American Curl Kittens For Sale

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With Ears that Naturally Curl Backward,
This Endearing Cat Looks Perpetually Surprised!

American Curl Kittens For Sale

The American Curl – both longhair and shorthair – is a breed of cat characterized by its very distinctive ears, which curl back away from the face toward the center of the back of the head. The breed originated fairly recently in Lakewood, California, as the result of a natural spontaneous feline mutation. The swept-back ears give the cat an expression of surprise enhanced by the animal’s genuinely amorous temperament. This breed should not be confused with the Scottish Fold breed, which also has unusual ears, but curling in the opposite direction: down, rather than up and back.

American Curls are well-balanced, medium-sized cats with a rounded head, a substantial muzzle, and distinct whisker pads. They have an elegant, alert countenance with a sweet, open demeanor. While both longhair and shorthair versions have soft silky coats, the stunningly beautiful longhaired American Curl also has a highly fashionable, generously plumed tail.

The American Curl story began on a hot day in June of 1981, when Joe and Grace Ruga found two stray kittens with long-haired silky coats and unusual ears on their doorstep. One of the kittens subsequently disappeared, but the remaining charming, affectionate black kitten quickly found her way into the Rugas’ hearts. She was named Shulamith, the cat to which all American Curls can be traced back. While the first litters produced were longhairs, the Ruga family was also the first to breed the American Curl Shorthair, using domestic cats in their breeding program.

In December of 1981, Shulamith had her first litter of kittens and two of the four kittens had the same curly ears as their mother—which instigated a worldwide discussion on the genetics of the unusual ears. By 1983, cat fanciers were developing selective breeding programs to conserve this special gene and to develop a species based upon it. At the same time, the unique cats were presented to cat fanciers to showcase this rare and unique new addition to the already diversified feline world.

Roy Robinson, a renowned English feline geneticist, worked with the breeders and analyzed the data on 383 kittens from 81 litters. He confirmed that the ear-curling gene was unique and "autosomal" – a dominant gene – which means that any cat with even just one "copy" of the gene will show the trait. In an article published in the December 1989 issue of the "Journal of Heredity," he reported that he had found no genetic defects in any of the crosses that he had analyzed, and his findings established the foundation for a new and very healthy breed.

While some new cat breeds have had a very difficult time gaining acceptance by cat fanciers, the American Curl has purred its way into the hearts of judges and cat lovers in an amazingly short period of time. In 1987 the longhaired American Curl achieved championship status from The International Cat Association (TICA), only six years after the breed’s 1981 inception. In 1993, the American Curl became the first breed admitted to the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) Championship Class with both longhair and shorthair divisions. Today, the American Curl, while still an uncommon breed, is accepted by all major cat registries worldwide.

All American Curls are born with straight ears. They start to curl back into a rosebud position at three to five days, gradually unfolding until they reach their final shape and position at about sixteen weeks. The degree of curl in the ear can vary enormously, ranging from almost straight to a more pronounced arc. After four months, their ears will not curl any further, and should be stiff to the touch. A pet-quality American Curl may have almost straight ears, but show-cats must have ears that curl in an arc of between 90 and 180 degrees. A greater angle is preferable, but cats will be disqualified if their ears touch the backs of their skulls. American Curls are available in both longhair and shorthair versions, with great color and pattern diversity, and both have soft, silky coats with minimal undercoat. This means that the Curl hardly sheds at all and requires very little grooming.

Since the degree of curl of the ear can change dramatically over a short period, kittens are usually restricted from purchase until they are at least four months old. By that time, the curl of the ear has settled into the form it will carry throughout the rest of the cat's life. The American Curl’s ears require frequent cleaning to prevent infection, and need gentle handling to prevent damage to the delicate ear cartilage.

A medium-sized cat (five to ten pounds), the American Curl does not reach maturity until two to three years of age. Since this was a breed with a fairly small gene pool, to insure sufficient genetic diversity, outcrossing to non-pedigreed domestic cats was allowed to continue until January of 2010. This resulted in strong cats with no particular tendency toward genetic defects. However, this also means that conformation and personality can vary greatly from bloodline to bloodline, depending upon the cats that were used in the outcrossing part of the breeding program. (As a point of interest, at least 50% of the kittens from earlier outcrossings developed curled ears. 100% of the kittens in a Curl-to- Curl breeding will have curled ears, since the gene is dominant.)

Although its unique ears dominate most cat fanciers’ immediate attention, this is a cat with a multitude of desirable traits. Dramatically endearing eyes implore your devotion as these cats entertain you with adorable antics and playful enthusiasm. Remaining youthfully energetic well into adulthood, this is a cat with whom your children will find unlimited delight.

While some may describe the Curl’s behavior to be typical of a puppy who follows you around, it’s hard to argue with its feline idiosyncracies, characterized by amusing attempts to position itself centerstage in front of the TV or in your lap on top of the newspaper you were trying to read.

Rather than loudly vocalizing their thoughts, American Curls express themselves in more subtle ways by demanding your attention as they interject themselves into your usual routine. With ears that resemble those of a lynx and a heart-melting innocence in their behavior, this cat’s presence cannot be ignored!

Certainly no fleeting trend of the feline fashion world, the American Curl has been one of the most remarkable discoveries to intrigue cat lovers in quite some time.

Barron’s Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds, J. Anne Helgren