American Curl Cat

The American Curl is well-known for its uniquely shaped ears that curl towards the back of the skull. This gives the breed almost a comical surprised look. The American Curl Cat is an affectionate, fun, and playful breed that stays an eternal child at heart and likes to play its entire life.
American Curl Cat

American Curl Cat Characteristics (Quick Facts)

Size: Medium. Average body.

Intelligence: Medium.

Exercise Needs: Needs decent exercise.

Ability to Adapt: High. Adjusts quickly.

Shedding: Low shedding.

Average Lifespan: From 12-16 years.

Price: From $1000 to $2000.

Weight: From 5-12 lbs.

Playfulness: Through the roof!

Social Skills: Great with children & other pets.

Need for Grooming: Twice a week.

Health: Very good. Minor health issues.

Hypoallergenic?: No.

The American Curl Cat is one of the youngest cat breeds, famous for its uniquely shaped ears. Their ears curl back from the face towards the back of the skull.

This trademark is the result of spontaneous genetic mutation. In show rings, it is preferred that the cat’s curl arch is in between 90 and 180 degrees. However, some cats are born with almost straight ears. But that does not diminish their overall beauty.

This medium-sized breed comes in every color and pattern and is the first cat breed which standard permits with both long and short coat.

This is a gentle and mild tempered breed that seeks attention and enjoys spending time with children. This is an easy to maintain and moderately active cat that stays an eternal child and enjoys playing even when older.

Where Did American Curl Cat Breed Originate?

In 1981, in Lakewood California, a stray black long-haired female kitten with strangely shaped ears found its way to the home of Joe and Grace Ruga. The Rugas were mesmerized by the unique looks of black-haired beauty and named her Shulamith, which means “black and comely”.

After six months Shulamith produced a litter of four. Two of four kittens had the same curly ears as their mother. One of those two kittens, a black long-haired female, named Mercedes was acquired by Nancy Kiester.

In 1983 Kiester and Rugas exhibited Shulamith and Mercedes at a cat show in Palm Springs attracting huge attention from other cat fanciers.

Genetic testing was done by a famous feline geneticist Roy Robertson who determined that the signature trait is the result of a dominant gene. Thereafter, selective breeding programs began and the standard for the new breed have been established.

The newly developed breed was named American Curl and registered by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1986. The International Cat Association followed suit and recognized the breed in 1987.

The interesting fact about the American Curl is that it is the first single breed with two coat types recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association.

What Does the American Curl Cat Look Like?

It is a medium-sized cat with a strong, muscularly built long body and surprisingly small head. Their trademark, the ears, are highly set and curl backward giving the breed almost surprised look.

The kittens are born with straight ears that start to curl back within 4 or 5 days. It takes 16 weeks for the ears to gain their permanent curled shape.

The Curls can have a short or a long silky flat-lying coat in any color and expressive walnut-shaped eyes.

As per size standards, the American Curl must be a medium-sized breed with a well-balanced body that is semi-foreign type. Curls must be elegant and moderately muscled, slender rather than massive in build.

This is a slow maturing breed, meaning that Curls won’t reach their full size until they are 2 to 3 years old.

American Curl Cat Colors

No specific colors or patterns are associated with the American Curl. Thus, every cat is different when it comes to their coat color.

Most common colors include white, black, blue, cream, red, chocolate, lilac, brown, buttercream, gold, and tortoiseshell.

When it comes to patterns, these cats can be found in bi-colors, points, shades, stripes, calico, smoke, tabby, solids, and tortoiseshell.

American Curl Cat Personality Traits

This is a funny, playful, intelligent and people loving breed. Unlike some other cats, it enjoys playing with children and seeks their attention.

The American Curls are known for retaining their playful nature throughout their long lifespans. These cats form a strong attachment to their owners and like following them around without being demanding.

They are not an overly talkative breed but will always try to seek attention and food by head-butting or by rubbing against their owner’s feet.

Being friendly and social cats, they get along with everyone. They are also known to happily greet guests and their owners by the front door.

Since this is a smart and playful breed, cat toys are an excellent choice to keep them occupied. This is a lively and inquisitive breed that knows how to open cabinets.

The American Curl has a deep interest in its surroundings. Once these cats get tired from exploring, they are more than happy to jump in their owner’s lap and spend the rest of the day napping.


Curls have dog-like temperaments and are very attentive to the needs of their owners. Curls are extremely people-oriented, but they aren’t ‘in your face’ type of cats.

The joyous Curl will observe everything you are doing and try to help in any way it can. However, they are smart enough to figure when their assistance isn’t needed and will be content just to keep you company and be close by.

American Curl Cat Behavior

Being extremely social, Curls enjoy always having company. They don’t discriminate and will be equally happy spending time with people, children, cats or even dogs.

However, if left alone for longer periods of time, they can develop separation anxiety. This can result in excessive meowing, going outside the litter box, excessive self-grooming, or loss of appetite.

To prevent these issues from arising, consider your schedule and the presence of other pets before you bring a Curl into your home.

If you are away from home for a better part of the day you might need to reconsider getting an American Curl as a pet.

Are American Curl Cats Adaptable to New Surroundings?

The American Curl is highly adaptable breed. So, it reacts very well to new situations and surroundings.

This trait, combined with their joyous nature makes them great pets for people of all ages and families with children. This breed also adjusts well to living with other cats and dogs and treats them with respect.

This is a moderately active breed that requires some exercise to stay in perfect shape. The American Curl loves to play fetch.

This breed likes to jump and climb. It enjoys interacting and playing with its owner.

Does It Get Along with Children and Other Pets?

The American Curl loves to play and to spend time with children. This is a unique trait in the cat world.

Their social and funny nature makes them a great choice for homes with older children who know how to play and treat a cat with respect.

But it is advisable to supervise toddlers and younger children. You don’t want them to accidentally pull a cat by its ears or tail!

This breed has a tolerant and mild nature and gets along well with other household pets. Once introduced to other pets, the Curl will give them time to adjust to the new situation.

This breed likes dogs and will behave friendly towards them if properly introduced. The American Curl Cat stays the eternal child and enjoys playing her whole life.

Curls seek the company of children and will spend hours playing with them.

General Health and Potential Risks

Thanks to the diversity in its bloodline, this breed has an excellent health and no known genetic health problems.

However, due to uniquely shaped ears, this breed is known to develop ear problems because of a narrower ear canal.

  • Ear Infections: The narrower ear canals causes more wax to build up which results in frequent ear infections. It is important that owners pay special care and clean the cat’s ears.
  • Obesity: This breed can become obese if not fed properly. Stick to weight control food to prevent obesity. Talk with your vet so he can design a proper meal plan for your cat.

American Curl Cat Lifespan

This is a very healthy breed, with an average lifespan of 15 years. Since they don’t have any genetic health problems, some cats live for 20 years.

Because of the unique structure of their ears, this breed is prone to wax buildup.

Grooming Needs

Their coat is silky and soft to the touch and can be short or semi-long. With both variations, the coat lies close to the body and is easy to maintain.

The short-haired cats need to be groomed once a week with a curry brush. Longhaired Curls need to be groomed two to three times a week.

This practice will remove loose hair and keep the coat soft and tangle free.

American Curl Cat Shedding

Both longhaired and shorthaired American Curls have a little undercoat and shed minimally. As mentioned above, short-haired Curls need to be groomed less frequently than the long-haired Curls.

You can expect some loose hair during the shedding season. However, the shedding can be minimized with regular grooming. To remove mats and tangles use combs with long and short comb teeth.

In this section, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about this breed. If you don’t find the answer to what you are looking for, please leave us a comment and we’ll add it to this list.

How Much is American Curl Cat Price?

The price of American Curls depends on several factors, like type, markings, and bloodlines. Purebred Curls cost approximately $1000 or more than $2000 when obtained from experienced and well-known breeders.

Pet quality Curls that have almost straight ears cost less. But show quality American Curls cost significantly more.

How Big Do American Curl Cats Get?

As with all other cat breeds, males of this breed are larger and weigh from 7-12 pounds. Females are slightly smaller and weigh from 5-8 pounds but can gain weight easily.

Are American Curl Cats Hypoallergenic?

Some cat breeds produce fewer Fel d1 protein which is the main allergen. Still, there isn’t a completely hypoallergenic cat breed.

So far there is no evidence that the American Curl Cats produce fewer Fel d1 protein. So, if you suffer from allergies you might have to rethink about getting a Curl as a pet.

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