American curl cat is a mysterious breed of cats with ears curled back from their face toward their scull back.
Through the passed 10 years these cats have gained popularity and succeeded to overcome a spread opinion of some conservative breeders who considered their ears phenomenon a constitutional vice, deformity and another freak of nature.
Nevertheless, these impressive ears isn’t the only feature of this unique breed. Kittens and adult cats are very communicative, they have almost dog-like temper and they are extremely loyal.
These cats can get used to any life circumstances and they never lose their courage and playfulness.
History of the breed
History of these amazing American cats began in California, as it often happens. In 1981 a small and very communicative cat with funny curled ears came to the house of ordinary married couple Joe and Grace Rugas.
They decided to feed the animal which has impressed them with its appearance and natural playfulness. Of course, the couple decided to keep the cat as a pet.
She was given a name Sulamith after Biblical character – it was King Solomon’s beloved lady name. In winter 1981 Sulamith gave her first posterity: being 10 days old two of ten kittens have already had gracefully curled ears.
All American curls (as the breed was called later) are Sulamith’s off-springs and her first kittens are considered to be the breed standard.
Several years later these cats became rather spread in California, the papers wrote about them. So, felinologists, experts, breeders became interested in the unusual cats.
However, they weren’t amazed by their beauty, first of all they wanted to know if the cats were some kind of hybrids and if their ears were the sign of artificial mutation and genetic deviation.
But after studying 81 posterity of cats with curled ears British specialist on cat genetics Roy Robinson came to conclusion that this mutation (the curled ears) is completely natural.
The gene responsible for this is a dominant autosomal gene, – in short it means that any cat that has such a gene will have naturally curled ears. Let’s note that Scottish folds is a completely different case of genetic changes and their ears have different shape.
In the late 80-th of the last century there was confirmed a strict standard for the breed. According to this, there are two kinds of American curs that have been officially acknowledged – short-furred and long-furred cats. The coloring of the cats may vary.
Nowadays, young but popular breed is actively developing.
There were the times when curl cats were mated with cats of almost all breeds, but now it’s prohibited to save the breed purity.
Description of the breed
Cats of this breed grow slowly and they reach their adult size only at about 2-3 years old. Their weight is about 2.5-5 kg and lifespan is up to 15 years.
These cats can be both short-furred and long-furred with very different coloring. The fur is silky-like, straight with small underfur and it doesn’t need any special care.
Although the cat’s ears attract all the attention, they also have very speaking eyes and average-sized strong body.
All kittens have ordinary ears when they are born. But when they are 3-5 days old the ears start curling and get their complete curled shape when the kittens are 16 weeks old.
The ears are curled differently and you won’t find two cats with their ears curled in the same way. To keep the breed healthy and to avoid inbreeding cats are mated with some other ordinary cats.
Nevertheless, almost half of posterity usually has these branded ears. If two curls were mated, this number raises to 100%. The gene responsible for the ears shape changes cartilaginous tissue and it becomes solid, so it required gentle care not to cause any harm.
Cats are average-sized animals, with rounded head and wide face. Both short-furred and long-furred cats are very beautiful with intelligent and attentive expression on their face.
American curls are quick-witted, they are easily trained and get used walking outside on a dog-lead. To train them use the approach that is used with dogs – for each correctly performed command prize them. They love bringing balls and toys back to their owner.
These cats don’t suffer from panic attacks or abrupt mood changes, so they are usually positive. They are very socialized and it means that their main knowledge and skills they learn from the human. These cats appreciate a lot communication with their owner.
These pets are really cute, with balanced temper and intelligent. They like being among people, they are very tender and eagerly response to caress.
Cats suffer from loneliness, so try not to leave the pet alone for a long time. These cats adapt well, so they easily take any trips and even moving to another flat, since they get attached to the person, not to the place.
These unusual cats are always calm and positive, which is used in feline-therapy – curls quite often help lonely people to deal with depression.
Also, the cats are incredibly cleany and they don’t tend to make any mess in the house.
It seems that these cats with curled ears were made for communication. Surprisingly, they don’t even get scared of strangers.
The cats like taking part in all activities around the house, but they never become too intrusive, since they feel slight changes in their owner’s mood. Many American curls owners say that their pets bring them newspapers, play with their kids.
Despite their calm temper, they love noisy parties and guests, since they need an audience to see their tricks. Therefore, it’s not a coincidence that these cats are called “clown-cats” in America.
They have huge need in socialization. American curl cat gets on well with other cats and their kind of dog-like temper makes it easy to get along with dogs and even to befriend them.
This makes an additional advantage of getting this cat as a pet, because if you work long hours your pet will gladly communicate with other pets in the house while you are absent.
The cats can be easily trained to obey basic commands and to use litterbox etc. when they are kittens yet. While training the pet its owner has to encourage and prize it, to give something tasty to follow up a success.
Don’t punish your pet, since it’d be quite enough to express your feelings in words of indignation and the cat will understand this and even try to make it up to you.
Don’t apply any aggressive actions to these cats, since it will just upset the cat and can even do harm to its psychology.
American curls tend to take training process as a game, which makes it more difficult to teach them, so try to do talk with the pet in a soft but commanding voice while training.
Walks and physical loads
American curls are rather muscled and physically strong. They keep fit by playing all day long due to their hunting instinct. This cat doesn’t need regular walks, it can live in the backyard.
The best thing is to walk with the cat once or twice in two weeks. If you are going to walk in some crowded places use a dog-lead to avoid any troubles, since like all cats this one is very curious.
Try to take the walks on a grass or soft ground, avoid doing it on sidewalks. American curl will be very grateful is sometimes you take him to a park or garden, because they love seeing new things and traveling.
Cats care is rather simple for both short-furred and long-furred species, since they almost don’t have any underfur. Short-furred cats have to be combed out once a week with a metal comb with rounded prong. Long-furred species should be combed out twice a week.
The hardest part of basic grooming of cats is their nails treatment, because they grow very fast. 2-3 mm of their nails length should be cut off every week with sharp pet nail trimmer.
Brush their teeth once in 2-3 days with a special brush, that is put on a finger and use special tooth paste for cats. Your pet has to be taught to do since since his early days.
Ears care isn’t very complicated, too. Clean them when they look dirty. To do this use some napkins, cotton pads and special ears cleaner bought in a pet store.
And remember that American curl’s ears differ from the others, they aren’t soft and flexible, so be careful not to do any harm.
The majority of breeders recommend to feed curl with qualitative dry feed or canned feed. The main thing about these cats’ diet is a balance, so don’t give them any food from your meals. Avoid feeding the cat with milk or with too fat feed.
American curl and your apartment
Since these cats adapt rather well, they will feel comfortable in any type and size of flat and they won’t be afraid of the sounds of cars in the street.
They will find a place to plau even in a small apartment. The owner has to take care of his pet’s safety (move away wires and other things dangerous to the cat, make sure that the cat won’t fall from the open window or balcony).
Sleeping place of curl cat should be located a meter high – this isn’t too high, but at the same time the cat will keep fit while getting to its place.
You can put ordinary sleeping mat there or buy some gorgeous cat’s house with a ladder and a roof. The main thing is that it shouldn’t be too cold, hot, dry or humid where the cat stays. Of course, you should buy a scratching mat and put it somewhere near the pet’s sleeping place.
Also, you’ll need a number of toys, so the pet could entertain itself while you are away – these cats love colorful cubes and small rubber balls.
Sergey is a founder and author of Meethepet.com. He’s been fond of aquarium husbandry since his early childhood.
His favorite aquariums are biotopes (Amazon River), with Echinodorus and Angelfish. However, through the years he’s had experience of keeping almost all types of freshwater fish and shrimps.