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Selkirk Rex

An Extremely Funny-Looking Cat with the Funky Hair

Selkirk Rex

Antonia Cirjak - Last Updated on January 28th, 2021

Things you Should Know about the Selkirk Rex

It is quite rare for curly-coated cats to appear naturally, and they are most likely a result of a spontaneous genetic mutation. The Selkirk Rex is one such breed. 

These are easygoing and tolerant cats, first developed from a curly-coated cat found in a shelter in 1987. They got their name from the nearby Selkirk Mountains.

Selkirk Rex cats are one of the newest natural curly cats and have a large, dense body, reminiscent of the British Shorthair. Selkirk Rex kittens are people-oriented, and this breed, in general, gets along well with people, other cats, and dogs.

Adult cats can adapt to almost any situation and are extremely patient. Selkirk Rex cats are intelligent, clever and entertaining, and are relatively healthy.

Selkirk Rex

Appearance Matters. What does a Selkirk Rex look like?

The Selkirk Rex is a medium-to-large cat, and it shares similar traits with other cats from the “rex” class. These are breeds with a genetic mutation for curly or wavy hair. Some other such breeds include the Cornish Rex or the Devon Rex.

Selkirk Rex cats are sturdy like the Devon and solid like the Cornish. However, their bodies are not quite as slim as those two and are generally stockier. They also have more rounded faces.

Many people compare the Selkirk Rex to a curly British Shorthair because of the stockiness. Their legs can be especially stocky. However, they are a unique breed.

The thing these cats are most famous for is their plush, curly hair. It has earned them the nickname “the cat in sheep’s clothing.The Selkirk Rex has its curly whiskers and flowing curls since birth. Still, despite the curly-haired gene being dominant, not all cats are born curly.

They also have full cheeks, medium-sized ears that sometimes have curly furnishings, and large eyes. This gives them a sweet expression.

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Longhaired Selkirk Rex

You may not notice the difference between the longhairs and shorthairs at first. However, you should observe the ruff and the tail. Shorthaired Selkirks have a ruff that is the same length as the fur on the rest of their body. The curls on the tail lie compactly. 

On the other hand, a longhaired Selkirk Rex has a longer ruff around the face, and the curls on the tail are plumy and stand out. No matter the length, the coat has a curly appearance, especially around the neck, belly, and tail.

Some Selkirks have straight hair. Long-haired Selkirk Rex cats have long ringlets, and short-haired ones have tighter curls. Their physical traits are often compared to a teddy bear, which makes them popular pets. 

What colors do the Selkirk Rex cats come in?

The coat of a Selkirk Rex cat can come in any genetically possible color or combination of colors, according to the breed standard. You will find a Selkirk in any pattern that is possible in other cat breeds. 

Here are some of the most popular coat colors:

  • White
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Fawn
  • Cinnamon
  • Red
  • Shaded Silver
  • Golden Chinchilla
Selkirk Rex

It's all Personal. The Selkirk Rex Temperament

Selkirk Rex cats are patient, tolerant, and loving. These cats like to cuddle and are extremely playful. However, they won’t demand your attention and are generally not too active. Don’t expect them to wear you out. 

Also, these are outgoing cats that will get along well with other people.

Expect the Selkirk Rex kittens to get along well with children and cat-friendly dogs. They are known for their silly, playful side, but they also love being lap cats. The sounds they make are not loud, and they make for a nice company when you want some peace and silence.

They won’t ask for your attention, but don’t leave them alone for longer periods. You shouldn’t ignore them either; they won’t like that. These cats are quite smart and can learn to open doors or drawers.

You should teach them tricks to develop their intelligence further. Give them puzzle toys and reward them when they manage to manipulate them successfully.

Caring for your Selkirk Rex

Selkirk cat kittens are born curly. By the time they reach six months, they will lose their curls and grow in a sparse, straight coat. However, when they reach maturity, they will develop a thick and soft coat. Their coat feels sort of like lambswool. 

There are also Selkirks with straight coats that can be born in the same litter as those with curly coats.

You should brush their coat several times per week to prevent tangles and get rid of dead hair. You should consult with the breeder, and they should show you the correct technique. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you might stretch out the curls.

Other than that, caring for Selkirks is quite basic. Trim their nails and brush their teeth regularly, and you’re good.

Some people claim that this breed is hypoallergenic because of its texture. However, that is not true. Allergies are caused by dander, which is dead skin cells. They have nothing to do with the texture of the coat. All cats shed dander, so no breed is completely hypoallergenic.

Selkirk Rex

The Health and Happiness of your Selkirk Rex

The lifespan of a Selkirk Rex is around 14 years, and they are generally healthy cats. 

However, some health problems sometimes do occur. This is because they can be outcrossed to Exotic Shorthairs, British Shorthairs, or Persians

The problems that can appear include hip dysplasia, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and kidney disease.

Polycystic kidney disease is a hereditary condition that causes degeneration of the kidneys. This can affect one or both kidneys. Usually, you can notice the signs of illness between 7 and 10 years of age, although it can appear much earlier in some cats.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common form of heart disease among cats. This disease causes thickening of the heart muscle. You can confirm if your cat has HCM by taking it to an echocardiogram. 

Finally, hip dysplasia is a hereditary defect of the hip socket. This condition can be mild, which will cause only minimal pain, or it can eventually lead to severe lameness. A Selkirk Rex suffering from hip dysplasia may move slowly or avoid jumping altogether. 

Feline History. Where does the Selkirk Rex come from?

The Selkirk Rex made its first appearance in Montana in 1987. They were named after the stepfather of the original breeder.

These cats’ curls result from a natural mutation found in a litter of kittens produced by a white cat and a blue tortoise cat. This curly-haired kitten also had the curly whiskers that are the trademark of the Selkirk.

A woman adopted this kitten and named her Miss DePesto. She discovered that she had uniquely curly hair and concluded that it could be the source of a new mutant rex gene.

Unique to the Selkirk Rex, the gene for curly hair is dominant and not recessive. This makes it different from other cat breeds, like the Cornish or Devon. This breed gained popularity quickly and was recognized by TICA in 1990.

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