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rec.pets.cats: American Curl Breed-FAQ

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Old May 21st 06, 05:22 AM posted to rec.pets.cats.announce,rec.answers,news.answers
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Default rec.pets.cats: American Curl Breed-FAQ

Archive-name: cats-faq/breeds/american-curl
Posting-frequency: 30 days
URL: http://www.fanciers.com/breed-faqs/a...-curl-faq.html
Last-modified: 12 Mar 1997

All the cat breed faqs are available as ASCII files either on rec.pets.cats
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American Curls

Author: Karen O'Brien, CFA American Curl Breed Council Secretary,

Copyright (c)1995 Karen O'Brien, All Rights Reserved.

__________________________________________________ _______________

"What did you do to their ears? Are their ears always like that? Did
you use a curling iron?"

Yes, their ears ARE always like that and no, a curling iron was NOT
used to achieve those extraordinary ears! The curled ear is a natural
genetic mutation and first time admirers are always surprised by the
American Curl's unique ears and impressed by their overall striking
beauty. Curls quickly become a favorite with all who come to know

The American Curl's ears, which are firm to the touch and curl back in
a graceful arc away from their face toward the center back of their
head, are a genetic mutation given to us by none other than Mother
Nature. Discovered in California as a stray cat in 1981, the American
Curl is now recognized as one of the United States' native American
cat breeds.

__________________________________________________ _______________


On a sunny day in June 1981 in Lakewood, California, a longhair silky
black female kitten with unusual ears wandered up to the doorstep of
Joe and Grace Ruga. Joe scrutinized the situation and determined that
the most effective solution to this stray kitten problem was to ask
Grace not to feed the kitten. Grace, not abiding by her husband's
wishes but listening to her heart instead, left a bowl of food on the
porch. The affectionate black kitten quickly worked her way into the
Ruga's hearts (especially Joe's) and they named her Shulamith, which
means "black but comely". Such are the beginnings of the American Curl
as it is known today. True American Curls must trace their pedigree
back to Shulamith, the foundation female.

In December 1981, Shulamith delivered her first litter of kittens. Out
of four kittens, two had the same curly ears as Shulamith. A
geneticist was contacted to study this phenomenon and he confirmed
that this unusual ear was a genetic trait and was inherited in every
case, causing it to be labeled a dominant gene, with no deformities
attached to it. Referred to as a spontaneous mutation, the gene that
causes the ear to curl appeared to be following a single dominant

__________________________________________________ _______________


Selective breeding and presentation of the Curls began in 1983
allowing cat fanciers their first opportunity to get a glimpse of a
rare, new addition to the world of cats. Curls were first accepted for
CFA registration in 1986 and achieved Provisional status in 1991
followed by their advancement to the Championship Class in February
1993, setting a precedent in CFA by being the first breed to be
admitted to the Championship Class as one breed with two coat lengths.
Due to their domestic ancestry, American Curls are available in both
longhair and shorthair varieties and come in any color or coat
pattern. Both coat lengths are presented in the Longhair Division at
CFA cat shows.

Breeding partners for American Curls are limited to other Curls or
non-pedigreed domestic cats which closely match the Curl breed
standard with the exception of the curled ear. By outcrossing to
domestic cats, the American Curl gene pool grows large and optimum
health is maintained due to genetic diversity. When breeding Curl to
Curl, the resulting kittens will usually all have curled ears.
However, a Curl bred to a straight ear cat, regardless of whether or
not it is a domestic cat or an American Curl Straight Ear, will
produce at least 50% Curls and sometimes more due to the dominant
nature of the curl gene. American Curl Straight Ears from such litters
are very valuable in a planned breeding program and also make
outstanding pets.

__________________________________________________ _______________

Characteristics and Temperment

When Curls are born, their ears are straight, but within two to ten
days after birth, their ears begin to curl back. During the first 4
months, the kitten's ears will gradually curl and uncurl in varying
degrees until they are set permanently at 4 months of age. At this
age, breeders can determine the kitten's quality (pet, breeder, show).
Along with the kitten's overall conformation to the breed standard,
degree of curl to the ear is a key factor in determining quality as
follows: first degree (pet), second degree (breeder), and third degree
(show) being the most desirable curl to the ear, emulating the
graceful curve of a full crescent. Ear furnishings (hair tufts)
fanning outward from the ear accentuate and further enhance the curled

The ideal American Curl is a medium sized, alert animal with an
elegant appearance and a sweet, open expression complimented by their
remarkable ears. Both longhair and shorthair Curls have soft, silky
coats, but the longhair Curl has the distinction of sporting a
beautiful plumed tail. Because both coat lengths have minimal
undercoat resulting in non-matting hair, grooming an American Curl is
easy -- an occasional bath and combing is all that is needed. Care
should be taken when handling the ears to avoid breaking the cartilage
-- do not force the ear into unnatural positions.

The Curl's temperament is one of curiosity and companionship. Being
very people-oriented, they like to assist in all household projects
and delight in "bumping heads" with their owners or new human
acquaintances. Curls are even tempered and intelligent, yet they
retain their kitten-type behavior throughout their adult life. Not
overly talkative, the Curls will tell you when they need something or
desire attention. American Curls easily adapt to almost any home
situation and adjust to other animals remarkably well. Simply stated,
they are extremely affectionate and absolutely ear-resistible!

__________________________________________________ _______________

Pricing of American Curls usually depends on each individual kitten's
degree of curl, bloodlines, type and markings. Many breeders allow
pickup of new kittens between 3 and 4 months of age. Along with
reaching their permanent degree of curl by 4 months, kittens have had
basic inoculations and developed the physical and social stability to
adjust to a new environment. Four months is also the minimum age
requirement for cat show participation and transportation of kittens
by air.

__________________________________________________ _______________

American Curl FAQ
Karen O'Brien,

Last updated 07/19/95

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