Thursday, July 3, 2008

American Curl

American Curl is a cat breed with what are perhaps the most extraordinary ears in all of the feline world. The name 'Curl' is in fact attributed to the ears that curl back from the side of face towards the centre of head. These give the cat a very singular and sweet look and are the reason behind the enthusiastic development and pursuit of this felid as a distinct breed. The breed originated in the early nineteen eighties when a feral female with curled ears was first discovered in California. The individual appearance of the kittens from this cat's litters soon attracted breeders who took to establishment and propagation of the American Curl. Within the last two decades the cat has gained widespread recognition among cat fanciers in United States, and is now registered in both long and shorthair classes.

American Curl is a medium sized animal with an elegant physical make up. Weight is normally around six to eight pounds. Coat is smooth and lustrous in both short and longhair format. Longhair cats have a fluffy tail. The remarkable ears are straight in newborn kittens but begin to curl within first week of age. They reach their permanent conformation by the first four months of life, curling at an angle between ninety to one hundred and eighty degrees, and should not be manually disturbed after that, for fear of breaking the ear cartilage.

The curling of ears in these pretty cats is due to a mutant gene that is dominant in character. As a result litters from cats where only a single parent has curled ears, result in Curl kittens. Therefore outcrosses with domestic cats are often done in case of American Curls to maintain genetic variety. There are no ill effects associated with the 'curl' gene and indeed American Curls are amongst the healthiest of all cats. They have no significant recurring hereditary ailment and seldom present with serious medical conditions.

American Curls are one of the friendliest cats around today. They have little problem accepting other cats and dogs in their household and do well in case of either large or small families. Faithful pets, they always try and be around their humans, accompanying them in all of their activities. Vigilant and playful animals, they maintain their kittenish behavior well into adulthood, continuing to have great fun playing with their toys, other cats or humans even as they age. Not overly vocal, these intelligent cats are sensible and adapt well to new environments and companions. For their grace, beauty and striking appearance, they are much loved throughout North America and Europe today.


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