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The American Curl is one of a number of breeds that were “created” naturally through a genetic mutation. The tailless cats are in this group. Because of their distinct difference they have become new breeds of cat and their particular characteristic fixed through careful breeding over a period of time. It is as if this cat is wearing fancy clothes, with her stand out ears and plumed tail. By my calculation this cat is in the mid range for rarity and size.
Please note: these are my words in summarizing parts of the breed standard – The American Curl cat is a rather fancy almost glamorous cat, with her slender and elegant build and plumed tail, all of which is capped off by her ears that make you turn your head. Behind that fancy exterior there is of course a perfectly normal, athletic cat with all the usual cat attributes.
She should be well balanced and well proportioned and of medium size (a conventional looking cat then). The head is the usual modified wedge but should be slightly longer than wide. Here’s the fancy bit, the ears: The ears have to curl to a stipulated minimum but not more than a maximum amount.
Lets get technical. The ears carry 10% of the points in competition (I’d have thought that they would be more important). They should curl a minimum of 90° (right angle). But not more than 180°. If they curled 180° the ears would be folded over. The curve of the curl should be smooth. The cartilage at the base of the ear is firm and at the tip it is flexible. They should be quite large and in between the top of the head and side of the head. Long hair in the ear (ear furnishing) is advantageous. There is an interesting remark in the standard about how the ear should look when the cat is alert. Normally a cat’s ears point forward when alert to pick up the sound in front of the cat. The breed standard deals with this situation. The tips of the ears should point to the base of the skull. This means the ears do not straighten at any time on my reading of the standard.
The show cats (photographed by Helmi Flick), all comply with the standard in respect of their ears. In fact the ears are generally curled to about 90° in all cases except the last cat (more curl). The other cats and particularly those photographed by the talented photographer “tanakawho” (a Flickr username/nickname) are non-standard as the ears don’t curl enough. The ears of the American Curl cat, if he is a show cat, can lead to disqualification if they curl too much (they curl over so that the tip touches the back of the ear or the head). Conversely, if the ears are too straight, disqualification will take place. The body is essentially of medium build and a semi-foreign “rectangle”.
The term “foreign”, in relation to cats, refers to a long slender or thin body. A classic is the Modern Siamese. A very wide range of colors is allowed.