Origin: United States
Colour: Any Color
American Curls are a recently discovered American breed with strongly curved ears.
Domestic Breed: A recently discovered American breed with strongly curved ears.
Appearance: This breed is identified by the shape of its ears, which are curled back on themselves, exposing hairy ear-tufts. The ears feel rigid and stiff to the touch. This was a chance mutation, discovered accidentally. It involves a simple dominant gene which will give 50% curly-eared kittens in litters resulting from crosses between curled cats and plain ones. It is quite different from the ear-curling that occurs with the Scottish Fold Cat. The American Curl's ears curl up, while the Scottish Fold's ears fold down.
The kittens are born with straight ears which then curl up tightly within 24-72 hours. Then, during the next four months, the tight curling starts to relax until finally the ears settle into their typical adult, semi-curled condition.
There are both longhaired (the original cats) and (later) shorthaired forms of this breed.
History: This breed first appeared as recently as 1981, in Lakewood, California. In June 1981 John and Grace Ruga found two stray kittens on their doorstep. One of them, a silky, long-haired, black female, stayed with them and they called her 'Shulamith' (not 'Shulasmith', as is sometimes reported). The name means 'black but comely'. The Rugas noticed that she had strangely shaped ears, and decided to keep her. Later that year, on December 12th, she gave birth to a litter of four kittens. Two of these kittens showed the same curled ears as their mother and it was clear that there was a possibility of using these cats as the foundation stock of a new breed.
An acquaintance of the Rugas, Nancy Kestrel, encouraged them to exhibit Shulamith and her two curly-eared kittens in a Cat Show being held at Palm Springs in California in October 1983. This was the first time this new breed had been shown in public. The reaction was favourable and in a matter of only a few years it became an officially registered breed with certain of the American Cat Societies. In 1985, TICA (The International Cat Association) formally recognized it as 'The American Curl' and In 1986 the CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) followed suit.
Although the unusual shape of the ears of this cat does not appear to cause the animal any problems, some critics nevertheless see the curl mutation as a 'deformity' and the breed is not yet universally accepted. It remains a comparatively rare breed. In 1993 it was estimated that, even after 12 years of breeding, there were fewer than 1,000 American Curls in existence.
Personality: Terms used to describe this breed include: mischievous, curious, placid, playful, even-tempered, amusing, lively, whimsical, adaptable, friendly, sturdy, affectionate, intelligent and thieving. They are said to 'think like kittens all their lives'.
Colour Forms: All colours are acceptable in this breed. The foundation stock was black. The following colours are listed by the Cat Fanciers Association in America:
CFA: White; Black; Blue; Red; Cream; Chocolate; Lilac; Chinchilla Silver; Shaded Silver; Chinchilla Golden; Shaded Golden; Shell Cameo; Shaded Cameo; Shell Tortie; Shaded Tortie; Black Smoke; Blue Smoke; Cameo Smoke; Chocolate Smoke; Lavender Smoke; Cream Smoke; Smoke Tortie; Chocolate Tortie Smoke; Blue-Cream Smoke; Classic Tabby Pattern; Mackerel Tabby Pattern; Patched Tabby (Torbie); Spotted Tabby Pattern; Ticked Tabby Pattern; Brown Patched Tabby; Blue Patched Tabby; Silver Patched Tabby; Silver Tabby; Red Tabby; Brown Tabby; Blue Tabby; Cream Tabby; Blue Silver and Cream Silver Tabbies; Chocolate Silver Tabby; Lavender Silver Tabby; Cameo Tabby; Tortie; Calico; Dilute Calico; Blue-cream; Bi-colour; Van Bi-color; Van Calico; Van Dilute Calico; Tabby and White; Seal Point; Chocolate Point; Blue Point; Lilac Point; Lilac-Lynx Point; Lilac-Cream Point; Lilac-Cream Lynx Point; Flame (Red) Point; Cream Point; Cream Lynx Point; Tortie Point; Chocolate -Tortie Point; Chocolate-Tortie Lynx Point; Blue-Cream Point; Chocolate Lynx Point; Seal Lynx Point; Blue Lynx Point; Tortie-Lynx Point; Blue-Cream Lynx Point;
American Curl Cat Club. Address: 100 Westmont Road, Syracuse, NY 13219, USA.
United Society of American Curls. 11691 Kagel Canyon, Lake View Terrace, CA 91342-7422, USA.
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