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American Curl cat breed profile

Their cute, curled ears set this breed apart.

If you’ve ever seen a cat with curled-back ears, you’ve seen an American Curl or an American Curl mix. The trait that gives these cats their name is the very thing that differentiates the breed from all other cats. 

But that’s not all you should know about the American Curl before you adopt one or a mix. Here are the details on this cute curly breed.

The history of American Curls

The American Curl is a relatively recent cat breed that originated in the early 1980s in Southern California. The first known American Curls were two stray kittens found with their characteristic curled-back ears. 

“The unusual ears were caused by a spontaneous genetic mutation,” Dr. Megan Conrad, BVMS, a veterinarian with Hello Ralphie in Oregon, says. “The gene for this is dominant, meaning only one parent needs the gene to produce the curled ear.”

What do American Curls look like?

The primary differentiating factor of the American Curl is, of course, their curled-back ears. Other than that, pretty much anything goes as far as the appearance of these cats.  

“American curls can be long, medium or short-haired and have any coat color or pattern,” Dr. Conrad says. “They’re generally medium-sized cats.” 

Some American Curl kittens are even born with wavy or totally straight ears, which is perfectly normal for the breed. 

“Kittens are born with their ears straight; they can curl and uncurl and reach their permanent shape at about 4 months of age,” Dr. Conrad explains.

RELATED: LaPerm cat breed profile

What are American Curls’ personalities like?

If you like playful cats, the American Curl might be for you. This breed tends to stay kitten-like for longer than other breeds. 

“The breed is sociable, playful and intelligent,” Dr. Conrad says. “They tend to remain playful well past kittenhood.”

What are common health issues for American Curls? 

American Curls also tend to be healthy cats. Their temperament and overall good health generally make American Curls good choices for family pets. It doesn’t hurt that their ears are so cute, too. 

“American Curls aren’t predisposed to genetic medical issues,” Dr. Conrad says. “Some may have ear canals that are more narrow than normal, which can lead to a higher chance of ear infections. Checking their ears regularly and keeping them clean can help prevent infection.”

Adopting an American curl

Are you interested in adopting an American curl, American curl mix or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend.

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

Photo by Andrew Umansky on Unsplash and Nitiphonphat on Shutterstock

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