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Selkirk Rex Breed Profile

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Selkirk Rex Breed Profile

Selkirk Rex Cat | Breed Profile | Breed Description

The Selkirk Rex was developed from a natural mutation that arose in the United States in a litter of domestic kittens born in 1987. Selkirk Rex of today trace their ancestry back to Miss DePesto, a dilute tortie and white. It was accepted by several North American associations during the 1990s and was accepted for championship status in CFA in 2000.

One of the newest natural breeds, this naturally curly cat originated from a housecat, Miss DePesto of Noface, found in a shelter in Montana. Given to Persian breeder, Jeri Newman of Montana, who bred her to PhotoFinish of Deekay, a black Persian. “Pest” produced three curly kittens out of six – proving that unlike the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex, Pest’s mutation was dominant.


Because the gene is dominant, curly kittens can be born in the same litter with straight haired kittens.The Selkirk Rex is being developed as a large, heavy boned cat rather like the British Shorthair in conformation. The head is round with no flat planes. The curl is plush and loosely curled, showing up more dramatically on the longhair. Selkirks are healthy and sturdy. They are an incredibly patient, loving, and tolerant cats.

From the moment of birth, curly kittens can be distinguished from their straight haired littermates by their curly whiskers. The whiskers are brittle and may break as they grow longer. The whiskers and hair do not change as the cat grows older; if they are curly at birth, they are curly as an adult. Even if the coat later shows less curl, the cat has the curly gene and retains the curly whiskers.

A mature male or spayed female will have the best coat. In the best examples, the curling is strongest on the flanks, tummy and around the neck, with some curl on the back. The back of a Selkirk has the least amount of curl.

Selkirk Rexes come in two coat lengths: short and long. Each length has a separate division within the judging process. The care of the two different lengths of coats is similar to that of either a short or longhair coat. Brushing in either case should not be as frequent if the curly coat is to be maintained. Shampoos that do not coat the hair but leave the cat feeling silky and clean are the best to allow the hairs to curl.

This breed is not for the uptight organized pet owner. These cats’ humans must be prepared to take all kinds of hair jokes such as: “The cat with the bad hair day.” “Why don’t you groom your cat,” or “This cat is our dip and dry variety.” Such comments lead to the hidden secret: they make you laugh. Although they may not always win the beauty pageant, they always win the title of Miss Congeniality.

Selkirk Rex owners are consistently stopped by people with anxious hands wanting to pet and feel this soft, plush pet. The fortunate humans are those who can take these live teddy cats home for cuddles and hugs.~ Fred Weaver