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American Curl

In Lakewood, California Grace Ruga was heavily pregnant the first time she laid eyes on an American Curl. Her husband, Joe returned from work to find two kittens skulking around the front of the house. He mentioned this to her upon entering the house and urged her to not consider feeding them. Grace responded by taking food out immediately behind Joe's back. For that we can all be grateful, as so started the American Curl breed.

Grace noticed that the two sisters had unusual ears. She named them Shulamith and Panda. Shulamith meaning "black, but comely." Unfortunately Panda disappeared at a stage and Shulamith would become the founder of the American Curl breed. It was not long before Shulamith became supreme ruler of the house, taking over completely. Joe and Shulamith developed a very close bond and became inseparable eventually.

In 1981 Shulamith had her first litter. She noticed that the unique ears of two of the four kittens in the litter and realised this may be the start of a new breed. Upon seeing an article on the Scottish Fold written by Jean Grimm, CFA judge, Grace contacted her for assistance to find out if the American Curl was indeed unique in the cat fancy. Jean confirmed that indeed they were very unique and with the assistance of Solveig Pflueger and Roy Robinson determined that the genetic trait was a dominant gene. The first Curl to Curl mating happened in January 1984. Playit By Ear was a black bicolour kitten from this litter and became the first homozygous American Curl, which meant that he would only produce curled kittens no matter who he mated.

The first American Curl was exhibited at a cat show in 1983 and in 1987 TICA awarded the medium haired American Curl championship status. The breed was the first to be accepted in both the medium hair and short hair divisions in CFA in 1993.

American Curls are remarkably strong and healthy, with no genetic defects that affect most purebred cats. It is allowable, if not encouraged to outcross American Curls to domestic cats. This will ensure broad genetic diversity and keep the gene pool healthy and vital. Very little grooming is required; the American Curl being a very low maintenance breed. As there is very minimal undercoat, the American Curl sheds very little in comparison to some other breeds.

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