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Naumenko Anna,
Ukraine, Kyev

ICQ #: 423691012


Lisa Aring, Sarcenet cattery, USA

Meet Shulamith - the foundation cat from which all American Curls must descend. Unfortunately there are few pictures of her, but you can get an idea of what she looked like.  

“Shu” was a domestic cat from California that showed up on the doorstep of Joe and Grace Ruga and quickly adopted the family as her own. They were soon smitten by her sweet personality, intelligence and of course - those unusual ears.

Shulamith herself was used as the model on which the standard was based - although certain “improvements” were included. For example, Shu had a weak chin and her ears were not as nice as her offsprings’ who had larger, more tightly curled ears. Those ears were the basis of what today is considered ideal.

Shulamith was not a large cat, but had medium to fine boning and a long, slender body. When presenting her to judges for evaluation, they unanimously compared her to a Turkish Angora.
Her head was a nice modified wedge, longer than wide, with smooth transitions. Her profile was not straight, but had a gentle change of direction. Her coat was semi-long with little to no undercoat.

Although a "plain" black cat, Shulamith gave us may interesting colors right from the start. When bred to "plain old" domestic cats, she or her offspring produced chocolate, colorpoint and Burmese colors (mink).

Development of the Breed

When Shulamith delivered her first litter of curly eared babies, no one involved knew anything about the cat fancy, selective breeding or how to go about developing a cat breed. They did realize what a special thing they had on their hands, so they proceeded to seek guidance from some breeders involved with other breeds. The first advice given was to contact a geneticist, to be certain that the mutation did not carry any harmful effects. After careful study, it was determined that the curl gene gave no indication whatsoever of having deleterious effects on the health of the cats.

The next step was to write a standard for this new breed of cat. Shulamith herself was used as the model for the standard and most of the text used in the written standard was based on the standards of other breeds which presented similar characteristics. For example, her profile most closely resembled that of an Abysinnian or Egyptian Mau, so the profile description in those standards served as the basis when drafting the first American Curl standard.

The early breeders then had to choose a suitable breed to use as an outcross. Several pedigreed breeds were considered, but all were discarded for a variety of reasons. In the end, a decision was made to honor the domestic heritage of Shulamith and use only domestic cats as outcrosses.

In the first years – and due to the inexperience of the earliest breeders – some chose outcross domestic cats with inappropriate “type”. Many in the cat fancy believed - and some continue to believe – that it was a mistake to use domestics as it would be too difficult to ever set the type of the breed. However, when outcrosses are properly and carefully selected, even first generation offspring can be fine examples of the breed and have been shown with excellent results in the showhall. They also ensure a wide genetic base so vital to the health and vigor of any breed.

Fortunately, in recent years breeders have made enormous strides towards reaching a homogenous look in the breed and their efforts have been noted and praised by judges and breeders alike. The vast majority of the Curls one sees in the show hall today are quite similar: a medium-sized cat (5-8 lbs. for females, 7-10 for males), with medium boning, a body and head 1 and ? times longer than wide, walnut shaped eyes and of course those lovely curled ears.

American Curl cattery "CURLAND", Ukraine, Kyev. Kittens for sale. American Curl breeder.

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