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The unique American Curl Longhair is known for its unusual curled back ears, luscious long coat, and happy, playful nature. The breed developed in California in the 1980s, where stray cats with these swept-back ears began appearing and reproducing. This natural occurrence led breeders to develop selective breeding programs to conserve the gene that causes the ear mutation. As a result, the CFA accepted the breed for registration in 1986.
Today, the American Curl Longhair can be found in various countries but remains a rare breed, particularly outside the USA. They are gorgeous, both in looks and personality, with adorable, playful natures and sweet dispositions.
Meet the American Curl Longhair
American Curl Longhair cats are small to medium-sized. Females are typically smaller, reaching a weight of 5 to 8 pounds, and males are slighter larger, between 7 to 10 pounds. They have an oblong body with a silky, long coat that lies flat to the body and has minimal undercoating. Moreover, longhaired Curls boast a stunning plumed tail.
Interestingly, American Curls are born with straight ears, but they start curling quickly, usually within two to five days. By four months, their ears will have curled to their maximum and will feel hard and stiff at the base while flexible at the tips. The amount of curling varies; some will only develop a very slight curl, whereas others can have an arc between 90 and 180 degrees. However, they never sweep back entirely so that the tips touch the back of the head.
If two curly eared cats breed together, 100% of the litter will have this unique ear trait. However, American Curl Longhair breeders outcross cats without curly ears to keep the breed healthy and genetically diverse. This means not every American Curl in a litter will develop swept-back ears, but typically over 50% do.
The gene that causes the ear curl affects the cartilage but does not cause them pain. However, they are prone to ear infections, so you need to clean their ears regularly. It's vital to take extreme care when cleaning or handling an American Curl's ears to avoid breaking the cartilage.
The American Curl Longhair has a rounded face and large, round eyes that, combined with their distinct ears, give them a charming and gentle appearance. Their fur can be a wide range of colours and patterns, including Tortoiseshell, Calico, and Tabby.
The temperament of an American Curl Longhair
The American Curl Longhair has a playful, curious, and adventurous nature that they maintain throughout their entire lives. Because of this, they are given the nickname "The Peter Pan Cat", as they don't want to grow up.
They are always looking for something new to explore and go crazy over new cardboard boxes or toys. With this breed, you'll need a wide selection of toys, including some challenging puzzles, and it's best to rotate them to keep them on their toes. They also love to climb, so high surfaces in their environment are ideal.
When they're not running and playing, your American Curl will be showing you affection with cuddles and purring. Despite their high energy, they are incredibly loving towards their owners and make very snuggly cats. They prefer to be around their humans but are independent enough to do fine on their own, too. They also love to communicate with their owners vocally but use soft chirps rather than loud meows.
10 reasons to add an American Curl Longhair to your family
- They are unique - Cat lovers are intrigued by the American Curl because of its unique ears that set them apart from all other breeds.
- They are a natural and healthy breed - Because they occur naturally and maintain a diverse genetic pool, they are hardy cats that can live up to 20 years.
- Their long coats are sheen and soft - The American Curl Longhair has a long, elegant-looking coat with a bushy tail that feels soft and silky.
- They are effortless to groom - What's more, their coats are surprisingly low maintenance. It does not matt or tangle much nor shed often, so you only need to brush them twice a week.
- They are forever kittens - American Curls are the Peter Pans of the feline world. They will play like kittens well into adulthood.
- They are affectionate and cuddly - American Curls love to curl up on their owners' laps or sleep beside them at night.
- They don't mind staying home alone - Despite their loyalty, American Curls don't act needy or get stressed if they have to spend the day alone. This independent streak makes them ideal for working professionals.
- They adapt well to new environments - They also take changes in their stride and can settle into any home, from a small apartment to a large house.
- They will welcome a furry friend - American Curl cats are friendly towards people and other animals. They will adjust to living with another feline or canine and seek to become buddies with them.
- They have gorgeous, expressive eyes - Of course, the Curl's ears get all the attention. However, their large walnut-shaped eyes also add to their gentle and loving expression.
Best homes for an American Curl Longhair
The American Curl Longhair is an adaptable and easy-going breed that quickly adjusts and fits into any home. They are super affectionate but relatively independent, so they are usually happy to stay alone if their human works during the day. However, while being alone may not stress them out, be sure to give them plenty of attention when you are home to remind them of your love.
American Curls are friendly, and at ease around other cats and dogs, so they usually do well in multi-pet homes. However, for the cat's health, it's best that they are not in a house with small children. This is because young kids may try to play with their ears and move them to unnatural positions, which will lead to breaking the ear cartilage.