American Curl

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American Curl cats have other qualities besides their whimsical ears that make them attractive pets. They are people-loving cats who are rarely aloof and are affectionate without hounding their families for attention. They like to perch on your lap and love to pet and cuddle their family members. American Curl are often easily taught to play ball and rarely lose their love of play. They tend to get along very well with children. Although not as active as Abyssinians or Siamese, American Curls are very playful and energetic. They also show typical cat curiosity and want to be there to investigate any changes in their home. The American Curl originated in June 1981 as a spontaneous genetic mutation in the domestic cat population. It became popular in 1983, and by 1986 was recognised by three major North American cat registries.
In June 1981, two cats with their ears curled back came to the door of a couple in Lakewood, California. One of the cats died soon after, but the other, a cute long-haired female, remained a member of the family and was named Shulamith. At first, little attention was paid to Shulamith’s unique curled ears; her new family was more taken with her devotion and her sweet, trusting temperament. They assumed Shulamith was one of many curly-eared cats, even after visits to local libraries and bookstores failed to mention Shulamith’s supposed breed.
In December 1981, Shulamith gave birth to a litter of four kittens; two of them had the same curly ears. The father, a local long-haired tom cat, did not have curly ears or, as it soon turned out, the gene for them. Although the couple did not understand cat genetics at the time, the gene for curly ears is dominant and therefore it is only necessary for one parent to have the gene to pass on curly ears to at least some of their offspring. Similarly, if a cat does not have curly ears, it cannot possess the gene for them; a dominant gene will always appear in a cat’s physical appearance.
Shulamith continued to have litters of the local tom cats, which increased the local Curl population. The first litters included both long-haired and short-haired cats, and many colours and patterns, including the pointed pattern. The couple gave kittens as gifts to friends and family.
Two of these kittens were eventually acquired by Nancy Kiester, who fell in love with their unique ears and gentle temperament. After reading an article about the Scottish Fold, another breed of cat with distinctive ears, it occurred to Kiester that these kittens might be a whole new breed. They proved to be, and from this the American Curl was recognised and promoted.

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