American Curl Shorthair Cat Breed

Boasting a very glamorous look and truly unique ears that curl back in a very graceful arc, the American Curl has fans worldwide. 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. It curls naturally similar to Lynx with long tufts fanning outward, highlighting their swept-back look as it adds to the American Curl’s overall elegance, sophistication, and dynamic presence.

American Curls are a medium-sized cats 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. The classy head combined with the beautiful body provides the American Curl with a stylish, active presence.

They are lovable and curious. American Curls love spending quality time with their families and participating in their every move in the household. They love attention and being chatted to, 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 frequently 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. If they are tired, they can be lap cat where they can snuggle with their human companion.

Adored by many, American Curls is becoming the choice of 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:
12-16+ 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


In June 1981, the American Curl story began 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 their gene and to 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 analyzed 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 show the unique trait. In an article published in the December 1989 issue of the Journal of Heredity, he reported that he had discovered no defects in any of the crosses that he had analyzed, which made the foundation for a new and healthy cat breed.

American Curls are fully recognized in the United States; they are rarely seen in the United Kingdom as the GCCF does not yet recognize them. This is because the effect of the American Curl gene on their ears is feared to have further health problems to the breed.

While it is 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. The chances of seeing one is quite rare. 

American Curl Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws


American Curl Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

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

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

Their coat is a silky, flat-lying coat with a little undercoat. So, there is a little bit of shedding, and their coat needs some grooming. The longhaired variety has 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 for three to five days, 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 feline with a rounded head, a large muzzle 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. T lap to watch their favourite TV show. They love children and adapt greatly 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. That’s why they are said to be very dog-like in their attentiveness to their human companion as they follow them around to not to miss anything. 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”.

When introduced to their new surroundings or home, they are attentive and curious but with respect to the earlier pet dwellers. American Curls are calm, intelligent feline companions. They are dedicated to their human companion and would follow them around from room to room. Expect their “assistance” with all your chores. And when they are tired or wants to relax, they will find the nearest lap to snuggle to and spend some quality time with their human companion. 

American Curl Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws


American Curl Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

It is easy to train your American Curls, because they are naturally intelligent and curious. They will giddily jump at the opportunity to learn new tricks and interact with their human companion. Additionally, they can follow basic commands and can 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 fully happy and pleased.

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

Coat & Care

American Curl’s coat can either be short or long. And fortunately, both of these lengths are easy to care for and maintain. Brushing and combing weekly is enough to keep the shorthaired 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 kittens 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 every after the grooming session to inspire 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 for their coat needs.

For their dental health, weekly brushing is sufficient to keep your American Curl’s teeth healthy and away 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 away from any eye infection, 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 noticed a foul odour coming out of their ears, immediately contact your vet for care and treatment.

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

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. However, one of the main concerns of cat owners is the delicate nature of their unique ears. It is still early to conclude that there is any related health problem about their breed.

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

Children & Other Pets

American Curls are intelligent cats. They are extremely friendly, gentle and playful cats who 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 a child to avoid any accidents or tail pulling or skin scratching that may occur 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