The Cornish Rex is a study in curves, with curly coat,
curved profile, large expressive ears, and Whippetlike
arched bodies. In spite of their sophisticated, elegant
appearance, they are anything but cool, aloof, or dignified.
They are affectionate, people-oriented, and active cats
whose kitten-like antics last a lifetime. Favorite Cornish
Rex games are fetch and catch, and they may even use their
agile paws to pick up and toss small objects. Belying its
fragile appearance, the Cornish Rex is a very sturdy breed.
They are perfect pets for the owner who wants active cats
to participate in family life.
The most striking feature of the breed is its very noticeably
curly coat. Ideally falling in marcel waves, the coat is very
short, lies close to the body, and is incredibly soft to the
touch, prompting comparisons to cut velvet, karakul
lamb, rabbit fur, or silk. In fact, nothing else feels exactly
like a Cornish Rex coat.
In addition to the coat, this breed is remarkable for its
distinct egg-shaped head with high cheekbones, hollow
cheeks, a strongly bridged Roman nose, and large ears
set high on the head. The body has been compared to
that of a Whippet, with its arched back, barrel chest,
small waist, and very fine, long legs. In spite of their
dainty appearance, these small to medium sized cats are
extremely hard-bodied and muscular, using their welldeveloped
hips and long legs for fast starts and stops,
quick turns, and high jumps.
Because of the Cornish Rex’s short, fine textured coat,
some people mistakenly believe that they do not shed and
are hypoallergenic. In fact, all cats are constantly renewing
their coats as old hairs are replaced by new ones. By
comparison to some other breeds, Cornish Rex shedding
is minimal, but they do indeed shed.
Although otherworldly in appearance, Cornish Rex cats
originated in Cornwall, England, where one first appeared
in a litter of barn cats in 1950. A cream-colored male,
named Kallibunker, was covered in tight rows of tiny
curls, giving him the appearance of a miniature lamb.
As he grew, his differences from his littermates became
more dramatic: a slender, fine-boned body standing on
long legs, a narrow head, enormous “bat ears,” and a long,
whippy tail. Kallibunker was a genuine mutation and was
bred back to his mother to produce curly kittens. The
curly coated cats were bred with Burmese, Siamese, and
British domestic shorthair cats, resulting in a broad genetic
base for the Cornish Rex breed and the knowledge that the
gene was recessive.
In selecting a Cornish Rex kitten, consider what
characteristics are most important to you and discuss
them with the breeder, who usually knows each kitten
and can help match you with the right one. Kittens are
usually available around sixteen weeks of age, by which
time they have had their basic inoculations and developed
the physical and social stability needed for a new
environment. Cornish Rex pricing usually depends on
type, applicable marking, and bloodlines distinguished by
Grand Champion (GC), National or Regional winning
parentage (NW or RW), or Distinguished Merit parentage
(DM). Keeping such a rare treasure indoors, neutering or
spaying, and providing acceptable surfaces for the natural
behavior of scratching (CFA disapproves of declawing
or tendonectomy surgery) are essential to maintaining a
healthy, long, and joyful life.
For more information, please contact the Breed Council Secretary for this breed.