The first Selkirk Rex came from Montana in 1987 and is named in honor of the breeder’s stepfather. The gorgeous curls from the Selkirk Rex came from a natural mutation between a white cat and a blue tortoise cat. It was the only kitten curly-haired and had curly whiskers, which the Selkirk cats are known for today.
But all the kitten’s siblings had just regular coats. There weren’t any curly-haired cats in the surrounding area, so it was thought that this kitten was a new source of the mutant rex gene.
The Selkirk Rex female was bred to a black Persian male. She gave birth to six kittens, with just three of them having curly hair. This proved that the mutation gene was the dominant gene.
These cats have a unique curly-haired coat, and they are sometimes described as looking like a stuffed animal. There are only four curly-haired cat breeds so far, with the Selkirk Rex being one of the four. The other curly-haired cat breeds are Devon Rex, the Cornish Rex, and the LaPerm.
Your cat is sturdy like a Devon but solidly built like the Cornish Rex. Your cat may resemble a curly British Shorthair because of her having stocky legs. But her body is a lot stockier than either the Devon or the Cornish. Her muzzle is medium width, but with the well-padded whisker pads, it can give your cat the appearance of squareness.
This is a medium-sized to large size cat which can weigh in between six and sixteen pounds. The females are somewhat on the smaller side. The eyes are rounded, large, and set well apart but not almond or oval-shaped. Plus, the eyes can be any color.
This breed’s unique curly hair is what earned them their interesting nickname, “the cat in sheep’s clothing.” While the curly-haired gene is a dominant gene and the original Selkirk Rex had curly whiskers and loose ringlets from day one, they were not born that way.
In fact, Selkirk Rex have perfectly straight hair when they are born. A specimen with short hair has curls that are much shorter and tighter. The ones that have long hair have long ringlets, but these cats require little grooming even with all that hair.
The coat could come in any of these varieties of colors: Chocolate, cinnamon, brown, sable, lavender, silver, black, ebony, fawn, gray, blue, lilac, white, cream, beige, tan, red, or orange. The coat may also be a combination of bi-color, tabby, tricolor, color point, or just plain solid.
Personality and Behavior Traits
Selkirk Rex are widely known for their loving personality. It’s not uncommon for them to shadow you around the house until you figure out what it is that she wants. She’s not too demanding or overly persistent, but you may find that she loves to snuggle up to you when you’re sitting on the couch or anywhere that you’re sitting. A Selkirk Rex has a fun, clownish, and silly side. But your cat will also quietly chatter with you.
These are extremely intelligent cats and will definitely become bored if not challenged by toys or otherwise entertained. Your cat will need assorted outlets like scratching posts, interactive toys, toy food puzzles, and other fun things to do.
Selkirk Rex cats have a gentle and social nature, and they enjoy being around older children, your friends, and even other household pets. These cats are very well suited for a home with an owner that will interact with them, provide them the care they need, and love them.
You’ll need to give your cat a thorough combing once a week. However, don’t use a brush on her coat, or you’ll lose her luxurious silky waves, or you’ll give your cat a bad case of the frizzies. If you do decide to bathe your Selkirk, don’t use thick shampoo. This is because it will cause her coat to flatten out. Plus, you’ll have a lot of trouble rinsing all of it out of her fur.
Why you should adopt a Selkirk Rex
This breed is highly popular among people that seek a low-shedding and somewhat hypoallergenic cat. But remember, no cat is truly hypoallergenic. These cats also have an amicable temperament and a calm personality. Plus, they are very social, and of course, a Selkirk Rex has that gorgeous fur!
The cons are these cats are extremely popular, so finding one may be difficult. On top of that, when you do find one, they can be costly. Also, with the grooming issue, sometimes it’s difficult to decide whether you’re over or under-grooming them. There is also a lack of genetic history of this breed because it is so new.
If you’re looking for a cat that looks like a stuffed animal and has a gentle, sweet personality, then the Selkirk Rex is your cat!
The Selkirk Rex, like most purebred cats, can have some health issues. Most are hereditary genetic conditions passed from the breeds which make up a Selkirk. Examples of some of these types of diseases are:
- Polycystic kidney disease or PKD: It’s a serious condition that comes from cysts that have been on the kidneys since birth and can cause problems. Your cat’s kidney function can be affected, which may eventually lead to kidney failure. This disease is most common in Persian cats breeds and exotic cat breeds.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM: It’s a disease that causes the heart muscle in your cat to become thick.
- Hip dysplasia: This happens when a hip socket doesn’t fully cover the ball portion of a cat’s upper thighbone. Your cat’s hip joint will eventually become wholly or partially dislocated. Hip dysplasia is most common in Persian breeds, and this breed is part of the Selkirk Rex’s origin.
You can check local rescues that specialize in Selkirks for adoption.
Buying a purebred Selkirk Rex from a breeder is expensive. It will cost you between $600 to $1,500, depending on which breeder you buy from.