarely seen in the United Kingdom. Currently, they are not recognized by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) and cannot be showcased in any GCCF shows. They fear that the ear curling gene may cause health problems for the breed.

American Curls can be seen in many other countries such as Russia, Spain, France and Japan. They can also be seen showcased at The International Cat Association, and the Federation Internationale Feline cat shows. Currently, there are only a number of American Curl breeders in the UK which makes this cat breed relatively rare. 

American Curl Longhair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

Appearance

American Curl Longhair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

You will know an American Curl when you see one. They have very distinctive shaped ears, and their presence will genuinely put a smile not only on your face but on your heart as well. While their ear-curling characteristic is their unique trait, interestingly, American Curl kittens are all born with straight ears.

They start to curl back into a rosebud position when they are three to five days old. They gradually unfold until they reach their final shape at about sixteen weeks old. The degree of the curl differs, ranging from almost straight to an arc of 90 to 180 degrees.

American Curls come in two coat lengths: shorthair and longhair. They also come in an array of colours. The Long Haired American Curls have a silky, flat-flying coat with minimal undercoat. That’s why it is very unlikely for their coats to mat or tangle. They also have a pretty plumed tail to match their long coat.

These stunning cats are medium-sized with rounded heads, large muzzles and very noticeable whisker pads. They boast an alert, perky and sophisticated look with an open and sweet expression. 

Personality

American Curls are energetic, affectionate and curious cat companions. They are known to be exceptionally people-oriented, which they will prove by gently patting you to get attention. They can frequently be seen always around their human companion, whether they are relaxing or sleeping.

These affectionate cats are very people-oriented. They are loyal and loving companions. They adjust remarkably quickly to new situations, and to children and other pets. American Curls are often described to have a very dog-like demeanour as their attentiveness to their human companion is outstanding.

They are not very vocal compared to other cat breeds. But they can be heard making soft trill-like cooing sounds to express themselves. And because these playful cats retain their kitten-like personality throughout adulthood, they are coined as the “Peter Pan” in the feline world.

They are calm, curious, intelligent and attentive feline companions. Moreover, they are very devoted to their families and follow family members around the house to “assist” whatever they are doing. When they are tired, American Curls will find the nearest lap to snuggle into and spend more time with their human companion. 

American Curl Longhair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

Trainability

American Curl Longhair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

Because they are naturally curious,smart, and love interacting with their human companion, American Curls will happily jump at any chance to learn new tricks. You can train your American Curl with basic commands and even play a game of fetch.

Use their favourite toys and a reward system to encourage your American Curl to be attentive at every training session. Make sure to be consistent when you train your cat. They are active cats; that’s why they need regular mental stimulation to be fully content and happy.

Like other cat breeds, when they are properly socialised and trained at an early age, they will blossom into a well-mannered and well-rounded feline companion perfect for your family. 

Coat & Care

While American Curls have a long, silky coat, they have little undercoat. That’s why their coat rarely mats or tangles. Twice weekly brushing or combing may be sufficient to keep their long coats healthy and beautiful, but some may require three brushing sessions a week. Try running the comb or brush backwards through their coat, as it will help remove any dead hair that has accumulated. These beautiful cats shed all year round. Bathing is not necessary unless they are dirty or muddy.

Train your American Curl kittens by using a very soft brush initially to get them used to regular grooming. By using a soft brush, it will not pull their long, fine hair or hurt their very young skin. Remember about the reward system? Always encourage their good behaviour by giving them small treats and kibbles when they behave during every grooming session. Once they get used to being groomed, you can upgrade your tools and routine to a more appropriate brush for their coat needs.

To keep your American Curl’s teeth healthy and free from any tooth and gum diseases, brush their teeth once a week. You can keep their nails clean by trimming them twice a month or when needed. To keep their eyes clean and free from any infection, you can wipe the corners of their eyes using a clean, soft, moist cloth to remove any discharge. Just make sure to use a different part of the moist cloth for each eye to prevent the risk of spreading any eye infection.

Check your cat’s ears weekly for dirt or any kind of buildup. You can clean them using a fresh cotton ball or soft moistened cloth and a vet-approved ear cleaner. Get your vet’s advice on how to properly clean your cat’s ears to avoid hurting them as this may lead to bleeding and infection. If you notice a foul odour, immediately contact your vet for care and treatment.

Finally, make sure to regularly clean their litter boxes as this cat breed is very specific about their bathroom hygiene. If it is left dirty, debris and dirt might cause their long coat to tangle. Furthermore, they may opt to use other areas in the house to do their business. 

American Curl Longhair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

Health

American Curl Longhair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

Fortunately, American Curls have no known genetic health conditions. This is due to their vast gene pools from their domestic outcross background. However, buying your American Curl from an ethical and registered breeder will increase the likelihood of your cat being healthy. This is because all good breeders run DNA health tests on their cats to minimise the risk of health conditions.

Many American Curls can live from their mid-teens to their senior years. But, one of the main apprehensions of cat owners is the unique shape of their ears. Some American Curls can be born with narrowed ear canals, which can trap wax and make it difficult to clean, increasing their chance of ear infections. Therefore, pay close attention to their ears and report any concerns to your vet. This cartilage defect can also affect the joints elsewhere in the body and lead to degenerative joint disease.

Like other breeds, American Curls need annual vaccination boosters to fight common ailments of enteritis and flu, as well as for Feline Leukaemia, if your cat is allowed to wander outside. 

Children & Other Pets

These intelligent cats are extremely friendly and playful. Because of this, many families with children and other pets choose to bring an American Curl into their home. As a reminder, keep an eye on your children when interacting with an American Curl or any other cat breeds. This is to prevent any accidents that may happen because of mishandling.

Living with other pets such as other cats and cat-friendly dogs is bliss for this cat breed. Because of their easy-to-adapt and easy-going nature, American Curls can live harmoniously with other pets in the same household. But remember that not all cat breeds are the same; always introduce pets gradually and in controlled environments to make sure that they learn to get along well together. 

American Curl Longhair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws
newsletter