by Franklin Whittenburg
The Tennessee Rex (T-Rex) is a naturally occurring recessive mutation that appeared in some feral kittens discovered in Tennessee in 2004.
The mutation has been named “Satin” and has attached itself to a new recessive rex gene. The natural combination of the satin and rex genes are together called the Tennessee Rex mutation.
The satin effect causes the curly fur to sparkle like it has been sprinkled with “gold dust”. The effect is stunning when seen in real life.
Update by Michael@PoC:
In Tennessee, in the summer of 2004, the semi-feral female cat that brought her curly haired kittens to Whittenburg’s back porch in search of a safe place for her newly born kittens chose well.
She hid them behind a chest freezer; not a particularly safe place but away from a local feral tom cat. Franklin Whittenburg took them in, had them checked out and cleaned up and the journey of the Tennessee rex cat breed had begun. The rex coat is another, but special example, of a naturally occurring mutation of the rex gene.
I guess Frank knew from early on that this was a special cat as the fur was not only curly (caused by the mutated rex gene that we are familiar with in cats such as the Devon Rex and LaPerm, for example); it also glittered, not like a Bengal cat’s glitter (highly desirable) but in a new satin effect. This may be caused by a unique genetic mutation in the domestic cat.
The hair shafts of the Tennessee Rex cat are not smooth but almost like a cut diamond. This irregular surface reflects and I presume refracts the light passing through it to give this extraordinary gold dust effect. The hair not only looks fascinating it is also soft to the touch.
The coat has all three types of fur, guard, awn and down, but the top layer of protective guard hairs are softer than usual. This cat has a great tail too, which when in the upright position the fur expands to the width of the cat. In short a full plumed tail.
The rex coat can be rather fragile and thin. With the Tennessee Rex the fur can be thinner in the area between the ears and eyes than is normal in kittens but the breed does not, it seems, suffer from the same baldness problems encountered with the other rex cats. Although the whiskers, as for all rex cats, are fragile and some may break.
This cat is medium to large is size and gentle, loving and attentive in nature.
Registration and Recognition
This cat is still very new on the scene and is not yet registered with the main associations such as the CFA, TICA and ACFA. The breed is in the early stages of development and is considered an experimental breed.