The American Curl is a relatively new breed and easily recognized by the distinct curling shape of its ears. Although not all American Curls necessarily have curved ears, it is desirable for show cats to have ears that curve all the way back towards the center of their heads, away from their face.
The first American Curl was a natural genetic mutation called Shulamith. She was a stray cat found by Joe and Grace Ruga in California in 1981. Out of her first litter of 8 kittens, 4 had curled ears. The American Curl was recognized as a cat breed by TICA in 1987.
When breeding with American Curls, a true curl-eared cat can breed with a normal domestic cat and 50% of their litter will normaly have curled ears, although the curled ear in kittens will only become visible at about 3 days after birth. The litter with non-curled ears will not be used in cat shows but are very valuable for breeding and make good pets.
American Curls come in any colour and can be divided into long-haired and short-haired breeds. The curl of their ears can be classified in first degree – straight ears, second degree – not a complete curl, and third degree – the desired curl for a show cat.