The Cornish Rex is a striking cat best known for its soft, tightly curled coat and lithe body. But where does this athletic breed come from? What are these cats’ temperaments like? Do they make good pets? Read on to find out!
Meet the Cornish Rex, aka the Curly Haired Beauty!
The Cornish Rex is famous for its curly hair. While most cats have three layers of hair on their bodies: the outermost guard hairs, the middle awn hairs, and the soft down undercoat, Cornish Rex cats only have the last of these.
As such, they are very soft to the touch, and often feel warmer than other cats, as their fur is not as insulating.
History of Rex!
The Cornish Rex cat breed dates back to the 1950s, to the county of Cornwall in the south-west of England. It was here that a farm cat gave birth to a litter of kittens, and one of the male kittens had a unique curly, cream coat that was extremely soft to the touch. This was the result of a genetic mutation, and with a little careful breeding, the Cornish Rex breed was born.
The breed came to North America in 1956, and was recognized by the The American Cat Fanciers Association and the Canadian Cat in 1963. The Cat Fanciers Association recognized it the following year.
Appearance and Personality of the Fun and Fiesty Cornish Rex Cats!
Cornish Rex cats are often described as the “greyhound” of the cat world, due to their lithe build, long, slender legs, arched back, long face, and small waist. These cats even run a bit like a Greyhound, with a long, galloping gait. In fact, the breed’s unique silhouette is almost as famous as its trademark curly fur. Another key trait for this breed are its large, bat-like ears, which tend to grow in during adolescence.
The Cornish Rex’s coat can come in a variety of patterns and colors, all of which are permissible in the breed standard. Solid black, white, brown and orange, as well as dilute lilac, blue and cream, are all common colors for Cornish Rex cats, which also come in all types of tabby, tortoiseshell, bicolor, “tuxedo” and color-point patterns. These cats’ eyes can be blue, gold, hazel, or green.
The Cornish Rex isn’t just similar to a greyhound in looks; this cat is often described as having a “dog-like” personality too. These energetic cats love to run and play—they will even play fetch! Similar to many dogs, these cats love being around humans, and don’t like to be left alone for too long. They usually get along well with children and other pets, so consider getting a playmate for a Cornish Rex if it’s going to be left alone.
A Maine Coon Cat with a Cornish Rex Cat: Who is the Maine Coon Rex?
The Maine Coon is one of the world’s largest breeds of domesticated cat. These amazing cats have long, thick fur that helps them to stay warm in the harsh New England winters. Like the Cornish Rex, Maine Coon cats have a friendly, “dog-like” nature and love to be around people, both playing and cuddling.
Some breeders have experimented with crossing Maine Coon cats with Cornish Rex cats to create a larger, hardier mix. However, these mixes have yet to catch on as popular pets, so watch this space.
5 Facts You Need to Know About these Slender Small Cat Breeds
- The name “Rex” comes from a breed of curly-haired rabbits that were originally bred by King Albert I of Belgium. He entered his rabbits into a rabbit show, but they did not meet breed standards. However, being a king has its perks, so these rabbits were entered under a new category, using the name “Rex”, which is Latin for “king.”
- The first ever Cornish Rex cat was called “Kallibunker”, and his son was named “Poldhu” after an area of Cornwall.
- The Cornish Rex’s tightly curled coat closely resembles an old-fashioned human hairstyle called Marcel waves. For this reason, these cats are sometimes nicknamed “Marcel cats”.
- It’s not just the coat of the Cornish Rex that’s curly: these cats also have curly eyebrows and whiskers!
- Cornwall is an area steeped in its own history and identity and even has its own ancient language. How about a traditional Cornish name for your Cornish Rex kitten? Consider Demelza, Eseld or Kerensa for a female, or Branok, Cador or Massen for a male.
But, are Rex Cats as Healthy as they Look?
The Cornish Rex is generally regarded as a fit and healthy cat breed. These cats usually live 11 to 15 years on average. However, all cat breeds have certain associated health concerns, and the Cornish Rex is no different. Due to their fine hair, these cats are much more susceptible to extremes of both cold and heat. They can also get sunburned if they spend too much time in direct sunlight, so most owners opt to keep them somewhere cool and shady in hot climates.
Cornish Rex cats are susceptible to congenital hypotrichosis, or hereditary baldness. This condition is thought to be linked to the same gene that causes their distinctive curly hair, but the exact cause isn’t known. Any Cornish Rex cat with less hair than normal is considered to have hereditary baldness. The breed is also prone to patellar luxation, where one or more kneecaps slide out of the correct position.
There are some conditions that are common in all cats, and the Cornish Rex is not immune to these. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the muscle in the heart, is one of the most common types of feline heart disease.
All responsible breeders will carry out gene testing before breeding two cats together, not only to avoid hereditary diseases but also to ensure that the curly-haired gene is passed on to future generations.
Grooming & Caring your Cornish Rex Kittens
Thanks to their short coats, Cornish Rex cats are very easy to groom. In fact, their delicate hair can easily be damaged with excessive brushing, so less really is more with this breed. As with all cats though, you will need to check their ears, eyes, and teeth regularly, and consult your veterinarian if you suspect anything is wrong.
Given their sensitivity to the sun and extreme temperatures, Cornish Rex cats are best kept as indoor cats. These cats are always seeking out a cozy spot to keep warm, so if you live in a cold house, consider investing in a heating pad. Remember, if you feel cold, your Cornish Rex cat is probably cold too!
Yes or No? Are Cornish Rex Hypoallergenic Cats?
Unfortunately, no cat breed can be truly hypoallergenic, even those with short or no fur. That’s because the chemical that causes allergies in the vast majority of people comes from the cat’s saliva, which gets onto the coat when the cat grooms itself. This dries into dust and is then shed, along with fur and dead skin, making a mix called dander. All cats clean themselves, including Cornish Rex cats and the hairless Sphynx cat, meaning that any cat can cause allergies.
With that being said, Cornish Rex cats do shed far less than other breeds, and some people find that cats which shed less do not affect their allergies in such a bad way. The best way to find out if a certain breed of cat will exacerbate your allergies is to spend some time with a cat of that breed, either at a breeder or at an animal shelter.
List of Cat Breeds Who Have an Awesome Personality like the Rex Kitty!
The Cornish Rex and the Maine Coon are not the only friendly, playful cat breeds that act like dogs. Here are some more cats for dog people:
- The beautiful white Turkish Angora cat loves to be around people all the time, whether it’s playing with you or curling up in your lap.
- The tailless Manx cat is famous for making itself a real member of the family. These adventurous cats love going on hikes and riding in cars—just like Fido!
- The stunning Abyssinian is possibly one of the most athletic and energetic cat breeds, and can easily be trained to walk on a leash.
- If lapdogs are more your thing, look no further than the silky-soft Ragdoll cat. These furry shadows love nothing more than to cuddle up to their humans on the sofa.
With a Loving and Playful Personality, it’s no Wonder that these Kitties Make great Emotional Support Animals!
Thanks to their friendly, outgoing, and playful personalities, Cornish Rex cats can make wonderful emotional support animals. These cats are confident and adventurous, meaning that they travel well on airplanes and will be happy to go on errands with you in the car.
They also enjoy meeting new people, and rarely show aggression, which is an important train in an emotional support animal. What’s even better is that these cats tend to keep their kittenish friendliness and affection throughout their whole lives, making them an excellent partner in adventure.
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