American Curl

American Curl breed

Breed standard: CFA, TICA, ACFA/CAA | Size: Medium | Average Lifespan: 13+ years | Personality: Curious, friendly, and affectionate | Coat: Short and semi-long | Origin: United States.

The American Curl is famous for its curled ears. It is a relatively new breed that was not officially recognized until 1985. Its breeding started after a black cat with curved ears was adopted by a Californian couple.

The origins of the American Curl

The American Curl originated in the United States. The breeding of this breed started in the 1980s with a black cat with curled ears and yellow eyes. The cat’s name was Shulamith. Shalumith was bred with her kittens and alley cats. This cat gave birth to a litter of four kittens, two of which had curved ears. This particularity immediately caught the attention of Grace and Joe Ruga, Shalumith’s owners. This characteristic allowed them to start a new breed.

The couple contacted Jean Grimm, a Cat Fanciers’ Association cat show judge, after an article about the Scottish fold was published. Shulamith and her kittens were shown at a cat show in Palm Springs. The little family was a great success. The breed standard was then established according to the characteristics of the cat.

The International Cat Association, also known as the TICA, officially recognized the American Curl in 1985. A year later, the breed was provisionally accepted by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) in 1986. It wasn’t until 1991 that the CFA officially recognized the breed. In 2002, the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) recognized the American Curl. Even though Shulamith had semi-long hair, some of the kittens from her first litter were born with short hair. Therefore, the American Curl was the first cat breed recognized by the CFA to have two coat lengths recognized.

American Curl kitten
The American Curl’s curled ears make the breed stand out among other breeds.

The physical characteristics of the American Curl

The American Curl is a medium-sized with a well-proportioned body. It weighs between 3 and 7 kg. The cat’s triangular head is longer than it is wide. Its straight nose is slightly curved and connects to the top of the skull, its muzzle is neither pointed nor square.


The breed is known for its curled ears. They are medium-sized with a degree of curvature of around 90° to 180°. The ears are wide at the base and curve towards the back. Their points are rounded and placed at the corners of the head. They are also bushy at the top. The hairs inside of their ears are straight.

The little ones are born with straight ears. They do not start to arch until the 4th or 7th day. Then, they take their final shape around the 16th week or later.


The American Curl is also known for its walnut-shaped eyes, set wide apart and of medium size. They are slanted and their color is completely different from their coat.


This cat has toned muscles and a balanced bone structure. The paws and feet are round and of medium size. As for the tail, it is thick at the base and tapers towards the tip. The length is equal to that of the body.


Semi-longhair American Curls have a fine, silky coat that lies close to the body. Their tail is feathery and rather full. The fur on the tail is the same length as the fur on the rest of their body. The undercoat, however, is not very abundant. As for the shorthair cats, they have a uniform and silky coat with little undercoat.

American Curl lying down
The American Curl is particularly friendly towards others.

The personality of the American Curl

The American Curl is particularly naughty cat. Its vivacity and curiosity sometimes make this cat a little mischievous. In addition, this breed is joyful, friendly and affectionate. It can get very attached to its owners and loves to cuddle. It’s important that this cat exercises daily. It is recommended to offer them daily interactive and autonomous play sessions to fulfill their needs for exercise and stimulation. When it comes to their diet, it must good quality and adapted to their daily life and activity level. Additionally, this breed adapts very quickly to new environments thanks to its impressive cognitive abilities. The American Curl is neither wary nor fearful. Instead, this breed is very curious.

What is this cat’s behavior like?

The American Curl is very social with others. As an active and energetic cat breed, the breed has a great need for exercise. In addition, it is considered a true little explorer. It likes to discover new horizons. With that being said, this cat will always return home.

A sociable cat

The American Curl is a friendly cat that enjoys the company of other animals and humans.

With dogs

The American Curl can live very well with dogs. However, the two should be introduced to each other gradually. Also, a living environment with multiple different places to climb is necessary to facilitate cohabitation.

With other cats

Living with other cats does not bother the American Curl in any way. Nevertheless, it is important to know that several factors can influence their relationship. Among the most important are the way they were introduced and the living environment.

With the children

As this cat breed is particularly playful and energetic, the American Curl thrives in active families with children. However, it is essential to always keep an eye on little ones, especially in the beginning.

With adults

The American Curl can also be suitable for quiet, middle-aged people. They just need to have time to play with the breed and keep it entertained.

American Curl with blue eyes
Semi-longhair American Curls have a fine, silky coat.

Caring for the American Curl

This cat do not need any particular maintenance. It is enough to brush it regularly to keep its hair soft and free of knots. Whether it be the short-haired American Curl or the semi-longhaired American Curl, this cat sheds very little. This is especially so because its undercoat is not very thick. With that being said, it is important to remember to keep an eye on its ears and to clean the inside once a week. We do not recommend using cotton swabs. Instead, it’s best to use a soft dampended cloth or cotton pad with a small amount of lotion on it.


The average lifespan of the American Curl is 13 to 16 years. It is a robust cat and does not become overweight if it maintains its physical activities and a follows a proper diet. This cat is rarely ill. This is thanks to the genetic diversity of the breed. However, it is necessary to do an annual medical check-up. Some cats may suffer from the same health issues as other cats.

Did you know?

  • The American Curl is often called the Peter Pan of cats because it keeps its kitten-like energy and personality.
  • This cat has a certain talent for opening doors.
  • Despite its energetic side, this cat meows very little. In addition, its meow is very soft.

The American Curl at a glance

Size: 30 to 35 cm (≈ 11.8 to 13.8).

Weight: 3 to 5 kg (≈ 6.6 to 11 lbs) for females. 4 to 7 kg (≈ 8.8 to 15.4 lbs) for males.

Health: This cat is healthy overall and does not have any hereditary diseases. However, it’s important to check and clean their ears regularly.

Average Lifespan: 13 to 16 years old.

Is the American Curl good with children? The American Curl is a particularly playful and energetic cat. He will be happy in an active family with children.