Known as the ‘Peter Pan’ of cat breeds, American Curl cats retain their playful, frolicking, kitten like qualities throughout their life, making them the perfect pet for an owner looking for a fun loving, sweet, and personable companion. The American Curl is easily recognised due to a pair of cutely curled back ears that lend it a permanent, slightly surprised look.
The American Curl breed features a softly rounded head, intelligent, walnut-shaped eyes, and a rectangular body. Most cats of this breed weigh up to 4.5kg (10 pounds), making them an average sized feline. You can spot an American Curl cat right away by its curled ears, which feature adorable, fluffy tufts of fur sprouting outward, giving the cats a distinct look. Ear curls vary from tight to loose and folded.
Coat patterns and colours are many and varied, and regardless of the length, there is very little undercoat to either. Coats are soft and silky, and fur varies in length from short and soft to long and fluffy. The long-haired version features head adornments that would be quite at home on the fashion runway, with a long, plumed tail completing the look.
American Curl cats appeared in 1981, when a stray cat with curled ears showed up on a Californian couple’s doorstep. The couple immediately fell in love with the unusual and beautiful long-haired black cat and decided to take her in and breed her. To eliminate any diseases or defects, they bred her with a non-pedigreed domestic cat, which led to breeding through selective programmes in 1983. The breed was formally recognised by the International Cat Association in 1987, and has been popular ever since.
Pet owners who enjoy long hours of interaction with their pets will be extremely happy when they introduce an American Curl into their home. These cats are much more like a soul mate than a pet, as they form an inseparable bond with their owners. They are also great with kids and other pets, and they seem to know when to create a bit of space between existing pets until they get used to the new kid on the block.
American Curl cats rarely spectate and like to get involved in the household, so you may get some extra assistance vacuuming or making dinner. They don’t talk much, but when they do, you’ll hear cute little chirping sounds. American Curls love to play with their favourite toys and never quite seem to outgrow their playful kitten phase. Some American Curl owners say the cats act more like dogs than cats – they love to play fetch.
Did You Know?
The American Curl’s ears are straight at birth. After three to five days, you’ll notice the curl starting to set in with a tightly wound rosebud formation. The ears experience a gradual unfurling over the next few weeks, until permanently setting into their shape at about 14-16 weeks.
Caring for Your American Curl Cat
Overall, the breed is healthy, and the only problems you may experience come from their narrow ear canals, so to avoid buildup, keep their ears clean. Use a cotton bud (Q-Tip) soaked with a non-oily, alcohol-free cleanser to clean the outer furrows of each ear, working up and away from the ear canal opening. Try not to pull on the delicate cartilage. You can also use a 50/50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water.
If you have a long-haired American Curl, comb it once a week to keep it from tangling. Short-haired Curls can also be combed to eliminate shedding.
American Curls prefer to stay indoors, but if you do allow your Curl outside, supervise closely to prevent them wandering off. The breed is naturally curious and may take a jaunt to say hello to the neighbours.
If you have an American Curl cat in your life, please share your experiences below.
Image: Nickolas Titkov via Flickr