The unique ears and endearing personality of the American Curl inspire happiness.
Stacy N. Hackett
Bunny, one of Caroline Scott's American Curls, loves to nap in unusual spots.
"We have a collection of antique mixing bowls displayed high in the kitchen atop the cabinets," explains Scott, a breeder from New York City. "I never know which bowl she is in, so I call, 'Bunny!' and I see the ears rise above the rim of her favorite bowl du jour."
Those ears — whether peeking over the side of an antique bowl or inviting a second look at a cat show — set the American Curl apart from its many feline cousins.
"Their uniquely curled ears give their face a wide, open, appealing expression, like they are always happy," says Karen O'Brien, a breeder from Plano, Texas.
The result of a genetic mutation, the ears first appeared on a stray cat adopted by Joe and Grace Ruga in 1981. A careful breeding program, with input from feline geneticists, led to the breed as it is known today.
The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) calls for ears that fan outward in an arc from 90 degrees minimum to 180 degrees maximum, according to Scott.
Long tufts of fur add additional flair to the curled ears, complementing the breed's long — or short — coat, which comes in a rainbow of colors and patterns.
Snuggly, But Active
Though the American Curl's ears immediately draw attention, the cat's personality holds it.
**Get the February 2011 issue of CAT FANCY to read the full article or click here to purchase a PDF version.**
Give us your opinion on