Cornish Rex Cat: Characteristics, Personality, and Breed Information

Compare Breed
Cornish Rex
United Kingdom
Adult weight
6-9 pounds
Life Span
9-13+ years
Extroverted, comical, affectionate, inquisitive
Other Names
The Greyhound of Cats
Small to medium-sized shorthair
Affection Level
? Breeds with a high affection level want to give and receive a lot of attention, while less-affectionate breeds are not as interested in petting and snuggles.
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Activity Level
? Breeds with high activity levels will engage more in active play and demand more space and attention.
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? How well the breed tends to get along with cats, dogs, and other pets.
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? Breeds with a higher rating in this area tend to be gentle and patient, while lower-rated breeds may feel uncomfortable with children.
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? Breeds with a higher sociability rating will want to spend time with you all day, while less-sociable breeds seldom seek out human interaction.
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? Breeds with higher intelligence ratings are more curious, investigative, and easy to train. Less-intelligent breeds are less trainable but often laid-back and easygoing.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area have strong hunting instincts that make them great playtime companions.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area are able to spend hours alone, while less-independent breeds require plenty of attention.
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? A higher rating in this area indicates a breed prone to plenty of meowing and other vocalizations, while less-vocal breeds are happy to stay quiet.
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? Breeds with higher grooming scores require more maintenance like brushing and bathing, while lower-scored breeds are virtually maintenance-free.
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Personality and Temperament

With their soft, curly coats and slim, elegant frames, Cornish Rex cats are completely different from other breeds. These delightful cats require a little bit of special care to keep their velvety fur in tip-top shape; in return, they offer their owners an abundance of affection. Cornish Rex cats are playful and active, with extroverted personalities.

They love to be in the middle of everything, and they have a tendency to make friends with everyone they encounter. If you're looking for a lap cat, you're in luck! The Cornish Rex loves to cuddle—partly because their short, downy coat simply doesn't hold much heat and partly because the breed is exceptionally sociable.

Because their coat doesn't offer much protection from UV rays from the sun in the summer or keep them warm in the winter, Cornish Rex cats should live indoors. Even inside, they might appreciate a warm sweater in the coldest winter months.

About the Cornish Rex Cat
Pavel105 /
Cornish Rex Cat Care
Liliya Kulianionak /










Cornish Rex cats have no special nutritional needs. We recommend feeding a high-quality diet with real meat as the number one ingredient.

You might think that Cornish Rex cats require minimal care due to their ultra-short coats. It's true that these fascinating felines shed very little, but they require bathing as their coats do not absorb the oils from their skin the same way the average cat's coat does.

Most Cornish Rex cats need a warm bath every week or two. If you choose one of these cats, it's important to introduce them to bathing from a very young age. Their coats dry quickly, but you'll need to keep them warm until they dried completely.

Just like other cats, the Cornish Rex breed benefits from regular dental care with daily teeth brushing at home and annual dental checkups at the vet. Trim their nails every few weeks.

These cats are extremely athletic with long, lithe bodies. They're naturally playful, with an appreciation for running, jumping, and climbing. Treat them to a cat tree, a window seat, and a wide selection of toys. Without these essentials, the Cornish Rex will find their own fun, climbing furniture and stealing small objects to bat about the house.

Cornish Rex cats enjoy good health in general. Skin conditions can develop without proper care and some of these cats are prone to developing bald spots.

Because the coat is very sparse, Cornish Rex can get sunburned if they go outdoors. Keep your Cornish Rex cat indoors in the summer months when sun exposure is most intense or apply a pet-safe sunscreen.

Cornish Rex cats can develop a musculoskeletal disease called patellar luxation. Some are prone to heart disease, with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) being a known issue.

Some genetic lines have a predisposition toward deafness, and this condition is more prevalent in pure white Cornish Rex cats than in those with different-colored coats.


The Cornish Rex cat breed is the product of a natural genetic mutation. The breed got its start in Cornwall, England, when a barn cat gave birth to an unusual kitten in 1950. The kitten, later named Kallibunker (Kalli for short), had a short, curly, red-and-white coat. His owner, Nina Ennismore, bred him back to his mother twice. Both of the resulting litters contained curly-haired kittens.

Later, feline geneticists discovered that Rex cats are produced only when both parents have the recessive gene. Other breeds were eventually introduced into the breeding program, including Burmese, Siamese, and British Shorthair cats. Even though the resulting kittens had short coats with normal hair, they all carried the recessive gene and subsequent breedings typically produced kittens with the short, curly coats that make these cats so remarkable.

Cornish Rex cats were brought to the United States in 1957. The breed was granted official recognition by the American Cat Fanciers' Association and the Canadian Cat Association in 1963. The Cat Fanciers' Association gave the breed its stamp of approval in 1964. Today, the Cornish Rex has gained worldwide popularity and is recognized by all cat registries.

Cornish Rex Cat History
Jenni Ferreira /
About the Cornish Rex Cat
polya_olya /


The eyes are oval shaped with a slight upward tilt. They are medium to large in size, and set a full eye's width apart.

Legs & Paws

The legs are long, slender, and fine-boned. The paws display dainty character and are oval shaped.


A Cornish Rex cat's tail is long and slender, with a distinct taper toward the end. It complements the cat's overall structure.

The Breed Standard


The Cornish Rex cat is small to medium-sized, with a long, slim body. Despite their smallish stature, these cats are well muscled, with rounded rumps and slim shoulders.


The head is medium and egg shaped, rising from a medium, slender neck. High, prominent cheekbones and a strong, well-developed chin complement the cat's narrow muzzle. Cornish Rex cats have a Roman nose that is one-third the length of the head.


The ears are large and alert. They are positioned high on the head.


The Cornish Rex cat has a unique coat with very short down hair and awn hair. Their coat lacks the outer guard hairs found on most other breeds. The entire coat is tightly curled, and lies close to the body. Even the whiskers are curled!


Cornish Rex cats may be any color. Eye color, nose leather, and paw pad color complement the coat color.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a Cornish Rex cat cost?

A pet-quality Cornish Rex kitten usually costs anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500.

How big do Cornish Rex cats get?

Cornish Rex cats are small to medium-sized with a slender frame. A full-grown Cornish Rex cat usually weighs between 5 and 10 pounds on average.

How long do Cornish Rex cats live?

The average life span for Cornish Rex cat is 9 to 13+ years.

Do Cornish Rex cats shed?

Despite common misconceptions, Cornish Rex do shed and they are not considered a hypoallergenic breed. However, because their coat is so short, Cornish Rex cats shed much less than most cats with longer hair.