Categories: Selkirk Rex

The Cat in Sheep’s Clothing

Appearing in Wyoming in 1987, “The Cat in Sheep’s Clothing” entered the world of cat breeders and was quickly developed as a new Rex breed. I’m referring to the Selkirk Rex. This is a relatively rare cat breed. I am somewhat surprised that it is not more popular because as you can see from the photograph by Helmi Flick on this page, visually it is an attractive breed. The coat is unusual and standout.

Shelly Frank’s Selkirk Rex photographed at CFA’s New Vision Cat Show in Lawrenceville, GA, May, 2017. Photo copyright Helmi Flick

This breed has the characteristic curly coat and curled whiskers of a Rex cat. The body is slightly bulky with a rectangular, muscular body. The head is rounded and wide and the muzzle short. The ears are relatively small compared to other Rex cats. Coarse guard hairs are present and curled, as are the awn and down hairs.

The development of the coat is interesting. Selkirk kittens are born with curly coats but it disappears at about six months. It is then replaced by a temporary covering of sparse, wiry hair. At about 10 months of age the plush coat that you see in the photograph appears.

The first Selkirk Rex, was spotted, as mentioned above, in 1987. She was a curly-coated calico (tortie-and-white) kitten within a normal, straight-haired litter of random bred kittens. The mother was also straight-haired. They had been left at an animal shelter because they were unwanted.

The unusual kitten was adopted by a Montana breeder of pedigree Persian cats and the development of a new breed had begun. The name “Selkirk” comes from the Selkirk Mountains in Wyoming which is near to the spot where the foundation cat, subsequently named Ms De Presto, had been discovered.

The genetic mutation causing the curly coat is dominant. In August 1990, two American cat associations recognised the new breed. Breeders like to describe the personality of this cat as patient, tolerant, laid-back, cuddly and playful. Personally, I take descriptions of breed personalities with a pinch of salt but you can disagree with me if you like.

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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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