Showing posts with label dominant gene. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dominant gene. Show all posts

Saturday 27 May 2023

What is this strange looking cat with odd ears?

This picture is on the Reddit.com website and the person who posted it said that this is a 'very rare and strange cat'. It is a strange-looking cat (but not very rare) because the photograph captures nicely, almost in silhouette, the curled-back ears. It looks like everything is against what we normally associate with the domestic cat appearance with their ever-alert ears pointing forwards to collect the sound waves heading towards them.

What is this strange looking cat with odd ears?
What is this strange looking cat with odd ears? Image: Reddit.com

Domestic cats have really good hearing, better than human hearing. Their large ear flaps which can rotate around the head thanks to the 30+ muscles controlling the them, help in picking up the soundwaves.

So, when the ears fold back like this it must affect their hearing and it is due to a genetic mutation. It does look very strange and a bit disturbing to be honest. But this is an American Curl purebred cat (probably) and if he is not a pedigree cat, he'll be a random bred version. The purebreds are deliberately created by breeders to be sold to the public.

It's quite a rare purebred cat and not that popular compared, for example, to the Persian or Maine Coon cat breeds.

It gives the cat a kind of devilish look and they come in shorthaired and longhaired varieties. Essentially this cat is a standard random bred cat with curly ears. There is nothing extreme about the cat's appearance.

American Curl cats are born with straight ears and the ear flaps do not curl back as you see in the photograph until the kittens are 2 to 10 days old. The kittens enter a transitional phase that lasts until about 16 weeks of age and during this time the ears begin to change. They may even 'uncurl' or curl more tightly.

The cat in the photograph has particularly curly ears and would be of show cat quality.

RELATED: American Curl Cat: 12 facts.

I've seen American curl ears that don't curl quite so much. The genetic mutation causes the cartilage in the ear flaps to take up this peculiar shape. The mutated gene is dominant.

As mentioned, the ears curl to different degrees and in the 1st° curl version of this cat, only the tips of the ears curl back. These cats are considered to be pet quality which means that they are not going to be show cats. The 2nd° curl of the ears is an arc ranging from 45° to less than 90°. Cats with secondary degree curled may be considered for breeding purposes but they are not of show quality.

Finally, the third-degree curl of the ears is the curliest. The ears curl from 90 to 180° with the tips not touching the back of the ear or the head and pointing towards the center of the base of the skull. Cats with third-degree curl combined with the correct overall look of the cat as per breed standard would be of show quality.

The cat breed was commenced when in June 1981 in Lakewood, California a longhaired silky black female kitten with these strange ears wandered up to the home of Joe and Grace Ruga. They named the stray cat Shulamith. This cat was the foundation cat for the entire breed and they set about creating the breed from thereon.

Six years later The International Cat Association accepted the American Curl longhair for championship status. They are now recognised for championship status in most organisations in North America.

Here is a calico American Curl. Photo by Helmi Flick. The ears are not as impressive.

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