If you are thinking about welcoming a new pet to the family, the American Curl Cat might be the most suitable option. With ears curling backward, the Curl cat boasts unique and adorable features. It is also one of the sweetest feline renowned for their playful and intellectual personality.
However, there are many factors to consider for this new member of your family. Besides security and comfort, the cats have several needs that should be fulfilled by their owner for healthy coexisting.
In this guide, we have covered all the basic information about the Curl cat and what you can expect from adopting the furry feline.
So, without further delay, let’s dive into the Ultimate Guide to Curl cats.
Chapter 1 – Introduction to Curl Cats
One of the latest cat breeds, the American Curl is born and bred in the US – as the name implies. Dubbed as the Peter Pan of the feline world, the Curl cat possesses an active, kitten-like personality during its whole lifespan – similar to the fictional character that never grew up.
In fact, male and female curl cats are both equally active and can keep the whole family amused for hours.
The American Curl cat’s origins can be traced back to 1981, when a stray, longhaired black cat with curled ears turned up at the home of Ruga’sin Lakewood, California. Joe and Grace Ruga were fascinated by the cat’s curled ears and decided to welcome her in their home.
Based on her markings, the Ruga’s named her Shulamith after the ‘black and comely’ princess present in the Old Testament book, the Song of Soloman.
The Shulamith gave birth to a litter of four kittens by an unknown father. The kittens all sported her trademark ears and as they say, a new breed was born!
The rise of a new cat breed
In 1983, Grace and her sister exhibited Shulamith and her offspring at various cat shows. The response was amazing and cat fanciers all over the country became so intrigued by the ‘purrfect’ pedigree that breeding programs began to develop instantly.
The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized the American Curl cat in 1986. Within a few years, the cat managed to garner championship status by the TICA as well.
In 1993, the American Curl became the first breed to be admitted to the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) Championship Class in both longhair and shorthair divisions.
Despite being a new breed of cat, the Curl cat ranks 25th out of 37 by the CFA and is one of the most sought-after breeds of feline all over the world.
The Curl cat has a well-proportioned and slender build. It is a medium-sized cat and does not reach puberty until the age of 2-3 years.
The average weight of both—the male and female curl cat is between 5 and 10 pounds.
The average lifespan of a cat depends on several factors including their diet and lifestyle. When provided with adequate care and comfort, a Curl cat can live up to 13 years.
The Curl cat has a soft, silky, and light fur that lacks an undercoat. Their plume-like tails (reminiscent to a feather boa) are long while their body is generally well muscled.
Due to outcrossing during breeding, the Curl can be found in many colors, and in both – long and short haired varieties. In fact, the CFA reports a total of 69 different possible color combinations of the Curl. They also report accepting any new color combination introduced.
The Curl Cat’s ears
The Curl cat’s ears are its most distinctive features. Curling back at the tip, the ears are moderately large with wide and open tips.
However, experts claim that the ears should not touch the skull and it is ideal for them to curl toward each other at about 90-degree angle – similar to a crescent moon.
Interestingly, Curl kittens are born with straight ears. Within a week, their ears start curling back. It is not until the feline reaches four months of age that the ears take on a permanent shape, ranging from straight to a 90-180 degree angle.
Because of this reason, I’d recommend purchasing a Curl kitten of at least four months of age, especially if you are interested in keeping them for exhibition purposes.
Does the curled ear affect the cat’s hearing?
No, not at all!
Many cat lovers wonder if their curly ear friends have difficulty in hearing due to the shape of their ear. But surprisingly the same does not affect their ability to hear.
In fact, the Curl’s ear is made of cartilage – just like the Lynx cat.This enhances her regal, show-like appearance and personality. Similar to other cats, the Curl’s ears also swivel forward when the cat is in active mode.
Are American Curls indoor-only cats?
Although they can survive the outside environment well enough, it is a good idea to keep the American Curl cat indoors only to protect it from diseases spread by other cats in the neighborhood. Cats are also vulnerable to several dangers of the outside world including attacks by other animals and being hit by a car.
Besides being graceful creatures, American Curl cats are also an expensive breed. For this reason, the Curl’s who wander outside are also in danger of being stolen by someone.
Top 5 food products for American Curl cats
Here, I’ve curated a list of my top 5 food products for American Curl cats. All 5 of these products have been used by me and I’ve received a positive response from my cats for all 5 of these.
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness dry cat food: This is my number 1 choice for cat food. It contains a delicious mix of protein that my cats love.
- Purina One Indoor Advantage dry cat food: If you want your cat to have a lush coat, then this is the food product to go for. It contains Omega-6 which gives my cat’s fur a perfect glow.
- Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers wet cat food: If there is one cat food that my cats DROOL for, it’s this one. It’s available in a variety of flavors.
- Purina Friskies Shreds wet cat food: If your cat enjoys eating shreds, then they would love this cat food from Friskies.
- Purina Friskies Classic Paté wet cat food: A lot of cats love the paté texture of this cat food. Its overall nutrition value is satisfactory as well.
Chapter 2 – Care for American Curl Cats
The American Curl cat is well recognized for its optimal health. There are no known genetic defects of this breed while physical ailments are also rare. Even the Curl kittens have strong immunity and respond well when provided with adequate housing conditions.
Above all, Curl cats are ahardy breed of felines. This simply means that they require minimal maintenance by their owners.
Here are some helpful tips to keep your Curl groomed and fit.
Grooming the fur
As we mentioned above, the Curl cats have two types of fur – short and long. Both types of varieties have a smooth and silky texture.
A shorthaired Curl requires less grooming than the longhaired ones. In fact, a shorthaired Curl can easily get away with weekly combing while the longhaired types will need brushing at least twice weekly.
To groom the fur, simply run the comb back through the cat’s hair. This will remove any dead hair present and will keep the fur from tangling and matting.
If your American Curl is anything like mine, it would hate getting its hair combed. Mine used to jump out of my lap every time I held a hairbrush. That’s when I bought this soft cat hairbrush. It took my cat a couple of times to realize that this new hairbrush isn’t as hard and hurtful as the old one and I can finally groom it properly.
Do Curl Cats shed a lot?
Since they do not have a thick undercoat, the Curl cats are not prone to shedding like other breeds. But do keep in mind that the shorthaired cats tend to shed all year round while the longhaired variety sheds more than normal during the summer months.
Being low-shedding cats, the Curls will not cause a severe allergic reaction to the members of your family. However, if you or any member of your family is susceptible to cat allergies, we suggest skipping the Curl cats and opting for some other variety.
Sphynx (the cat which is wrongly considered to be hairless—it has very less hair), Oriental short hair, and the Cornish Rex are just some of the cat breeds that are suitable for the individuals with allergies.
Although a bath is rarely necessary for a Curl cat, you can give occasional water showers using natural soaps and shampoos – developed specifically for cats.
Caring for the Curl’s signature ears
Make sure you regularly check the trademark ears of your Curl for infection and dust.
If you notice wax building up and dirt in your pet’s ear, simply take a cotton ball or a soft washcloth and damp it with cat ear cleaners widely available in the market. Use that to clean the inner area of your cat’s ear but ensure gentleness to avoid discomfort to your pet.
In all circumstances, avoid using cotton buds to clean your cat’s ears as they can potentially harm the inner area of the ear.
On the other hand, if you notice redness, foul odor, or any other signs of infection, contact your veterinarian immediately for a thorough checkup.
What about nails?
Overgrown nails of your cat can cause pain to the Curl and harm to furniture and people. Make sure to cut the nails every two weeks using a cat nail clipper or trimmer.
But don’t cut the nails when the cat is in active mode. Gently clip them when it is sleeping or relaxed. And don’t forget to give your cat a treat after trimming her nails if she behaves!
In order to combat my cat’s urge to scratch the sofa, I bought her this scratching post. Although I’m still training her to not scratch anywhere but that post, it’s really helping my cat curb her scratching urge.
Cats are generally more prone to periodontal diseases which can be prevented by adopting healthy brushing techniques and regular dental checkups.
If possible, ensure regular brushing on your cat’s teeth but weekly is vital. Get the cat accustomed to the idea of brushing by touching her gums using your fingers or a cotton bud. Introduce cat-formulated toothpaste and let her get used to the taste for a few days.
Get a toothbrush, specifically developed for cats and gently start massaging your cat’s gums and teeth with its help. Different varieties of cat toothbrushes are available including this one that you can wear on your fingertips for comfortable cleaning.
Take her to the vet if the Curl cat has:
- Strong mouth odor
- Red or swollen gums
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty in chewing food
- Excessive drooling
- Visible ulcers on gums and tongue
To keep your cat’s eyes bright and healthy, maintain the habit of regularly checking the Curl’s eyes for unusual discharge, cloudiness, or change in color.
Ensure cleanliness by periodically wiping the cat’s eye with a damp cloth. Make sure to use a separate area of cloth on both eyes to avoid spreading of infection and bacteria.
Skin problems are one of the most common reasons for visiting the vet for pet owners.
If you find your cat excessively scratching its fur, having hair loss, redness, or swelling; chances are that there may be some vulnerability in your cat’s health.
Plan a visit to your veterinarian when you notice any sign of a problem in your Curl cat. Despite being ahale and hearty type of cat, no cat is free from potential parasites, fleas, and other inherited diseases.
Bringing your cat to a veterinarian
With any cat, it is important to get an initial checkup for any potential ailment and required immunizations before bringing it home. Moreover, before welcoming a Curl cat in your family, have a thorough discussion with the vet about optimal home care, food, training, and preventive measures to ensure maximum comfort.
Make sure you take the Curl Cat to a veterinarian at least once a week for regular checkups and keep updated with vaccinations, deworming methods, and parasite treatments.
Additionally, take your cat to the vet immediately if it exhibits signs of illness or has an injury to any area of the body.
Chapter 3: Feeding American Curl Cats
The American Curl Cat has no special dietary requirements and can be fed all types of cat food that meets the standards defined by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Selecting food for your Curl
Most cats have similar dietary needs. Here is a general guideline of the features you should look for in cat food for your Curls.
- Protein: Meat should constitute a major part of your Curl’s diet. As a general rule of thumb, the adult Curl requires at least 26% of protein while the kittens should be given a minimum of 30%.
- Carbs: A cat’s digestive system is not developed in a way to tolerate plant-based food items so make sure the food you select for your Curl is low in carbohydrates.
- Fats: Your cat needs a minimum of 9% fat in their daily diet. Choosing food that is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids enhance the skin of your Curl, keep the coat healthy, and your cat vital.
Additionally, the commercial food products that you select for your cat should be free from fillers and additives.
Cats Enjoy Meat
Although Curl Cats eat almost everything – they do enjoy meat products. In fact, experts claim“Cats really thrive when part of their diet comes from animal sources.”
Protein is the main energy source of cats and just like any other cats – should be fed a variety of protein-rich meat items including:
- White herring
Other food items
You should also give your cat fresh fruits and vegetables as they are natural sources of nutrients and assist in digestion as well.
Dry vs Wet food
Pet nutritionists recommend feeding your Curl cat a combination of commercial dry and wet food items.
Just like us humans, they may get bored eating the same food over and over again. It is also not uncommon to see a Curl cat go on hunger strike if their taste buds are not satisfied with the food you are offering.
|Dry Food||Wet or Canned Food|
|Does not spoil easily||Can be spoil if left out for too long|
|Easy to store||Requires refrigeration after opening|
|Contains 6 – 10 percent moisture||Contains up to 78% moisture|
|Less filling||More filling|
|Fewer choices||More variety of ingredients|
|May have fewer proteins and more carbohydrates||Has more proteins and fewer carbohydrates|
|Better for cat’s teeth||But easily chewable|
Test your Cat’s Preference
The Curl prefers food not just by its taste but also by its sight and smell.
When introducing new food item to your American Curl cat, test out in small portions at first. If your cat eats it without any hassle, add it to your daily feeding routine. But in the case it doesn’t eat it heartily – be prepared to offer an alternative.
Moreover, some Curl cats may be allergic to some ingredients and they can cause health problems in your cat. Therefore, make sure to check the label of all new food items and keep an eye on your feline as well for any potential allergic reactions after you introduce a new ingredient in your cat’s diet.
How much to feed?
Ideally, a fixed feeding routine of meals, snacks, and treats should be drafted out with the help of your veterinarian.
As a general rule of thumb, you can keep dry food out for your cat at all times. When it comes to wet food products, space them out by eight to twelve hours. However, the amount to food usually depends on your cat’s activity level, weight, and age.
Are Curl Cats at risk of obesity?
Obesity is a serious issue for cats. To maintain your cat’s weight, Limit your cat’s carbohydrate content and look for food items with calorie-controlling ingredients.
Additionally, don’t go overboard with treats for your Curl. Yes, some treats, especially to appreciate good behavior is essential but giving them frequently throughout the day can keep the cat away from their core meals and cause weight gain as well.
Don’t Forget Water
Make sure that you provide your Curl cat with a fresh supply of water daily.
Do Cats require special vitamins?
This question comes in every pet owners mind at some point. Whether or not to feed your Curl cat special vitamins and probiotics strictly depend on your vet’s recommendation.
Apparently, most pet owners feed their cats better than they themselves. Do you take the average five to seven servings of fruit and vegetable daily? What about low-fat food?
But you do go out of the way to source different food products for your feline friend – Right!
The requirement of vitamins and supplements depends solely on the health and activity level of your cat. Talk to your pet’s medical practitioner about any special dietary requirement your Curl might have to ensure she gets the best nutrition required for long, healthy life.
Chapter 4: Training American Curl Cats
Contrary to the popular belief that cats are not as easily trained as dogs – the Curl cats are quite trainable. However, dogs are purely motivated by a simple pat on the back or a scratch behind the ear whilst the cats enhance their positive behavior with treats and other edible items.
Before training the Curl cats for entertainment purpose, you would want to litter train your cat to avoid emergencies on your carpet and flooring. Since most American Curl cats are housed indoors, it is essential that you introduce the kitten to its litter box as soon as you welcome it to your home.
Luckily, the intelligent Curl cat will use the litter box as per its natural instinct and will not require much coaxing from you. However, here are some tips to get you started.
- To start the potty training process, invest in a quality ‘litter box.’ Widely available at your local pet store and online shops, the litter boxes come in a variety of sizes along with covered and uncovered style. When purchasing a litter box, always consider the size and height of your cat. Additionally, most cats prefer an uncovered box but you can test out different types to see which one your Curl prefers.
- While you are considering different types of boxes for your cat, take a look at the variety of cat litter available for Curl cats. Just like the boxes, try out different cat litter to assess the type your cat likes the most.
- Place the cat litter box in a viewable place that is not very high in traffic. Although, cats like to relieve themselves in private, make sure the box is not in a very isolated place. Since Curl cats are highly social able, they might become stressed in a lonely environment.
- Gently place your cat in her ‘toilet seat’ after every meal and after naps as well.Like us humans, cats thrive when given a routine. Maintaining a proper bathroom routine will get your Curl in the habit fast and eliminate messes for you.
- Keep the litter box clean. Curl cats are very particular about bathroom hygiene so make sure you clean the litter box frequently.
Training to walk on a dog lead
American Curl cats are quick-witted and can easily be trained to walk on a dog lead. In fact, using a leash during walks outdoors is essential for a Curl as they are a curious creature and you would not want them to wander far away from you.
However, making the transition might not be easy especially since the Curl’s are quite active and natural explorers.
If your cat does not seem comfortable with the idea of a harness, take things slow and don’t force to put on the leash.
- Find the perfect harness for your cat by trying out a few styles that securely fit around your Curl. Never use a collar and leash alone as they may potentially harm your cat’s neck and windpipe.
- Get your cat accustomed to the idea of a harness by keeping it in sight for a few days.
- Put the harness on your cat at home gently and offer lots of treat to reinforce positive association.
- Allow the cat to roam around the house in the harness for a few days. Observe your Curl as she moves around to check that the harness does not come off.
- Once your cat seems comfortable with the harness, attach the leash and practice walking with it inside the home.
- Once you and your kitten are familiar with the idea of a harness and leash, go for your first walk in a semi-private space that lacks too much crowd and traffic.
More training tips
You can teach your American Curl to do many things like sit on command, shake hands, and even fetch a ball. However, the cats are playful in nature and exhibiting aggressive behavior might make them upset and wary of you.
When training your cat, ensure that you provide positive enforcement by talking in soft, but commanding voice.
Give your cat a treat as a reward to encourage positive behavior and always remember: Never punish your cat or scold them for not doing as you command.
Chapter 5: Temperament of American Curl Cats
The American Curl is a playful and sociable cat with positive nature. They have a temper similar to dogs and appreciate communication from their owners. Besides giving them enough time to interact with you, make sure to give them a lot of stimulating cat toys and playtime to satisfy their activity level.
The active kitties are not the type to snooze all day. In fact, if they are not provided with a playful environment, the Curls get bored fast.
Check your online retailers or local pet store. A variety of mind stimulating pet toys are available to satisfy your pet’s curiosity.
The cats also love to jump, fetch and climb. Recently, I bought this cat tower for my American Curls and they’ve never touched a toy after that. All they do is climb this tower and play around with each other.
Fondness for their owners
Curls just like any cat have a loyalty to their owners. Out of both – curiosity and affection, the Curl will follow you around the house and may even run to the door to greet you when you come home. It is also not surprising for her to greet you or her loved ones with a head-butt – a perfect pet for those who are in search of a cuddle-buddy.
Naturally, the Curls love to play with their owners.Set aside a specific time each day where you and your feline can enjoy some interactive play sessions or even a quiet bonding time. Keep specific toys to be used in playtime between you two and continue to rotate them so your pet does not get bored.
Don’t keep them alone!
As we mentioned above, Curl cats are people-animals and will prefer being around human beings rather than alone. In fact, we suggest not keeping your Curl alone at home for long periods of time or your cat will become stressed and develop separation anxiety.
Mischievous acts of your American Curl
The American Curls are known to be mischievous. One of her special talents is to open doorknobs and handles of doors and cabinets.
Yes, you read that right!
The Curl is very well capable of opening doors and cabinets so be careful of what you keep in draws within her reach.
An alarm clock
Interestingly, the Curl’s are a great alternative to alarm clocks and take their jobs more seriously than our regular phone alarms. Simply keep an alarm clock beside your Curl and as soon as it rings – the Curl will wake up too and make sure you are up as well by smothering your face with kisses, licks, and pets.
Is the American Curl vocal?
Although she is energetic in personality, the Curl is a very quiet type of feline and doesn’t make much noise. If the need arises to vocalize her thoughts, she will coo softly to get your attention or express her feelings with her eyes only.
Interaction with children
Because of their playful nature, the Curl is an excellent breed to keep for families with children. They like taking part in the activities going on at home and will not mind the extra attention showered on kids. In fact, the Curls can be a purrfect first playmate for your children.
Interaction with other animals
The Curl cats are adaptable and easily adjust to new situations without much encouragement from their owners. Besides being friendly with humans, the Curls are also not hostile or territorial towards other animals present in their habitat.
Due to their highly friendly nature, they easily get along with other cats and cat-friendly dogs in the house.
The American Curl’s price
The American Curl’s price depends on various factors including whether the kitten you are purchasing is show worthy or just an affectionate family pet. However, in most cases, the price ranges vastly from $800 to $2000.
Be cautious of breeders who approach you to sell litters at a cheap price. Since breeding Curl is a time-consuming and expensive task for the breeders, it is unlikely that you will be able to purchase the cat for a low cost.
Is the American Curl cat right for me?
If you are looking for an affectionate cat who keeps you enthralled with itsmischievous acts all day –then say Hello to the American Curl cat. The cat enjoys social activities, joining their owners in daily activities, and simply remaining active all day.
Besides the proper food and basic necessities, the Curl cat thrives well when given a home that provides them with a lot of social interaction and attention.
If you also enjoy a cat that doesn’t require much maintenance from your side but does keep you and the other members of your family company, then the American Curl cat might be the right choice for you!
If you are a proud owner of this graceful pet, then do let us know about your experience with the American Curl.
Besides the American Curl cat, are there any other cats that sport curly ears? Just like the American Curl cats, the Scottish Fold cats are also born with straight ears that start curling within a week of birth. Interestingly, the Scottish Fold’s ear tilts forward – over its front skull while the ears of the American Curl start looping backwards after the birth.
The Highlander cat, Ukrainian Levkoy, and Foldex are just some of the cat breeds that also sport curl ears in varying directions.
Does the level of folding in Curl’s ear signify something? The folds in a Curls ear vary significantly from 90 degrees to even 180 degree. The cats with the biggest curls in their ears are said to be the most sought-after type of Curl, especially for cat fanciers.
What is the longest living cat breed? Burmese cats top the list when it comes to long lifespan. In fact, a 35-year old Burmese holds the record for the longest living cat while an average cat of this breed usually lives between 18 – 20 years.