American Curl Shorthair Cat Breed

Boasting a very glamorous look and truly unique ears that curl back in a graceful arc, the American Curl has fans all over the world. They boast a happy, perky and alert expression that is endeared by a lot of cat fanciers.

Their ears are considered designed exclusively by Mother Nature as they curl naturally similar to that of Lynx. In addition,their long tufts fan outwards, highlighting their swept-back look, adding to the American Curl’s overall elegance, sophistication and dynamic presence.

American Curls are a medium-sized cat with unique and remarkable ears that curl out and back in an elegant arc, giving them a unique alert appearance. The swept-back ears give them a happy, cheerful expression that swiftly brings a smile to the face of everyone who sees them. Their classy head combined with their beautiful body gives the American Curl an overall stylish, active presence.

They are lovable and curious. American Curls love spending quality time with their families and being involved in their every move. They love attention and chats, but they are not noisy felines. They make a soft “cooing” sound when they talk to their families and gently pat them for attention. American Curls are very playful and are known as the “Peter Pan” of the feline world. This is because they keep their kitten-like playfulness until adulthood.

American Curls love to greet their families with a soft head bump and show their affection by nuzzling and patting against their human companion’s face. They are naturally intelligent and curious. The American Curl spends a substantial amount of time exploring their environment or playing games.

This cat breed enjoys daily exercise and can keep themselves busy with anything they can find around the house. You can invest in indoor perches or cat trees for jumping and climbing. Because of their intelligence and playfulness, you can teach them how to learn a game of fetch, and they will play it all day if they could. When they are tired, they become lap cats where they snuggle with their human companion.

Adored by many, the American Curl is becoming a top choice for families with children and other pets as they adapt quickly to a new environment. 

American Curl Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

Breed Information

23-30 cm
2.3-4.5 kg
Life Span:
12-18+ years
Social, Playful, Intelligent, Curious, Loving
Energy Level:
Country of Origin:
United States of America
American Curl Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws
  • Grooming: Twice a Week 6/10
  • Shedding: Low 2/10
  • 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


The American Curl story began in June 1981 on a hot sunny day in Lakewood, California. It is when Grace and Joe Ruga found a stray black kitten with a long-haired smooth coat and rare ears on their doorstep. The loving kitten swiftly endeared herself to the Ruga's and was named Shulamith. She was the foundation of all American Curls. Shulamith had her first litter of kittens in December 1981, and two of her four kittens had the same curly ears as her.

This started a worldwide discussion on the genetics of the rare ears. In 1983, cat fanciers began developing selective breeding programs to preserve this gene and develop a cat breed based on it. Simultaneously, these unique cats were presented to the cat fancy to showcase this unique new addition to the cat world.

Roy Robinson, a renowned English feline geneticist, worked with the cat breeders and analysed the data on 383 kittens from 81 litters. He established that the ear-curling gene was unique and that it was an autosomal dominant gene.

This means that any cat with even one copy of the gene will have the unique trait. He reported, in an article published in the December 1989 issue of the Journal of Heredity, that he had discovered no defects in any of the crosses that he had analysed, and this made the foundation for a new and healthy cat breed.

American Curls are fully recognized in the United States, but they are rarely seen in the United Kingdom as they are not recognized by the GCCF or the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy. That’s why they cannot be shown at GCCF shows. This is because the effect of the American Curl gene on their ears is feared to have health problems for the breed.

Although not recognized in the UK, American Curls can be seen in other countries including France, Japan, Spain and Russia. You can see this beautiful breed in both TICA and FIFE cat shows. Currently, there are only a few American Curl breeders in the United Kingdom, so the chance of seeing one is quite rare. 

American Curl Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws


American Curl Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

American Curls are stunning cats with distinctively shaped ears. But even with straight ears, they have a sweet expression that many cat lovers adore.

These adorable cats come in longhair and shorthair and a variety of colours. They can sport coats with exotic shades, such as silver patched tabby, lilac lynx point and chocolate tortoiseshell smoke. 

The longhaired variety has a silky, flat-lying coat with a little undercoat, so it’s unlikely to mat or tangle, and they have a pretty plumed tail. While their curled ears are the prominent feature of this beautiful cat breed, other American Curl cats' main characteristics are their large walnut-shaped eyes and their medium-sized rectangular physique.

American Curls are all born with straight ears. Their ears start to curl back into a rosebud position when they are three to five days old, lightly unfolding like a rose petal until it reaches its final shape at about sixteen weeks. The degree of curl in their ear can differ significantly, ranging from nearly straight to an arc of 90-180 degrees.

American Curls are well-balanced, medium-sized felines with rounded heads, large muzzles and distinct whisker pads. They have a sophisticated, alert appearance with a sweet, open expression and extraordinary ears. 


American Curls are inquisitive, energetic and affectionate feline companions. They are exceptionally people-oriented, and they will pat you to get your attention. They want to be with their human companion all the time, whether they are sleeping or curled on a lap to watch their favourite TV show. They love children and adapt quickly to other pets and new environments.

As mentioned, American Curls are very people-oriented. They are devoted, loving soulmates. They can adjust remarkably fast to children, other pets, and new situations. Their attentiveness to their human companion makes them very dog-like.

They follow their owners around to not to miss anything, so expect their “assistance” with all your chores. And when they are tired or want to relax, they will find the nearest lap to snuggle into and spend some quality time with their human companion.

American Curls are calm, intelligent feline companions. When introduced to their new surroundings or home, they are attentive and curious but with respect to the earlier pet dwellers. They are not very talkative as they express their curiosity and intelligence through soft trill-like cooing sounds. And because American Curls retain their kitten-like personality well through adulthood, they are known in the cat world as the “Peter Pan”. 

American Curl Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws


American Curl Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

In training, because American Curls are naturally intelligent and curious, they will giddily jump at the opportunity to learn new tricks and interact with their human companion. They can follow basic commands and even play a game of fetch.

To encourage your American Curl to engage in your training session, use their favourite toys and reward them during training and play sessions. Consistency is the key for this cat breed. They may look kitten-like all their lives, but these cats are intelligent. They need mental stimulation to be happy and pleased.

When American Curls are appropriately socialised and trained during their kittenhood, they will thrive on being a well-rounded and well-mannered feline companion. 

Coat & Care

Brushing and combing once or twice a week is enough to keep the short haired American Curl looking great and beautiful. You can try running the brush or comb backwards through the American Curl Shorthair’s coat. This can help to eliminate any dead hair which has accumulated. American Curl Shorthairs shed year-round and tend to shed more than the longhair counterpart. Bathing is hardly necessary unless they are muddy or dirty.

Start training your American Curl kitten by using a very soft brush to get them used to regular brushing. Using a soft brush won’t pull their fine hair or hurt their very young skin. Don’t forget to give them a small reward after every grooming session to motivate them to behave while they are being brushed. If your regular coat care is not causing any problem for you and your cat, upgrade your brush to a more appropriate one for their coat needs.

For their dental health, weekly brushing is sufficient to keep your American Curl’s teeth healthy and free from any tooth and gum illnesses. Keep their nails clean by cleaning them twice a month or when needed. To keep their eyes clean and free from eye infections, wipe the corners with a clean, soft, moist cloth to eliminate any discharge. Just keep in mind to use a separate part of the moist cloth for each eye to avoid the risk of any eye infection.

Every week check your cat’s ears for dirt, wax or any kind of buildup. Wipe them out using a clean cotton ball or soft damp cloth and a vet-approved ear cleaner. If you notice a foul odour coming out of their ears, immediately contact your vet for care and treatment.

Lastly, make sure to frequently check that their litter boxes are clean as this cat breed is very particular about their bathroom hygiene. If it is left dirty, debris and dirt might get caught in their coat. Moreover, they may opt to use other areas in the house to do their business if the litter box is dirty. 

American Curl Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws


American Curl Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

American Curl cats, fortunately, have no known hereditary health conditions because of their vast gene pools from their domestic outcross background. A lot of these cats live from their mid-teens to their senior years

Still, buying your American Curl from an ethical and registered breeder is essential for ensuring your new kitty will remain free from health concerns. This is because all good breeders run DNA health tests on their cats to minimise the risk of health conditions. If you’re considering buying from a breeder who refuses to do this, this is likely a red flag. 

One of the main concerns of cat owners is the delicate nature of their unique ears. One thing you should be aware of is that some American Curls can be born with narrowed ear canals. If the ear canals are narrow, they can trap wax, which can lead to ear infections. Therefore, pay close attention to their ears and report any concerns to your vet. Also note that this cartilage defect can affect more than just the ears; it can affect other joints in the body, leading to degenerative joint disease.

Similar to other breeds, American Curls need yearly vaccination boosters to fight common feline ailments of enteritis and flu, as well as against Feline Leukaemia, if they are allowed to wander outside. 

Children & Other Pets

American Curls are intelligent cats. They are extremely friendly, gentle and playful and they develop deep bonds with their families. Because of this, they are perfect for families with children and the elderly. Just remember to supervise interaction between your cat and children to avoid any accidents like tail pulling, or skin scratching due to mishandling.

American Curls enjoy the companionship of other animals and endure dogs well. Due to their social and easy-going nature, they can live peacefully and harmoniously with other cats and cat-friendly dogs living under the same roof. But as always, it is recommended to introduce pets slowly for the first time and in controlled environments to ensure that they learn to get along well together. 

American Curl Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws