Personality and Temperament
Nicknamed “The cat in sheep's clothing,” the Selkirk Rex is an adorable, woolly-haired feline with a unique personality. With a bit of an independent streak, this might not the best breed for someone who's looking for a traditional lap cat; even so, the Selkirk Rex generally has a calm demeanor and does enjoy human companionship.
Friendly and inquisitive, these cats enjoy napping and once they've completed their kitten years, they have a good reputation for keeping out of trouble. At the same time, they exhibit a wonderfully playful side, and will happily entertain you with their silly antics.
Despite their disdain for long cuddling sessions, Selkirk Rex cats don't like to be left alone for long periods of time. They prefer to spend their time in the company of others, whether snuggling up to watch TV with their human companions or napping alongside another cat.
It’s well worth mentioning that not all members of the Selkirk Rex breed have the same personality traits. Some breeders have outcrossed with Persians, Exotics, British Shorthairs, and American Shorthairs, resulting in cats with adorable curly coats and extremely docile personalities.
Selkirk Rex cats do not have any special nutritional needs, however you might want to look for a food that includes higher levels of Omega fatty acids to support healthy skin and keep their coat looking its best.
Since these cats can be prone to obesity, it's important to look for a brand that offers high protein and low carbohydrates.
The Selkirk Rex cat has a completely unique coat with lots of curls and a soft, thick texture. This extra-special coat calls for a bit of care, but less than you might imagine. You’ll want to check for tangles and comb them to prevent painful mats from forming; at the same time, too much brushing and combing can give the cat’s fur a wavy appearance rather than allowing the curls to stand out.
Consider brushing your cat's teeth and think about keeping their toenails trimmed. Regular at-home dental care can help prevent periodontal disease and frequent nail trimming can help prevent damage to your furniture, skin, and clothing.
Some – but not all – Selkirk Rex cats produce excess body oil and need occasional bathing. If your cat is among those that requires a bath now and then, be sure to use gentle cat shampoo and allow them to slowly air dry. Using any type of hair dryer might burn the cat's delicate skin. In addition, it can cause the hair to puff up and give your cat the appearance of a poodle.
Selkirk Rex cats love to play, particularly when they have the opportunity to interact with their humans or feline friends. These kitties have a strong appreciation for jumping and climbing as well; you'll want to offer a tall cat tower and perhaps a window seat that provides a view of the great outdoors. In addition, your cat will appreciate a few scratching posts, puzzle toys that stimulate curiosity, and other playthings including empty boxes and crinkly paper bags.
You won't have to encourage the Selkirk Rex to play during the cat's younger years; however, they might need some encouragement as they get older and more prone to obesity.
Selkirk Rex cats are generally healthy. To date, there are no known genetic issues that affect the breed. Some breeders do screen for potential problems including polycystic kidney disease and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
The Selkirk Rex cat breed got its start with a kitten that was born in Montana in 1987. This curly haired kitten had a rescued mother of unknown origin, and ultimately found a home with a cat breeder named Jeri Newman. Newman named the cat Miss DePesto after a character played by actress Allyce Beasley.
When Miss DePesto reached adulthood, she was bred with a black Persian male named PhotoFinish of Deekay. The resulting litter contained three straight haired kittens and three curly haired kittens, showing that an autosomally dominant gene was responsible for the curly coat.
Once established, the breed was named after Newman's stepfather, Selkirk. Over time, breeders out crossed with American Shorthairs, Himalayans, Persians, British Shorthairs, and exotic Shorthairs. At present, only The International Cat Association (TICA) accepts the American Shorthair as an acceptable outcross.
TICA was first to recognize the Selkirk Rex cat breed, granting acceptance in 1992. The American Cat Fanciers Association granted its recognition in 1998, and the Cat Fanciers Association followed suit in 2000. Today, the Selkirk Rex is accepted by cat registries worldwide.
The Selkirk Rex has a full coat and a large body, two features that distinguish it from other Rex breeds including the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex.
The Selkirk Rex is the only cat breed to be named after a person.
Some Selkirk Rex cats are so curly, the breed has been given the nickname "Poodle cat."
Legs & Paws
The Breed Standard
How much does a Selkirk Rex cat cost?
Selkirk Rex cats cost between $500- $800.
How big do Selkirk Rex cats get?
Selkirk Rex cats tend to be large in size. A fully grown Selkirk Rex cat might weigh between 7-12 pounds or more and range in height anywhere from about 9"- 11" inches tall.
How long do Selkirk Rex cats live?
The Average lifespan for Selkirk Rex is 14-15 years.
Do Selkirk Rex cats shed?
Selkirk Rex are long-haired cats, so you do have to expect a certain amount of shedding from this breed, but they don't shed as much as other cat breeds.