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This is a completely new breed of semi-longhaired cat originating in Britain as a cross between the Selkirk Rex and the Turkish Angora, and is very much in the experimental stages at the moment. There are a very small handful of breeders in Britain and America who are interested in developing this breed, but it is currently quite hard to find Arctic Curl kittens for sale as they are being used in structured breeding programmes to develop the breed. It isn't yet recognised by any of the registries (such as the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA), The International Cat Association (TICA) or the UK Governing Council of the Cat Fancy) and it does not yet have a published breed Standard. However, establishing a new breed takes several years of dedicated breeding from what is initially quite a restricted gene pool. The 'Curl' in the name doesn't have any connection with shape of the ears, as in the American Curl, but instead refers to the curly coat, and it is thought that the 'Arctic' element refers to the blue eyes of the initial white variety of this breed.
As this very new breed only originated in 2008, there is little known about it so far and it is still very early days. A British breeder, Penny Odell, of Tremarie Persians and Selkirk Rex, is aiming to breed a cat looking like the Turkish Angora (this breed as yet unrecognised in the UK) but with slightly rounder eyes and a curly coat. She is also interested in developing this breed with a slightly more Oriental ear set and is considering using the Balinese (a semi-longhaired Siamese) to achieve this. At the moment she is mainly concentrating on the white variety with blue eyes, although other breeders are interested in developing a wider range of colours.
The Arctic Curl has curly hair similar to the Selkirk Rex, making the semi-longhaired coat of the Turkish Angora look rather shorter than that of its parent breed, apart from the tail plume which is silky and flowing. Many coat colours and patterns are possible with this combination of breeds, although at present the focus is on the pure white variety with blue eyes. All Arctic Curl kittens are born with blue eyes, and by 8-9 weeks old they may remain blue (particularly in the case of the white variety) or will change to a gold/amber colour, or even have one eye of each colour.
This new breed is said to combine the personality traits of both parent breeds, and can be very playful like the Turkish Angora, whilst still retaining the Selkirk Rex's need for independence and a quiet corner from time to time.
The Arctic Curl appears to be a strong cat with the tough qualities of both parent breeds, and so far has not been shown to have any breed-specific defects. However, it is still very early days and little is known so far about its possible longevity and health of these cats. As with all other breeds, they will need annual vaccination boosters against the common feline ailments of flu and enteritis, as well as against Feline Leukaemia if they go outdoors.
As far as is known, the Arctic Curl will eat most good quality proprietary brands of cat food in the same way as the two parent breeds. Cows' milk may well give them a stomach upset, and a bowl of water should always be available.