Selkirk Rex cat photo © copyright Helmi Flick

Origin

This breed is one of three breeds of Rex cats. The word “Rex” is a name that has through usage come to refer to the hair/fur of the cat (or for example a rabbit) that is different to the normal. The CFA considers this a natural breed as the mutation occurred naturally. Since discovery it cannot be said to be natural, however, due to selective breeding.

The Selkirk Rex cat differs from the Cornish and Devon in that the mutated gene that creates the wavy fur is a dominant gene. This cat breed commenced in 1987 in Montana, America (by Jeri Newman). One kitten of the litter of a rescue cat had the mutated gene (and therefore the wavy coat caused by this gene) and she was housed by a Persian cat breeder and named Miss DePesto.

Miss DePesto is the founding cat of this breed. Jeri says that the name “Selkirk” came from the mountain range in Wyoming. Selkirk is 60 miles south of Edinburgh in Scotland so that is probably the origin of the name of the Selkirk Mountains!


Selkirk Rex cat – Billy – photo © copyright Helmi Flick – the photo is a link to a supersize picture.

DateEvent
1987Breed commenced (see above)
pre-1990Accepted by TICA and ACFA for registration and exhibition
1990Imported into Switzerland
1990Introduced to the first CFA show
1992Accepted by CFA for registration (Shorthair class – Miscellaneous breed)
Feb.2002First importation of this cat breed into the UK
1994Awarded Championship status (full status) by TICA
CurrentChampion status with TICA, ACFA, ACA, UFO (United Feline Organization). CFA Provisional status.
2015No outcrossing allowed, all parents will the offspring of Selkirk Rex to Selkirk Rex (presumed TICA regulation – wrong? Please leave a comment.

Appearance

The mutant gene producing the rex coat is dominant. This means 50% of the offspring of a matting between the this cat breed and a non-curly cat breed will be Selkirk Rex cats.

There is no need to go into a long description thanks to Helmi’s photographs; except to add that unlike the other 2 Rexs the hair is of normal length (and therefore more noticeably curly – see photo) and all of the fur exists! (meaning there are three coats – guard, awn, and down hairs). Skip to details of the Devon Rex to see what I mean. See cat coats curly. This breed has two coat lengths and they compete in the show hall on that basis.

The breed has been developed into a solid and largish size breed with a round head with medium or long hair (see largest domestic cat breed). The face is a little like a Traditional Persian, rounded with a short muzzle. This is because in development is has been out crossed with American Shorthairs, Persians, Himalayans, Exotic Shorthair cats, and British Shorthairs (BSH). The breed is accepted by the TICA and CFA. All colors are acceptable for the coat.

See Selkirk Rex Longhair.

Selkirk Rex cat  photo © copyright Helmi Flick

Behavior

Bearing in mind the development of this breed (crossings with Persian and BSH) the Selkirk Rex cat has a nice temperament. She is laid back after the BSH and loving and cuddly like the Persian, with a touch of the playfulness of the Exotic Shorthair. I mean, just look at the pictures on this page and you can sense the character.They tell me “laid back” and patient, friendly etc.

Selkirk Rex cat  photo © copyright Helmi Flick

Health and Miscellaneous

This relates to the coat. Unlike for the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex this breed has fur that sheds as expected. As a result, for those who are allergic to cats this breed is perhaps more unsuitable than some other cats. Although it is cat dander than causes the allergic reaction and that is part saliva which is separate from hair length.

It would seem that some breeds may have been developed too far (modern Siamese for example, on occasions) causing health problems. That is not the case with this breed, but it does depend on the breeder as to the health of the cat. However, there are no outstanding health issues except for those mentioned below.

Note though that the Persian (from which this cat was developed) has a propensity to Polycystic Kidney Disease (see Persian cat health problems and Feline Kidney disease generally). This should be taken into consideration by the breeder and screened out. The British Shorthair has a propensity to suffer from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (see cat heart disease and Bengal cat and HCM). Once again this needs to be taken into account. See: Cat Health Problems. Buying/adopting options are quite limited as this is a cat breed that is quite rare (see rare cat breeds)

Sources:

  • Wikipedia
  • Breeder sites
  • Cat Fanciers sites
  • Own knowledge
  • (history)
  • http://www.petpublishing.com (history)

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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