Selkirk Rex is one of the newest cat breeds who
have naturally unusual curly hairs. These cats originated from Montana, USA, in 1987. Favorite of all cat
lovers because being one of the limited edition of curly-haired cat breeds. Unlike Cornish Rex and Devon Rex, she has a full
and dense coat.
The Selkirk Rex cat breed is different from all other Rex breeds. These cats resulted from a spontaneous
and dominant mutation that causes each hair to have a gentle curl giving the coat a soft feel. They share
many traits with the “Rex” breed, but other Rex breeds have balded coats and partly missing hairs. However,
the Selkirk Rex has a dense and full coat without partly missing hairs.
Selkirk Rex is sturdy like Devon but solid like Cornish, but her body is stockier than these elfish and
slim cats. She is famous for the curly and plush coat that has earned her the nickname “the cat in sheep’s
clothing”. The curly-haired Rex gene is dominant, but not all Selkirks are born with these ringlets; some
have straight hairs. Her teddy bear physical traits make her the best option for people who want cuddly and
Let’s learn about the Selkirk Rex cat breed in detail.
Selkirk Rex Cat Breed Background History
The Selkirk cats are usually referred to as “the cat in a sheep’s clothing”, due to their thick and heavy
coat of woolly looking curls. They made their first appearance in Montana, USA, in 1987, with a litter born
to a rescued cat. Jeri Newman, a well-known cat breeder, adopted this unique kitten and named her Miss
Miss DePesto was a famous character played by Allyce Beasley in a TV series
called Moonlighting. The cat’s unusually curly hair resembles a lot to the
character, so Jeri named the kitten after that. All Selkirk Rex cats trace their ancestry back to the cat
Miss DePesto. However, Jeri named the breed “Selkirk” after her stepfather making her the only breed named
after a man.
Jeri Newman was primarily credited for Selkirk's development and promotion, although many dedicated
breeders lent a hand in furthering the breed. Jeri has always been fascinated by cats in general and feline
genetics in particular. She always wanted to adopt a unique and out-of-the-ordinary cat. In 1987, the
out-of-ordinary cat came to her through a shelter.
At the For Pet's Sake Animal Shelter in Sheridan, Montana, a cat gave birth to a litter
with five kittens, one of which had curly hairs. Peggy Vorrhees of the Bozeman Humane Society of
Sheridan gave the curly-haired kitten to Jeri Newman. The white and blue cream kitten with alert
green eyes and extraordinary curly coat resembled a lot with a lamb’s wool.
Jeri Newman bred Miss DePesto with a black Persian male, and they produced three straight-haired kittens
and three Selkirk Rex. This unique disposition demonstrated that the gene had an autosomal dominant mode of
inheritance. Their curly coat is the result of spontaneous genetic mutation and comes in two varieties,
short and long. Not all Selkirks are born with curly hair; some have straight hairs but have the curly
whisker for which these cats are known today.
Moreover, British Shorthairs, Exotic Shorthairs, Himalayans, Persians, and American Shorthairs were
outcrossed to develop this breed. However, the American Shorthair has been removed from the outcrossing
group, except in The International Cat Association (TICA). TICA accepted
this breed in 1992, the American Cat Fancier Association (ACFA) in 1998, and the
Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) in 2000.
In 2015, in Australia and CFA, all outcrosses were scheduled to be discontinued. These cats are seriously
prone to Polycystic Kidney Disease due to outcrossing with Persian and other breeds. Therefore, the
Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) only registers the cats from two genetically
tested parents. And, all the cats already registered with GCCF for breeding are genetically
It does not take much time for various cat associations worldwide to recognize this charismatic breed. This
continues to gain popularity day by day due to her charming personality and enchanting looks.
Selkirk Rex cats are accepted in all colors, including the mixed, sepia, pointed, and mink varieties of
albinism; silver/smoke, cinnamon, and bicolor series. These cats have an extremely dense coat and a high
propensity for shedding. These cats are not recommended for people who are allergic to cats. Unlike other
Rex breeds with a reduced amount of hairs, the Selkirk Rex sheds a lot and is not hypoallergenic.
Selkirk Rex Personality and Temperament
Selkirk Rex is a medium to a large cat that refers to a breed that carries the dominant mutation for curly
hairs. In addition to her stuffed animal-like thick and dense coat, it’s her animated spirit that earns
praise from her fans.
These cats are very affectionate, loving, and require special attention. However, they are not overly
demanding or persistent but might follow her parents around the house until she gets what she wants.
These cats have a playful manner and snuggle up with their human family members when someone is on the
couch or happens to sit anywhere. They are not just fun lovers but also intelligent. She will never bother
you or cause you any trouble. However, she needs constant company, and without her people around, she gets
Another appealing aspect of her temperament is her silly and clownish side. She is a perfect lap cat and
enjoys a little chat session in a quiet voice. You can keep her happy by providing toys or other energy
outlets like food puzzles or scratching pots.
Moreover, Selkirk Rex makes champion companions because of their affectionate and loving nature. They can
be mellow cats with a generous measure of love and care for their human companion. They are very loyal and
people-oriented cats and enjoy spending time with their preferred people.
On top of that, they love to sleep with their favorite human being. So if you want a cat that loves to
cuddle and enjoy sitting next to you, Selkirk Rex is for you. These cats are not overly social but require
human attention and love to interact with them from time to time. They cannot live alone and don’t do well
in isolation, so do not leave them on their own for a longer period.
Selkirk Rex gets along with almost everybody, including family members, other cats, and dogs. You’ll see an
active and alert personality with a sweet and endearing disposition. Tolerant, loving, patient, and outgoing
are some other personality traits that make these cats favorites of humans.
Selkirk Rex Cat Breed Physical Attributes
Imagine a heavy-boned, muscular cat with curly hairs, a rounded head and face, woolly and soft coat in
various colors. That is a Selkirk Rex. The facial characteristics include large rounded eyes, medium-sized
ears with curly furnishing, and full cheeks that give a sweet expression.
Selkirk Rex was developed to be heavy-boned and large cats, more like British Shorthair in conformation.
She has a stockier, muscular, and heavy body and has a rounded face and eyes. The head is round with no flat
planes and pointed ears. The loose curly hairs and curly whiskers are present at birth, but not all cats are
born with curly hairs.
These cats come in two different coat lengths. Some have long hair, and some have short hair. The
long-haired cats have long ringlets, and shorthaired have shorter and tighter curls. From the moment of
birth, kitties can be identified as curly or straight-haired by looking at their whisker pads.
However, the coat will not change as the cats grow older; if it was curly, it would remain curly. The coat
might show fewer curls later at the adult stage, but these cats have the curly gene and retain curly
The Selkirk Rex comes in various colors and patterns, including red, black, white, cream, lavender, and
chocolate. The females are smaller than the males and weigh around 6 to 12 pounds.
Here are the standard physical attributes of Selkirk Rex, which the major cat associations accept.
||Legs & Paws
- Well balanced
- Medium to large
- Rectangular and muscular torso
- Straight back
- Substantial boned
- Medium to long
- Large and round feet
- Toes: four behind, five in front
- Heavy at base
- Neither pointed nor blunt
- Broad at base
- Tapering towards edges
- Broad and rounded
- Medium width muzzle
- Round and well-padded whisker pad
- Round shaped
- All colors, ranging from black to gold
- Soft but not plush
- Obviously curly
- Unstructured and arranged in loose curls
- Curls appear to be in clumps or ringlets
- Soft and plushy
- Obviously curly
- Unstructured and arranged in loose curls
- Curls appear to be in clumps or ringlets
Selkirk Rex Cat Grooming Needs
As Selkirk Rex has a curly coat, it needs constant and regular attention. You may need to groom long-haired
cats regularly and comb their hair to remove tangles and knots. This can be easily done with a stainless
steel comb or a wide-tooth comb. The short-haired cats need less grooming than the long-haired cats.
The coat length cannot be determined immediately without first observing the ruff and tail. The longhaired
cats have a longer ruff covering the face and plumy curls on the tail that stands out. On the contrary, the
length of the ruff and fur of the short-haired cats is the same, and they have plush curls on the tail that
lies compactly. With either length, the coat is most curly on the tail, neck, and belly.
Brush the hairs a couple of times every week to remove mats and dead hairs and prevent tangles. Do not over
brush the coat; the overgrooming will stretch out and flatten the curls. These cats shed moderately, so
regular combing will also help you keep the cat’s hair from accumulating all over the house.
The rest is basic care. Regularly brush the teeth with a vet-approved toothpaste for fresh breath and
overall dental hygiene. Nails should be trimmed every week or so or whenever it is necessary. Bath your
feline with vet-approved shampoo and avoid thick shampoo that does not rinse well; it will make your cat’s
fur fall flat.
Routine maintenance is essential to keep your cat healthy and happy throughout her life. Besides physical
grooming, you must feed your cat well-balanced food and give her lots of love.
Selkirk Rex Cat Feeding Needs
Each cat is unique, and each has its own likes and dislikes when it comes to food. However, cats are
carnivores, and they all love meat. So, meat must be added to their daily meal. Each cat must obtain the
necessary nutrients from the food.
The amount or proportion of food you need to provide your cat depends entirely on the cat’s age, weight,
and size. A growing kitten will definitely need more food and balanced nutrients than a well-developed cat.
Also, it is not surprising that an active cat needs a different balance of nutrients than a less or
moderately active cat.
You can discuss the portion and how many times you need to feed your cat with your vet. Only a vet can
guide you about the right food and the correct amount suitable for your cat. To maintain the ideal body
condition, you need to provide your cat with high-quality and healthy wet or dry food.
Selkirk Rex Cat Health Problems
The Selkirk Rex cat breed is generally healthy. But, due to outcrossing with British Shorthair, Exotic
Shorthair, and Persian, they have genetic diversity and are prone to some genetic disease. The main health
issues that are common in the Selkirk Rex breed are as follow:
It is a very common hereditary defect in almost all cat breeds, and Selkirk Rex is no exception. It is
basically a defect of the hip socket; the thigh bone does not snuggly fit into the hip joint. This
problem could be just mild and cause no to little pain, or it could cause severe lameness. Depending on
the severity of the problem, the medication or surgery can help.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
It is a heart disease that causes thickening of the muscles, which reduces the heart’s efficiency to
pump blood to the body. ECG can help diagnose HCM, and when it is identified, it should be immediately
treated. Otherwise, it will lead to death eventually.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
It is another hereditary condition that causes cystic degeneration of the kidneys and leads to eventual
dysfunction. It can affect one or both kidneys. Although the signs of polycystic kidney disease appear
between 7 to 10 years, it can appear earlier in some cats.
Moreover, these cats can suffer from hair loss in their teens. They can also experience obesity if not
fed well. Keeping your cat at an appropriate weight is the best way to keep her healthy and protect her
Why You Should Get a Selkirk Rex Cat
There are many reasons why you should get Selkirk Rex when thinking of getting a cat. The top reason is
their friendly and affectionate nature.
Selkirk Rex does not just have a beautiful and unique appearance; they are beautiful inside out. They can
become an outstanding companion for anyone in need of company. They are human-friendly cats and get along
with everybody in the house. If you want a cat who enjoys and loves to cuddle, there is no better option
than a Selkirk Rex.
People looking for an emotional support animal must consider Selkirk Rex. Their fun-loving, silly, and
clownish side will never let you feel alone or get bored. They will keep you company as long as you need.
They will return the same amount of love or maybe a little more than you provide them.
They will enjoy spending time with you or playing with their toys. They will not disturb you if you are
busy and quietly observe you sitting in a corner. However, they will roam around you whenever they need
something and be there until they get what they want.
Consult your doctor to get an emotional support cat and a valid ESA letter so that you can enjoy this feline’s company without any
restriction. Please remember, only a professional mental health provider can give you a real ESA letter. If
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do Selkirk Rex cats shed a lot?
Though Selkirk Rex sheds moderately, it usually gets increased in summers. The shedding is extreme in the
summer season and often gets to the peak.
Are Selkirk cats hypoallergenic?
No, the Selkirk Rex cat breed is not hypoallergenic. However, you may have heard that they are
hypoallergenic due to their unique coat. But that is not absolutely not true. Selkirk Rex is not recommended
for people who are allergic to cats.
What is the rarest color for a Selkirk Rex cat breed?
There is no rarest color in Selkirk Rex. they come in all colors and varieties. If any purple dotted
texture is genetically possible in cat breeds, Selkirk Rex would definitely have it.
Can you leave a Selkirk Rex alone?
No, you cannot leave Selkirk Rex alone as they are people-oriented cats. They get bored and depressed when
they do not find their human family around. It is highly recommended that you keep them company and never
leave them alone for a longer period.
Why is Selkirk Rex known as the “Teddy Bear” cat?
Her heavy and thick coat possessing unusually curly genes makes her famous as a fur baby or ‘teddy bear’
cat. These ‘teddy bear’ cats are famous for their charismatic aura and gorgeous appearance.