Short- and long-haired cats are a common sight in the cat world. However, cats with a curly coat or even without a coat at all are much rarer! One of the breeds that does have a remarkable coat is the Cornish Rex cat.
The coat of the Cornish Rex cat is reminiscent of that of a mole – and it is the most striking feature of this cat breed. It first stood out in the 1950’s on a farm in Cornwall, England. After that, there was targeted further breeding to see this coat more often. The hairs of the Cornish Rex differ from those of the Devon Rex. The term “Rex” describes the extraordinary coat structure and is mainly used in rabbit breeding.
The reason for the wavy structure of the coat: the Cornish Rex only has an undercoat. The coat is therefore extremely soft, similar to the coat of a hare or a silk fabric. Even the whiskers are curly! However, the very fine coat of the Cornish Rex also makes it very sensitive to the cold… This breed is not ideally suited to live outdoors and also needs a warm resting place in the house.
With the Cornish Rex, all coat colors are allowed, including this one:
Single color: according to the breed standard, the animals may be single color, where each color may be combined with white. Black, chocolate, orange and the ramifications blue, lilac, and cream are welcome.
Tabby: In addition, Cornish Rex may also be twisted, also known as “Tabby”. Several Tabby drawings fall under the term “classic”, twisted, twisted (mackerel), punctured/spotted and “ticked”. The latter variant indicates a striped coat.
Two-tone: any coat colour of the Cornish Rex may be combined with white.
Three-coloured: Three-coloured animals, also called “turtle cat”, are almost always female based on genetic conditions.
Cornish Rex cats are medium sized and slim. The females weigh up to 4 kilos and the males up to 5 kilos. The females have a muscular yet narrow physique. What is striking are the slim legs, which are reminiscent of the oriental cat breeds. The head is also very slim. The ears, on the other hand, are very conspicuous. These are very large and have a wide shape. Oval, medium sized eyes show a lust for adventure and betray that behind the sweet eyes there is a cat full of temperament and adventure.
The Cornish Rex cat has well preserved the original character of a farm cat. She is full of temperament and is very agile. Some owners say that when they get older, they still have the naivety of a young cat. They love to jump, climb and are not even afraid to fetch! So it is not for nothing that the Cornish Rex is also known as a “dog in a cat’s body”. It is an intelligent and curious animal that wants to discover everything and likes to play with people. However, she is also a great lover of cuddling on the couch. Cornish Rex cats are considered to be very people friendly and therefore very attached to their family. They are cozy little animals who want to be anything but alone.
A Cornish Rex also knows very well what he/she wants and is not afraid to be stubborn for once – even if she gets in the way of her fellow cats or people! That’s why it’s important to raise your Cornish Rex rigorously and consistently, so she won’t be dancing on the table when you’re away from home. Fortunately, the upbringing can be combined with playing and having fun. Maybe you’ve already heard of the click- and target training. Intelligent animals like the Cornish Rex love to use their heads when playing. This is especially important because the Cornish Rex needs to be kept indoors, because of its fine coat. To make sure the smart animals don’t get bored or come on stupid thoughts, it is important for the owner to take care of some activity!
It is indispensable that the Cornish Rex cat looks different than most cats. However, they are of humble descent. The first cat with frizzy hair was born in the 1950’s on a farm in Cornwall. This male was named “Kallibunker” and became the ancestor of all Cornish Rex cats. He had a creamy colour and frizzy hair, but these were not the only things that distinguished him from his brothers and sisters. With his tender, small head and both big ears and tail many people from the English breeding community looked at the animal with big eyes.
The special characteristics of the Cornish Rex can most probably be explained by a spontaneous mutation. To ensure that this special gene was preserved and that a new cat breed could be bred, Kallibunker was crossed with his mother at that time. The resulting kitten was later crossed with Burma, Siamese- and British Shorthair cats. The gene that produced a silky coat is inherited recessive. This means that the gene is inherited as it were “hidden” and therefore the gene is not expressed, but it can be passed on to the offspring. If both parents are carriers of the gene and the cat boy inherits both recessive genes, the gene will also be visible in the appearance of the kitten.
Then there is the cat breed Devon Rex. This is very much reminiscent of the appearance of a Cornish Rex cat. In contrast to the cat from Cornwall, the curly skin of the Devon Rex points to another mutation. A Devon Rex cat has an undercoat and shortened protective hairs which creates a soft skin. This peculiarity stems from the gene mutation “LPAR6”, which disturbs the protein structure of the coat and therefore drastically changes the coat structure.
The short and soft coat of the Cornish Rex makes him, contrary to many rumors, not a sensitive cat that would be allergic to, for example, cat hair. The cat’s hair allergy has nothing to do with the amount of hair a cat has or loses, but rather with the composition of the cat’s saliva. Cornish Rex cats lose their skin in the same way as other cats.
The saliva of the cat shows the glycoprotein FEL D1, which causes allergies. In addition, the lack of protective hairs does not make the Cornish Rex cat more resistant to cat allergies than other cats.
In addition, the care of a Cornish Rex does not differ much from that of other cats. The soft coat does not need extreme care, but it does make the animals sensitive to draughts and cold. That makes the Cornish Rex a cat that can only get limited freedom. However, the intelligent and temperamental cats can certainly be released somewhat. Especially in a large house you can offer your cat a lot of play and climbing possibilities. This gives her enough opportunity to let off steam.
Like other cats, the Cornish Rex cats benefit from a full nutrition tailored to the animal. As meat eaters, cats are very focused on healthy proteins. They can only process carbohydrates separately. The ideal food for the Cornish Rex revolves around the composition of the mouse: scientific research has proven that the taste buds of cats prefer food containing 26 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat and 8 grams of carbohydrates – exactly the composition of their usual prey. This composition is perfect for your cat’s proper nutrition.
That’s why it’s best to buy cat food with a large amount of meat. Originally, cats are desert animals and rarely look for their water bowl. They get most of their fluids from the food itself – which is why it’s important that you buy wet food. Compared to dry food, this is better suited to the need for moisture.
Apart from the food, it’s important that your cat goes to the vet for a check-up at least once a year. In addition to any vaccinations that may be necessary, the GP can also examine your cat for heart or lung diseases and answer any questions you may have.
The Cornish Rex belongs to the somewhat unknown cat breeds. One of the reasons for this is the fact that the characteristic coat is inherited recessive, or hidden. However, there are enough breeders in Europe who breed Cornish Rex cats that remain loyal to the breed of their cats.
Breeding is hard work: professional breeders are therefore also members of cat breeding organizations. Their cats are registered and have certain papers to prove their purity. However, this is not the only thing that distinguishes them from the so-called “doubles” that are offered for a bargain in the newspaper or on Marktplaats. A good breeder ensures that his animal meets the breed standard and that the health of the animal comes first, which requires a diet tailored to the animal, regular and good care by a doctor and finally attention to a sensible mating process that takes into account any genetic peculiarities or risks. It goes without saying that his animals are dewormed and vaccinated. The mother of the litter should be carefully supervised by the breeder during pregnancy and the final delivery.
The breeder’s kittens should be cared for every hour, receive the best possible food and attention should also be paid to the necessary precautions. This includes the necessary vaccinations and possible deworming. Furthermore, the cat should only be handed over to a new owner at 12 weeks of age at the earliest, because the kittens learn the essential things from their parents, brothers and sisters in the first 3 months. Only the kittens who spend the first three months in a familiar environment with their parents will later grow up to be cats that are 100% fit both mentally and physically.
All the above is lacking in unprofessional breeders who offer a kitten for a bargain. Unfortunately, the discount on the final price of the cat is at the expense of the health of the kitten. That’s why it’s best to only put your trust in a professional and responsible breeder. However, pure and well behaved kittens also have their price: a Cornish Rex is available from 700 euro. For those who don’t want to miss the 700 euro’s it’s advised to take a look at the shelter. Maybe you’ll find your dream cat there!
We wish you and your Cornish Rex a good time!