In June 1981 in Lakewood, California a black kitten with a long silky coat, large golden eyes and uniquely curled ears showed up on the doorstep of Joe and Grace Ruga. Six months later ‘Shulamith’ delivered her first
litter of four kittens, two had ears that curled like their
mother. Selective breeding began in 1983. All American Curl
cats can trace their ancestry back to Shulamith.
Shulamith photo by Chanan
Due to their domestic ancestry, curls are accepted in both long and shorthair varieties and can be any colour or pattern. The curled ear is a natural genetic mutation and is the result of a single dominant gene. No health problems have been associated with the gene and the Curls are widely accepted as one of the healthiest pedigree cat breeds.
Curls are very people oriented, faithful and affectionate soul mates. They are inquisitive and become easily engrossed in assisting their owners in whatever they are doing. They adapt easily to other pets and new situations.
When Curls are born their ears are straight. They begin to curl within 24 to 72 hours after birth. As the kitten matures the ears gradually unfurl until 12 to 16 weeks of age. The degree of curl can vary greatly, ranging from an almost straight ear (pet quality) to a show quality ear with an arc of 90-180 degrees. Due to the nature of the gene you can also get straight eared kittens.
In the UK:
Overear is the UK’s foundation cattery for American Curls and we live near Spalding, Lincolnshire. Our two foundation cats from ProcurlHarem cattery in New York arrived in the UK in August 2007, with our first litter born in 2008.
Our kittens are generally able to leave for their new homes at around 16 weeks of age. Only a few kittens are available each year to pet or show alter homes.