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Norwich Bulletin - 6/28/2009

The Lovable American Curl

In 1981 an affectionate stray cat showed up at the home of Grace Ruga of Lakewood, California. Grace took the cat into her home and was quite amazed at her unusually curled ears. She named the stray Shulamith after the “black and comely princess” in the Old Testament. Unknown to Grace, Shulamith was already pregnant when she found her way into her new home.

Two of her four kittens had the same curly ears as their mother. Grace contacted a geneticist about the curly eared kitten and discovered that the unusual ear shape was a spontaneous mutation that was genetically dominant and cats possessing these ears were likely to pass it on to some or all of their offspring. And so, the American Curl breed was born.

In 1983 Ruga and other cat fanciers that were intrigued by the curly eared trait and the youthful personality of these cats, began a selective breeding process. A standard was established to describe the ideal representative of the breed. Their efforts paid off and in 1987 The International Cat Association granted championship status to the breed, with CFA following in 1993.

The American Curl is described as a well-balanced cat of moderate size. Females weigh about six to eight pounds with males weighing up to ten. The body is rectangular anda the tail is long and flexible, equal to the cat’s body length. They have medium sized, rounded feet. They come in every color and pattern that there is in the cat world from solid black to lynx point and in both short and long hair. The long haired variety has a full, plumed tail and long ear tufts.

Their hair is fine and silky and lies flat against their body. And, of course, their most distinctive feature is its uniquely shaped curled ears. The standard describes the ears as medium sized, in proportion to the head, ears curling gracefully but not touching the back of the cat’s head or ear. The tips are rounded and flexible.

The American Curl has a wonderful, unique all around personality. They are happy cats and treat everything as a new adventure. They love their humans and want to be with them all the time and share everything with them. They like to be “helpful” and enjoy life to the fullest. They are fun, intelligent cats who can always find something to do. They can open doors if their person is on the wrong side of a closed door, or turn on the lights when they are bored and feeling they are not getting enough attention. These felines know how to demand that you notice them and they are very affectionate.

If you are looking for one of those cats that will just sit on the bed and look pretty, it’s not an American Curl you are looking for. Although they are what might be called medium-active, this breed needs a lot of interactional play and attention. They are good with children because they are like children themselves, playful and attention seeking (and a little whiney at times). So the Curl really makes an ideal family pet. But rest assured, the American Curl also enjoys curling up on your lap for a quick nap or snuggling next to you in your bed.

American Curls are easy to care for and shed very little. Other than regular combing and an occasional bath, there is not much to do for their care. The only thing that is recommended is checking their ears and cleaning them at least monthly. Some Curls have really waxy build up and the ears can get yeast infections if not kept cleaned out.

The Curl has a really unique look and a charming personality. We have a straight eared curl at home and he is almost twelve years old. Tweedle has a great personality and a very winsome look about hi. We think he is a perfect pet!

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