American Curl

The American Curl is set apart for its distinctively curled ears. This breed is known as the “Peter Pan of cats” because American Curls maintain their kitten-like playfulness and behavior throughout their lives.

Common Characteristics

  • Size: 1 to 20 pounds
  • Lifespan: 16 to 25 years
  • Pet purchase cost: $501 to $1000
  • Allergies: Severe
  • Shedding: Moderate
  • Primarily suited for indoors


Common Reasons for Surrender

American Curls sometimes find themselves in rescue or shelter because their owner has passed away or has become physically incapable of caring for them any longer. Such a situation can easily be avoided by making provisions in your will to ensure your pets are taken care of after your death. In other instances, the breed is surrendered because a family member develops allergies, or the family has to move and cannot take their cat with them.


Most American Curl cats love to snuggle with their humans and follow them around the house to see what they’re doing. If your American Curl is going to be home alone each day, consider adopting him a friend as the breed is very social and craves human and feline companionship. While they are not generally a very vocal breed, American Curls do “chirp” and “coo.”


You will need to clean your American Curls ears properly and regularly to ensure they remain healthy. Ask your veterinarian or professional groomer the proper way to clean your cat’s ears before attempting to do so yourself.


Curls must have meat in their diet. Opt for a high-quality food, preferably a canned wet food, that contains sufficient protein and that is age-appropriate for your cat. Avoid those foods that contain grains and glutens. Your Curl should always have access to clean water. Treats should also be high quality, such as Temptations, but always be careful how much you feed your Curl. Obesity can quickly become a problem if you aren’t careful.

If your Curl has any health problems, discuss the optimal diet with your veterinarian.


Because of their lifelong kitten-like demeanor, most Curls love to play for the majority of their lives. Be sure you create playtime with you and your cat each day. Most Curls also create their own play and will climb on a cat tree, use a scratching post, or catch toys that you throw in the air. Sometimes a Curl will retrieve a ball that you throw to her.  

Possible Health Issues

Generally a healthy breed, American Curls may be prone to age-related illness and disease, such as arthritis and renal disease, the latter of which can be treated with fluid and laser therapy. American Curls, and any cat or pet for that matter, that come from a backyard breeder may suffer from any number of illnesses or diseases because of bad breeding.


Curls can be picky with the kind of litter they prefer, so you may have to try several types before finding the one your cat likes the best. Flushable litters are ideal. Fresh walnut-based cat litter and World’s Best Cat Litter are two popular options. If your cat isn’t using his litter box, try doing several things: Buy another brand to see if your Curl likes it better; move the litter box to a new location; and put other litter boxes throughout your home. If your Curl still isn’t using his litter box, make an appointment with the vet as he may be suffering from a urinary tract infection or another health problem.

Some cats, despite expert warnings, are declawed (think of declawing in a human as cutting off your fingers to the knuckle) and may do better with softer litters, such as Yesterday’s News, which is made, in part, from newspaper.


Grooming can double as bonding time with your Curl. Brush your cat every day, or at the very least on a regular basis, to help keep her coat healthy and free of mats. Trim her nails as needed and brush her teeth regularly, which will help prevent problems such as gum disease. American Curls have small ear canals, which may build with a brown, waxy residue. Very gently clean your Curl’s ears to prevent infection.


American Curls learn quickly, making training possible if you keep it fun. Use a soft and gentle tone with your Curl when trying to teach her a command, such as sit, stay, or come. Training, while not essential, is an ideal way to keep your Curl’s mind sharp.


Napping is arguably a Curl’s favorite pastime. Still, their kitten-like behavior throughout their lives makes entertaining a Curl easy. Make sure you give your Curl a cat tree or a cat shelf, somewhere he can climb. Put a variety of cat scratchers throughout your home to help your Curl stay toned. Laser lights, wands, feathers, and balls are all favorite toys of most cats. Always be careful not to give any toys to your Curl with small detachable parts, such as tiny eyes, that your Curl may swallow if they fall off.

While cats need toys to keep them entertained, sometimes the best entertainment they can get is following you around and keeping tabs on what you are doing.

We want to thank Tavi & Friends and Patricia Krook, the founder of The American Curl Rescue Project, for help with this profile.

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