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.
Pricing on Selkirk Rexes usually depends on type, applicable
markings and bloodlines distinguished by Grand Champion
(GC), National Regional winning parentage (NW or RW)
or of Distinguished Merit parentage (DM). The DM title
is achieved by the dam (mother) having produced five CFA
grand champion/premier (alter) or DM offspring, or sire
(father) having produced fifteen CFA grand champion/
premier or DM offspring. Usually breeders make kittens
available between twelve and sixteen weeks of age. After
twelve weeks, kittens have had their basic inoculations and
developed the physical and social stability needed for a
new environment, showing, or being transported by air.
Keeping such a rare treasure indoors, neutering or spaying
and providing acceptable surfaces (e.g. scratching posts)
for the natural behavior of scratching (CFA disapproves of
declawing or tendonectomy surgery) are essential elements
for maintaining a healthy, long and joyful life.
For more information, please contact the Breed Council Secretary for this breed.