Breed Name

Selkirk Rex

Alternate Names

Sheep Cat, Poodle Cat

Selkirk Rex
Photo by Ludemeula Fernandes on Unsplash

The Selkirk Rex cat breed is a truly unique and captivating feline with its distinctive curly coat and charming personality. This breed, also known as the cat with the “bad hair day,” has gained popularity among cat enthusiasts around the world. In this article, we will delve into the history, physical characteristics, personality traits, and care requirements of the Selkirk Rex, as well as explore common health issues, adoption options, and its presence in popular culture.

History and Origin of the Selkirk Rex

The Selkirk Rex breed traces its roots back to a chance discovery in Montana, United States, in 1987. A local shelter found a curly-haired kitten named Miss DePesto, who had a unique coat unlike any other cat. This unusual genetic mutation caught the attention of a Persian cat breeder, Jeri Newman, who decided to breed Miss DePesto and study this fascinating trait further. Through careful breeding, Newman established the Selkirk Rex breed, named after her stepfather, Selkirk, who had a similar curly hair.

Physical Characteristics of the Selkirk Rex

One of the most striking features of the Selkirk Rex is its curly coat, which sets it apart from other cat breeds. Unlike the tight curls of the Devon Rex or the wavy curls of the Cornish Rex, the Selkirk Rex sports loose, plush curls that give it a teddy bear-like appearance. The coat can be both long and short, with a dense and soft texture that begs to be touched. The curls are present all over the body, including the whiskers, giving the Selkirk Rex a truly unique and endearing look.

In addition to its curly coat, the Selkirk Rex has a robust and muscular body. It has a medium to large size, with a broad chest and a sturdy frame. The head is round and full, with prominent cheeks and large, expressive eyes. The ears are medium-sized and set wide apart, adding to the overall balance and harmony of the breed’s appearance. The Selkirk Rex comes in a variety of colors and patterns, including solid, tabby, tortoiseshell, and pointed, allowing for a wide range of aesthetic preferences.

Personality Traits of the Selkirk Rex

Beneath its charming exterior, the Selkirk Rex possesses a heartwarming and affectionate personality. Known for being gentle, loving, and sociable, this breed thrives on human companionship and enjoys being the center of attention. Selkirk Rex cats are often described as “people-oriented” and form strong bonds with their owners. They are known to be tolerant and patient, making them an excellent choice for families with children or other pets.

Despite their affectionate nature, Selkirk Rex cats are also independent and have a playful streak. They enjoy interactive toys and games, and their intelligence and curiosity make them quick learners. This breed is highly adaptable and can adjust well to different living environments, making them suitable for both apartments and larger homes. They are not particularly vocal cats but will communicate their needs through gentle purring and soft chirps.

Caring for a Selkirk Rex Cat

The unique coat of the Selkirk Rex requires regular grooming to keep it healthy and tangle-free. While the curls may seem low-maintenance, they can become prone to matting if not properly cared for. Brushing the coat at least once a week with a wide-toothed comb or a soft brush is recommended to prevent tangles and remove loose hair. Bathing should be done occasionally using a mild cat shampoo to keep the coat clean and shiny.

Due to their plush and cuddly appearance, Selkirk Rex cats are prone to weight gain if not provided with a balanced diet and regular exercise. It is essential to provide them with a high-quality cat food that meets their nutritional needs. Regular playtime and interactive toys can help keep them physically and mentally stimulated. It is also important to schedule regular veterinary check-ups and vaccinations to ensure their overall health and well-being.

Common Health Issues in the Selkirk Rex Breed

Like any other breed, the Selkirk Rex is susceptible to certain health conditions. One of the primary concerns is polycystic kidney disease (PKD), which is an inherited disorder that affects the kidneys. Responsible breeders perform genetic testing to minimize the occurrence of PKD in their breeding lines. Additionally, regular dental care is crucial for Selkirk Rex cats, as their unique curly coat can sometimes affect the condition of their teeth and gums. Keeping up with dental cleanings and providing appropriate chew toys can help maintain their oral health.

Selkirk Rex Cat Breeders and Adoption Options

If you have fallen in love with the Selkirk Rex and are considering adding one to your family, there are several options available for finding a reputable breeder or adopting a rescue. It is important to do thorough research and choose a breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their cats. Reputable breeders will provide you with health certificates, genetic testing results, and proper socialization of the kittens.

Alternatively, adoption can be a fulfilling way to welcome a Selkirk Rex into your life. Many rescue organizations and shelters have these beautiful cats available for adoption. By adopting, you are giving a deserving cat a second chance at a loving home. It is important to ask questions about the cat’s background, temperament, and any specific care requirements to ensure a successful adoption.

Selkirk Rex Cat Breed in Popular Culture

The unique and captivating appearance of the Selkirk Rex has caught the attention of artists, photographers, and filmmakers alike. These curly-coated felines have made appearances in various commercials, movies, and television shows, further enhancing their popularity and charm. Their distinctive look and affectionate nature make them a favorite subject for photographers and cat lovers worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Selkirk Rex Breed

Q: Are Selkirk Rex cats hypoallergenic?

A: While no cat is truly hypoallergenic, the Selkirk Rex breed is known to produce fewer allergenic proteins compared to other cat breeds. However, individual reactions may vary, so it is recommended to spend time with a Selkirk Rex or consult an allergist before bringing one home.

Q: How long do Selkirk Rex cats live?

A: On average, Selkirk Rex cats have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. With proper care, nutrition, and regular veterinary check-ups, they can live long and healthy lives.

Q: Do Selkirk Rex cats require special care for their curly coat?

A: Yes, the curly coat of the Selkirk Rex requires regular grooming to prevent matting. Brushing the coat at least once a week and occasional bathing will help keep their fur in top condition.

Is the Selkirk Rex the Right Cat Breed for You?

The Selkirk Rex cat breed is a delightful combination of unique physical characteristics and an endearing personality. Its curly coat and loving nature make it a truly special addition to any family. However, owning a Selkirk Rex requires a commitment to regular grooming and proper care to ensure their well-being. If you are ready to provide the love and attention that this breed deserves, then the Selkirk Rex may be the perfect cat breed for you.

If you are considering adding a Selkirk Rex to your family, remember to choose a reputable breeder or consider adoption from a rescue organization.

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Sima Ndlebe

Sima Ndlebe


Sima writes for CatBuzz. He is interested in Cats, Health and Fitness, and Entrepreneurship.

Published: 10 October 2023

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