The Selkirk Rex is a special cat with curly hair that makes it stand out. Unlike other curly hair cat, the curls of the Selkirk Rex are found all over its coat, even underneath. This gives its fur a thick and soft feel. The curls can be loose or tight, giving each cat a unique look. Apart from their beautiful coat, Selkirk Rex cats are also friendly and loving, making them great pets for families and individuals.
Origins and History
The Selkirk Rex breed has a relatively recent history, originating in Montana, USA, in 1987. The breed’s story began when a feral cat gave birth to a litter of kittens, one of which had an unusual curly coat. This kitten, named Miss DePesto, was adopted by a local breeder, Jeri Newman, who recognized the potential for a new breed. Newman bred Miss DePesto with a black Persian male, and the resulting litter included three kittens with the same unique curly fur, indicating that the gene was dominant. Newman named the breed after her stepfather, Selkirk, making it the first cat breed named after an individual.
The most striking feature of the Selkirk Rex is undoubtedly their plush, curly coat. This breed can come in both longhair and shorthair varieties, but both types feature the characteristic curls. The curls are most prominent on the belly, tail, and around the neck, giving the Selkirk Rex a teddy bear-like appearance.
The Selkirk Rex is a medium to large breed, with males typically weighing between 11-16 pounds and females between 6-12 pounds. They have a robust and muscular body, with a round head, full cheeks, and large, round eyes that can be any color. Their ears are medium-sized and set wide apart, often with tufts of fur at the tips.
Selkirk Rex’s Curly Hair Cat
The Selkirk Rex’s curly coat is the result of a genetic mutation that gives the hair a distinctive wave or curl. This mutation is dominant, meaning that if a cat inherits the gene from one parent, they will exhibit the curly coat. This is unlike the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex breeds, where the gene for the curly coat is recessive.
The curls of the Selkirk Rex extend beyond the topcoat and include the undercoat, resulting in a dense and plush feel to the fur. The coat’s texture can vary, with some cats displaying loose, flowing curls, while others exhibit a tighter, more defined curl pattern.
Variations in the Curly Coat
The Selkirk Rex breed includes both longhaired and shorthaired varieties. In the longhaired variety, the curls are often more pronounced, creating a ruffled appearance. The shorthaired Selkirk Rex, on the other hand, has a plush, woolly coat. Regardless of the hair length, the curls are most prominent on the belly, tail, and around the neck, contributing to the breed’s teddy bear-like appearance.
Interestingly, Selkirk Rex kittens are born with straight hair and develop their curls over time. The coat reaches its full curliness when the cat is around two years old.
Care for the Curly Coat
While the Selkirk Rex’s curly coat is undoubtedly beautiful, it does require some care to keep it looking its best. Regular brushing is necessary to prevent matting and tangles. However, over-grooming can cause the curls to lose their shape, so it’s a delicate balance.
To groom longhaired Selkirks, experts recommend using a wide-tooth comb to gently detangle the fur without disturbing the curls. Shorthaired Selkirks, on the other hand, can be groomed with a slicker brush to eliminate loose hair and maintain a neat coat.
Personality and Temperament
The Selkirk Rex is not just about looks; they have a personality that is as endearing as their appearance. They are known for their patient, loving, and playful nature. They are incredibly affectionate and enjoy spending time with their human companions, often following them around the house.
Despite their playful side, Selkirk Rex cats are also quite relaxed and easygoing. They are not as active or demanding as some other breeds, making them a great choice for families or individuals who want a companionable pet that isn’t overly high-energy.
Health and Care
The Selkirk Rex is generally a healthy breed, with a lifespan of 12-15 years. However, like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions. These include polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a condition inherited from their Persian ancestors, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a common heart disease in cats. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to ensure early detection and treatment of these conditions.
Caring for a Selkirk Rex’s coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangles. Owners should brush Shorthaired Selkirks once a week, while longhaired Selkirks may require brushing every few days. Despite the curly nature of their coat, Selkirk Rex cats do not require any special grooming techniques beyond regular brushing.
Training and Behavior
Selkirk Rex cats exhibit intelligence and can learn basic commands and tricks through training. They respond favorably to positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise. Additionally, they demonstrate excellent compatibility with other pets and children, making them an excellent choice for any family.
The Selkirk Rex community is a vibrant one, with breed enthusiasts often participating in cat shows and breed clubs. These events provide opportunities for owners to showcase their Selkirk Rex cats and connect with other owners and breeders. Many owners also advocate for responsible breeding practices to maintain the health and diversity of the breed.
The Selkirk Rex is a unique and charming breed that brings joy and companionship to their owners. Their distinctive curly coat and loving nature make them a standout in the feline world. The Selkirk Rex, with its teddy bear-like appearance and easygoing personality, is a breed that is sure to bring a touch of warmth and affection to any home. As with any pet, owning a Selkirk Rex comes with the responsibility to provide them with the care, love, and respect they deserve. In return, they offer unconditional love and companionship, making the journey of pet ownership a truly rewarding experience.