20 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About American Curl Cats

If you’re looking to have the most unique cat in the neighborhood, look no further than the American Curl cat. Some may deem the American Curl to be an odd variety, but make no mistake. Its oddness is exactly what makes this cat so popular. One look at this curly cutie and you’ll know immediately which breed it is. Their distinct ears will either make you gush or make you ever so curious. But these cats are more than their ears. They’re some of the best breeds to have as pets because of their personalities. American Curl cats are also rather easy to maintain. They’re striking appearance almost makes them look like a lynx, but trust us when we say that this breed of cat is its own.

Many American Curl cats owner can attest to the fact that these cats are some of the best to have as companions for whatever type of pet owner you might be. Whether you’re the type that likes constant interaction or whether you’re the type of pet owner that needs his space from time to time, the American Curl cat will give you the perfect balance for both. The American Curl cat, as its name suggests, is one of America’s truest breeds. It’s also one of the latest breeds that have been recognized as a species; so don’t be surprised if you find out more information about this breed in the future. Or not. Either way, there are many other things about the American Curl that you should know. Here are 20 fun facts you didn’t know about the American Curl cat.

Rare breed history

Having mentioned that this cat is a fairly recent discovery, we have to say that the breed was only discovered in 1981. Considering the history of the domesticated cat, that’s fairly recent. Some cat breeds have been around during the ancient times. In fact, there’s a reason why you see so many cats in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs; they were believed to have been domesticated then. Anyway, these cats are native to North America. They were discovered in California by a couple Joe and Grace Ruga. A stray kitten with a long, black coat and curled ears appeared on their doorstep one day. The couple named the kitten Shulamith, and a few months later, she had her first litter, two of which had the same curled ears. And just like that, a new breed was established.

All about the ears

You can look at a cat’s ears and identify parts naturally. Soft fur. Lithe bodies. However, most cat owners know that a lot of initial impressions about many cat breeds are wrong. The same goes for the American Curl cat. You can look at this cat breed’s ears and immediately imagine you can tell that its ears are soft and supple. While this many be true for most cats, it’s quite the opposite for the American Curl. Their lovely curled ears are actually more comparable to human ears. Where other cats’ ears would have soft cartilage, making their ears suppler, American Curl cats’ ears actually have tougher cartilage like a human’s ear. This makes their ears firmer than you’d immediately think.

Active cats

Something about the way their ears round out a bit makes the American Curl cats seem calmer than they actually are. Not to say that they’re hyperactive; however, these cats are some of the most playful cats you’ll have around. This is a great thing for some cat lovers, but for others, it might prove to be more challenging. There’s a misconception among cat non-enthusiasts that cats would much rather sit around than do anything. While this may be true for some breeds, it certainly does not apply to all. Take for example the American Curl cat. They are extremely playful with their owners and love to play with toys as well. Don’t be surprised if your American Curl cat reminds you of a dog; they do that sometimes.

Peter Pan

We promise that this is not a random addition at all. Actually, apart from being known as extremely playful, American Curl cats are known to have that kind of personality from when they’re kittens up until they’re adults. As a matter of fact, American Curl cats are also known as the Peter Pan of felines or forever kittens. They retain such playful personalities even as they get older. They also retain other kitten-like characteristics as well—curiosity, attachment, and affectionate. If you feel like it might be too much to handle, it really isn’t. The fact is many breeds of cats do the same. Only true cat enthusiasts would know this. American Curl cats are far from the cat stereotype that they’re aloof, standoffish, cold, and unfriendly. Just not true.

Straight ears

Don’t worry if the little kitten you’ve been expecting comes out with straight ears. That’s actually something that just happens. The famous curled ears of the American Curl cat does not happen in utero. At birth, these cats will come out with straight ears. However, it doesn’t stay like that for long. Their famous and unique quality will come out sooner rather than later. After approximately 3 to 5 days, you’ll start to notice their ears begin to curl up and take shape. There are also variations to this curl. Some will curl 90 degrees while other ears will go up to 180 degrees in curl. It’s surely a fun process to watch to see how much your American Curl’s ears will change over the course of the first few days of its life. Here’s another fun fact. The cats that have the biggest curl in their ears are some of the most wanted cats of this breed.

Family cats

Because of its playful personality, it’s no surprise that many people find the American Curl cat to be great companions. But more than that, a lot of parents find that this breed works out great for children as well. It could be because of their endless stacks of energy or their friendly demeanor. Also, the fact that these cats maintain their kitten-like qualities make them great pets for kids to grow up with. The lifespan of a cat isn’t that long for the most part, and to have a cat that will stay young and act young for as long as possible is something fun for children to have. It also doesn’t hurt that these cats love being around humans.

Faithful cats

Did we already mention that American Curl cats love humans? It’s true, but it’s deeper than that. They actually love their own humans, the ones that take care of them day in and day out. American Curls are probably some of the most loyal pets out there. You’ll never have a more faithful companion; they’ll stay with you all day long if you ever give it a chance, which is highly likely that you would. In addition, American Curls are highly attentive to their human family; they will protect you and your family from threats that it might sense. It’s the most adorable thing in the world, and it’s something that you’ll just have to see to understand.


The American Curl cat is quite particular about its hygiene, much like other cats are. This breed likes their bathroom clean, so that means you’ll have to keep the litter box fresh and spotless at all times. There’s a good chance that your American Curl won’t go unless its box is fresh. Cats are known to be picky in one way or another, and if hygiene is something your cat is going to be picky with, it’s better than something else. In addition, there’s also a good chance that your cat will need daily dental hygiene to prevent periodontal disease. You might just need to do it weekly, but it’ll depend on your cat. This is something that’s very important to maintain your cat’s health, so make sure that you consult your vet to find out.

Weight gain

Unfortunately, these cats have a slight susceptibility to weight gain. It isn’t uncommon, though, for many cats to be that way, especially since most cats are indoor animals and don’t get the same type of exercise that many other pets, such as dogs, get. It’s very important for pet owners to watch what kind of foods they give their American Curl cats. The quality of the food they get is tantamount to their health. Look for food varieties that are organic and have the best quality primary ingredients. If you’re already giving your American Curl the best food and you still notice weight gain, pay attention to your cat’s activity. If there’s a decrease in activity that might be causing your cat some weight gain, get a check up scheduled with your veterinarian. It could be a sign of a more serious underlying health issue.

Life expectancy

There are cats out there that might actually have 9 lives. After all, the world record for the longest living cat lived for over 20 years. That’s quite impressive, but it’s also an anomaly for the most part. As far as the American Curl breed is concerned, their life expectancy may actually be considered better than most breeds. Most American Curls will live on an average a minimum of 12 years, but their life expectancy can go up to 20 years. That’s quite amazing if you think about it, but of course, this is all dependent on factors such as health, diet, exercise, and possible preexisting health conditions.

Coat information

American Curl cats are considered to be medium-sized animals that can weigh anywhere from 5 to 12 pounds. They have two kinds of coats, short or long. The longer coat varieties have a special little detail on their ears—almost like thick sets of whiskers that protrude from each curled ear. Short coat varieties don’t have those. However, both varieties of coats are very silky and soft. American Curls have very little undercoat, and their coat varieties come in many patterns and shapes. It’s one of the best things about American Curls; one cat can be so strikingly different from another. However, there’s another difference between the long coat cats and the short coat ones that might make some favor the former. This is one characteristic you’ll have to read about further along.

Curl genetics

We learned early on about the North American origins of the American Curl cat. It’s interesting to think about where Shulamith, the original curled cat, got her curled ear or how it manifested in her or where she came from altogether. Being a stray cat, no one could really ever know. But at least, being as smart humans as we are, we can still figure out the genetics of it all. Roy Robinson, a feline geneticist, took it upon himself to study the American Curl genes. After analyzing 383 American Curl kittens, he found that the earl-curling gene is a dominant gene. This means that any cat with just 1 copy of the dominant gene will have curled ears. A cross between any two American Curl cats will produce 100% curled-ear kittens. If an American Curl is crossed with any other cats, 50% of the litter will be curled-ear kittens.

Well-adjusted pets

It’s well-known fact among American Curl owners that these cats are some of the most well adjusted breeds among all cats. They adjust very easily and quickly to any environments, so if you tend to move around a lot or if you bring your cat with you anywhere you go, you shouldn’t have to worry about your cat feeling out of place. In addition, American Curls adjust pretty well to other animals around them as well. This means that you can have other cats or other animals and have no issue when it comes to the American Curl. We already know that American Curl cats like their humans very much, but they also take very well to strangers. This can be dangerous for such beautiful cats because they will approach everyone—even people with not the best intentions.

Quiet cats

American Curl cats are not known for talking back much. In fact, they really don’t talk much at all. Although it’s a particular stereotype that many cats are known for, you have to remember that the American Curl is not being aloof when it’s being quiet. They can still be playful and energetic without being so talkative. Some pet owners actually prefer the peace and quiet of these cats versus breeds that tend to be louder and more talkative. To each is own, but there’s no reason a pet owner can’t develop a deep and loving relationship with a cat that is not noisy. Their silence might make you wonder what they think, but just know that they’re probably thinking of you anyway—that’s one loyal cat.


If the American Curl does decide to talk to you, don’t expect a meow. Don’t expect a howl or a purr either. This breed of cat communicates quite differently from other breeds. The American Curl has a particular trill that they use to communicate how they feel or even what they want. The trill is very characteristic, and you’ll probably know it as soon as you hear it. It’s an interesting sound—very similar to a bird making noise. But it isn’t any bird; it’s just your American Curl. While they may use their trills sparingly to let you know a few things, know that they also communicate in other ways. You’ll have to pay attention to physical cues in order to know what your cat is trying to say.

Relatively healthy

Cats are known for being susceptible to some diseases and illnesses. But aside from these common illnesses, American Curl cats are actually fairly healthy breeds. They’re actually free from defects, and they don’t have any notable health problems that can be attributed to genetics. There is one minor concern about American Curl cats and that has something to do with their ear canals. Because their ears are curled, it’s easier for foreign objects to get inside them, which can cause various infections. Other than that, these cats are probably some of the healthiest cats around. They also don’t have any specific exercise requirements; although it would be best to give it a little bit of activity anyway. Regular checkups with the veterinarian should also guarantee that they stay in tiptop shape and live out the 20 years of their life expectancies, maybe even longer.

Curious cats

They’re playful, energetic, and highly lovable. These are some of the most common descriptions associated with American Curl cats. But just like how they have kitten-like personalities, they also have the curiosity of kittens—even until adulthood. They’re known for opening cabinets and doors—even doorknobs. Don’t be surprised if you came home one day to a house full of open cabinets. American Curls just love to pry. It usually means two things. They’re either mischievous or just highly intelligent. Curiosity is usually equivalent to intelligence, but it can also mean mischief. You’ll have to figure out which one applies to your cat. It shouldn’t surprise you if it was both.

Height-loving cats

Believe it or not, not all cat breeds like heights. The American Curl breed happens to love heights and loves jumping from them as well. You can often find them perched up on top of the armoire or the kitchen cabinets. Maybe you’ll find them watching you prep dinner from the countertops or the bar stools. They’ll even perch on your shoulders just because they love being near you. Once in a while, you might get a sense that they want to play with you. The likelihood is they probably want to play fetch. Throw your cat’s toy on a higher spot once in a while to let it jump up to get it. Your cat will love you for it and will probably want to keep doing it until you give up.

Fancy tails, excellent hearing

Remember that one quality that American Curls with long coats have? Well here it is. Longhaired American Curls also breed terrific long plume-like tails that might turn a head or two. They almost look like feather boas that you just want wrapped around your neck. It makes them look so elegant, and it’s really one of the reasons why many cat fanciers get attracted to this breed. On another note, many people believe that having curled ears gives the American Curl breed an edge when it comes to hearing. Actually, they have excellent hearing to begin with, and their curled ears might actually pose more of a disadvantage than anything, especially since they get infected more than normal. If you want your cat to have super excellent hearing, you’ll have to make sure you check for wax build up constantly.

Champion cats

When the breed came about in 1981, it didn’t take too long before it was recognized by a few cat organizations. Just five years later in 1986, TICA or The International Cat Association accepted the American Curl into their registry with Champion status. Another five years later in 1991, CFA or Cat Fanciers Association also recognized the breed. Today, AFCA or American Cat Fanciers Association also recognizes and registers the American Curl breed. It’s known in the cat circle that American Curls are award-winning cats. There are a lot American Curls that have become champions in cat show history. It could very well be attributed to their fancy, plume-like tails. One look at these tails and there’s no denying how beautiful these cats are. However, we’re willing to bet our last dollar that these cats are champion show cats because of their most unique characteristic—their wonderfully curled ears.

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