12 / 100

The Selkirk Rex cat is one of the few breeds of cats that have curly fur. Her extraordinary look in combination with a gentle temperament means that she is conquering the hearts of more and more cat lovers.

History of the Selkirk Rex

Selkirk Rex 11

The origins of the Selkirk Rex cat lie in an animal shelter in the USA: A litter of kittens was given up here in 1987. However, one of them was so different from its five siblings that the zookeepers were amazed: The kitten had curly fur – including wavy whiskers – and bright green eyes. It was a spontaneous mutation of the fur. The staff of the animal shelter informed the Persian breeder Jeri Newman about the extraordinary protégé. Newman picked up the little cat and named her Miss Depesto of Noface. When Miss Depesto was fully grown, Newman crossed her with a black Persian male and was soon able to look forward to six kittens: three had smooth fur, three were curly-haired. Newmann called the new breed “Selkirk Rex”.

In the decades that followed, the Selkirk Rex cat developed slowly but with determination. To this day, controlled cross-breeding of other breeds such as the British Shorthair or Persian is still allowed in some associations. The curls are inherited in an autosomal dominant manner, which means that mixed-breed representatives of the breed also have curls – but if you cross two mixed-breed Selkirk Rex, kittens without the gene for curly fur can result from them. All kittens will only have curls if a homozygous parent who is a genetically hereditary carrier of the curl gene was involved.

Rex Cats

In addition to the Selkirk Rex cat, there are other cats with curly fur, which, however, can be traced back to other gene mutations. These include German Rex, Devon Rex, and Cornish Rex, or the new LaPerm breed. By the way: The name “Rex” comes from rabbit breeding, in which rabbits with similar fur are called “Rex rabbits”. The breeding of Rex cats is sometimes viewed critically, namely when the whiskers are curly and therefore shorter. Some animal rights activists criticize that this would restrict the function of the whiskers as an important tactile organ in cats.


Selkirk Rex 12

Strong Furry Cat

The most noticeable feature of these velvet paws is the curly fur, which can appear in both the long and the short-haired variety – but does not have to be. Because when Selkirk Rex is crossed with Selkirk Rex, smooth-haired offspring can also arise. However, they share the other external characteristics with their curly siblings: With a maximum bodyweight of seven kilograms, the breed is medium to large in size and has strong bones. This makes the Selkirk Rex cat the largest of the curly cats. Her head is strong with broad cheeks, and the round eyes are set relatively far apart. A nose stop can be seen from the side. The fur can be long or short-haired, whereby all colors including patterns such as tabby or point are allowed.

Selkirk Rex Temperament

Selkirk Rex 13

The “Dog Cat”

The Selkirk Rex cat is if it comes from a serious breeder’s household, a cuddly and very people-oriented, friendly cat. She loves the company of her people and insists on her being caressed. Because she tends to follow her two-legged friend everywhere, she is also affectionately known as the “dog cat”. She usually gets along wonderfully with other cats and, if she lives in the apartment, should only ever be kept with a second cat. If they are already used to a lot as kittens, the representatives of the breed easily adapt to the everyday life of their humans and are also not afraid of the vacuum cleaner or car trips.

Healthy Diet for the Selkirk Rex

Like every velvet paw, the Selkirk Rex cat is a prey eater and needs food that contains a lot of meat. A balanced wet food with a high meat content is ideally suited to give your cat all the nutrients it needs. Good cat food shouldn’t contain any grain or sugar. If you want to pamper your velvet paw, serve them healthy snacks such as freeze-dried pieces of meat. For house cats, in particular, it can be delicious fun if you let them work out some dry food themselves every day: for example in the form of search games or with an intelligence toy for cats. You can also use healthy dry food for clicker training. However, it is important that you take into account the amount of energy with regard to the total ration for the day. Weigh the adult Selkirk Rex every few weeks so that you notice the threat of obesity and can take countermeasures in good time if your cat becomes too fat. Your velvet paw should always have fresh water freely available – drinking fountains for cats, which can motivate your furry friend to drink healthily, are particularly popular.

The Health of the Selkirk Rex

Selkirk Rex 14

Selkirk Rex is considered a healthy breed – if they are descended from a reputable breeder., He will always have possible breeding animals tested for PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) before they are used. It is a kidney disease that occurs more frequently in Persians and British Shorthairs. So the Selkirk Rex cat also carries a risk, because it counts many representatives of these breeds among its ancestors. Stick to the regular vaccination appointments and discuss any deworming with your veterinarian. A Selkirk Rex cat can live to be 15 years and older.


The care of the soft fur is usually uncomplicated – both with the short and long hair variants. Brush your Selkirk Rex cat at least once a week. It may be necessary more often during the change of coat. Shorthair cats also like the help with grooming. If you get her used to it as a kitten, your Selkirk Rex cat will appreciate this as a pleasant ritual. By the way: it can take until adulthood for your Selkirk Rex to wear the typical curly hair. Adolescent kittens are often affected by hair loss, which is usually no cause for concern. If in doubt, talk to your breeder about this, who probably knows this transition period from the parent animals.

Also take a regular look into the ears of your velvet paw – if the ears are hairy, it is often more difficult to detect dirt or impending inflammation. You should check the claws regularly, especially in older cats, because if the cat does not scratch them on the scratching post or if the floor is too soft, they do not wear out regularly. Too long claws can lead to the cat getting stuck painfully or the claw growing into the ball of the paw. Shorten these beforehand with nail scissors to avoid injuries.

Will a Selkirk Rex Suit Me?

A Selkirk Rex cat is a good fit for you if you can offer her feline company and an environment that is suitable for velvet paws – then it does not matter if you are away several hours a day. A balcony secured by a cat net or even a cat-safe garden, in which your velvet paws can safely go on a discovery tour, is ideal. If you have children, make sure that your Selkirk Rex cat always has a place of retreat, such as a cat tunnel, if it gets too much, because many representatives of the breed prefer it to be quiet. Teach toddlers how to treat their four-legged roommates respectfully.

Before a couple of kittens move in, think about who should take care of them on vacation. It would be good, for example, to have a neighbor who drops by at least twice a day and distributes pats as well as food. If you want to give your kitties to a boarding house or to friends, it is advisable to practice this with the young cats – for example over a weekend. Especially cat couples that are used to it from an early age usually have no problem and you can travel relaxed.

Selkirk Rex Allergy

Some cats are described as “allergy-friendly” – this includes the Selkirk Rex. In fact, some people who are allergic to other cats do not respond to the Selkirk Rex cat. However, that does not mean that this is the case for every cat lover. Be on the safe side before moving a couple of cats in and discuss your wishes with your doctor beforehand. In cooperation with the respective breeder, you can check whether you are allergic to the cats of your choice via a visit lasting several hours and hair samples that you provide to your doctor.

The Basic Equipment

While you are waiting for your new animal roommates, you can already prepare for them: make sure your Selkirk Rex cat has everything it needs. In addition to a scratching post in an easily accessible location, this also includes various bowls and possibly a drinking fountain, cozy blankets or baskets, a transport box, and a litter box per cat. Toys and a litter shovel should not be missing either. Your fur nose also needs a brush for grooming. You should always have high-quality food and highly absorbent cat litter in stock. In addition to the rather high purchase price of one or two cats at the breeder, it makes sense to also consider the running costs before deciding on new animal roommates. In addition, there are the veterinary costs for regular visits for checks, which can rise rapidly in the event of illness.

Where Can I Find a Selkirk Rex?

Selkirk Rex 15

Do not look around in dubious classifieds where “allergy cats” are advertised cheaply, but contact a reputable breeder. These advertise partly through classified ads, but carefully choose the future owners of their protégés – after all, it’s about their well-being and not about making a quick buck. Don’t buy a kitten out of pity either, because demand controls supply. Since kittens learn a lot from their mother, a breeder should not hand them in before the 12th week, better not before the 16th week. They are then house-trained, vaccinated several times, dewormed as a precaution, and come chipped and with a suitable vaccination card in their new home.

Tip: If the cat is allowed to be a bit older: Check out the animal welfare department for the cat you want. From time to time you can find curly beauties here who are looking for a new home. Some animal welfare organizations focus on pedigree cats in need – have a look around if you cannot find what you are looking for at the local animal shelter.

We wish you a wonderful time with your curly beauty!