Cornish Rex Cat Breed Title

Photo Credit: Adam via Flickr

Looking for a cat that has the looks of a runway model and the heart of a clown? A Cornish Rex cat might be the right one for you! These amazing kitties know how to steal hearts and stand out in a crowd.

Some of the best things happen by accident!

No one ever expected the beginning of the Cornish Rex breed. In 1950 in Cornwall, England, a tortishell and white, mixed breed barn cat named Serena gave birth to a litter of kittens. For the most part the litter of kittens was unremarkable. However, there was one kitten that stood out from the rest. This kitten was red and white with tight curly hair and distinctively different body shape. His was the product of a spontaneous genetic mutation.

The Cornish Rex Cat Breed - CRX Ewan Magic Star

Photo Credit : Nickolas Titkov via Flickr

Acting on some advice she had received, Ennismore contacted British geneticist A.C. Jude for some advice. Jude’s advice was to breed Kallibunker back to his mother, Serena. Ennismore took the advice and Serena gave birth to 3 kittens, one with straight hair and 2 with curly hair. Only one of the two curly haired kittens survived long enough to help continue the new breed. It turned out that the gene that gave the cats the curly hair and distinctive body was a recessive gene (both parents must have it for the kitten to have it). Due to the very limited number of Cornish Rex cats, the breed was outcrossed with other breeds : Burmese, Siamese,  British domestic Shorthair, American Shorthair, and Havana Brown.

In 1956 the Cornish Rex began to garner a lot of attention because of an article done on them in Life Magazine. It was this article that interested American breeder Frances Blancheri in the breed. The first Cornish Rex cats were brought to the United States in 1957. They’ve been a hit ever since!

The Cornish Rex Curls & Curves

The Cornish Rex Cat Breed - CRX Holly Argentiera

Photo Credit: Nickolas Titkov via Flickr

The Cornish Rex’s curly hair is its most identifiable trait. The hair is short, keeping the tight curls close to the cat’s body. Their eye brows and whiskers can be curly too! Since this breed lacks a outer layer of hair (guard hairs), the hair is super soft. When you touch a Cornish Rex’s body, it seems to be warmer than other cats because of how close your hand is to their skin. The coat can be found in any color or pattern since the breed was created by mixing together so many different breeds. Occassionally, this hair can become greasy due to the natural oils in the cat’s skin. Regular bathing can get rid of the grease.

Despite the myths about this cat, it does shed, though not as heavily as some other breeds. This is not a hypoallergenic cat breed as such a breed does not exist. Humans that are allergic to cats are actually allergic to a protein called Fel D1, which is found in the cat’s bodily fluids. It is associated with the cat’s hair because it is deposited on the cat’s skin when the cat grooms, it dries, and then flakes off when hair or skin come off of the cat. The Cornish Rex does seem to cause less of a reaction in allergic people though.

Curly hair isn’t the only thing that can help you identify a Cornish Rex cat. Their spine is curved rather than straight, giving them a curved profile. They are very elegant looking with their barrel shaped chest and their long thin legs and tail. To top it all off, they have an egg-shaped head with high, distinct cheek bones, almond-shaped eyes, and large, bat-like ears.

There are a few potential genetic medical issues in the Cornish Rex breed. First is heart disease, more specifically enlargement of the heart wall. Second is thyroid problems.Third is a luxating patella which means knee caps that don’t stay in place (this is a painful condition). When you add a Cornish Rex cat to your family, you should have a veterinarian test for these conditions. If the cat is found to have one of these, a plan for treatment and management can be put together.

The Greyhound of the Cat World

The Cornish Rex Cat Breed - Tunnels

Photo Credit: Anna-Stina Takala via Flickr

The Cornish Rex is an sophisticated looking ball of energy! They have become known as the Greyhounds of the cat world first because of the similarities in their look and because of the energetic way they love to run around. These cats are super agile and always willing to play. One of their favorite games is fetch! A Cornish Rex may not be the cat for you if you are looking for a calm, slow paced kitty. Cornish Rex cats keep their kitten-like playfulness their whole lives.

These kitties are definitely the life of the party! Cornish Rex cats love being around people and being the center of attention. They thrive on social interaction and are not fond of being left alone for long periods at a time. Having 2 of these kitties to keep each other company is advised. They are great with dogs and other animals as well as human children.

Considering adding a Cornish Rex cat to your family? Check out all of the adoptable Cornish Rex cats on Petfinder!

Have you ever known a Cornish Rex cat?

Sources & Digging Deeper

Cornish Rex – CFA

Cornish Rex – TICA

Cats 101: Cornish Rex – Animal Planet

Cornish Rex – PetFinder

Cornish Rex – Vet Street