The Selkirk Rex is commonly referred to as the ‘curly hair cat’. Its distinctive curly fur is regularly compared to poodles and sheep.
They are a newer breed and one of four cats that can have curly fur.
Read more about this beautiful breed in our blog below:
Colour & Hair
The Selkirk Rex comes in various colours and patterns. Cat associations recognise Selkirk Rexes with any possible fur colour or pattern.
Their coat comes in shorthair and longhair varieties.
The Selkirk Rex body type is a medium sized cat with a muscular and heavy body.
They have a round head and round eyes that can be many different colours. Their medium sized ears point out at an angle.
They have curly whiskers. Their most distinctive feature is their curly hair which is why some people are calling them “The Sheep Cat”.
They can even play hide and seek.
Meet KC, she’s a five-year-old Selkirk Rex who just loves her owner’s fluffy rug.
Owner, Laura Miller, says said shes a very talented hider and can barely tell her cat and rug apart, especially when KC closes her eyes.
Selkirk Rexes are known for their curly fur.
Most are born with curls. When they are six months old, their curls often straighten out. Some are born with straight, frizzy hair.
Their coat has 3 layers and is very soft and thick. They can have long or short hair.
Selkirk Rexes shed hair a low to moderate amount. Some people claim they are hypoallergenic but that is untrue.
Selkirk Rexes are a friendly and gentle breed. This makes them suitable for families with children or older people.
They often become lap cats that enjoy simply spending their time sitting with you and having a cuddle.
Whilst they are laid back, they do like to play.
Selkirk Rexes hate to be left alone for long periods of time.
Selkirk Rexes are medium sized cats, weight is between 5kg and 7kg. Males cats typically weigh more than females.
Overall, they are a healthy breed.
Like most cats, they can be prone to polycystic kidney disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy aka. HCM (heart disease) and hip dysplasia.
All cats are prone to obesity, which can then lead to other health issues. Always feed your cat a balanced diet and limit the number of treats given.
It can be valuable to have an annual health check up with your veterinarian to make sure no health issues arise.
When purchasing a Selkirk Rex, breeders and shelters should provide you with a written health guarantee, just in case.
A Selkirk Rex’s average life expectancy is 13 years.
The first Selkirk Rex was born in 1987 in Montana, USA.
A feral cat in an animal shelter gave birth to five kittens. One of the female kittens had a very curly coat, caused by a spontaneous genetic mutation.
Jeri Newman, who bred Persian cats, raised the kitten. She named her Agnes DiPesto after a curly haired character from the TV show Moonlighting. She nicknamed her Pest.
Jerri bred her with a black male Persian cat. Three of their kittens came out with curly coats.
In 1990, the International Cat Association made this new breed part of its breed development program. By 1994, the Selkirk Rex was an officially recognised breed.
The name ‘Selkirk’ comes from the Selkirk Mountains, north of Montana.
Selkirk Rexes are a moderately active cat. Providing yours with a cat scratching post can give it a space to scratch, climb and exercise
The Somerzby Tower Scratching Post is a great choice for a Selkirk Rex. It comes with a hammock, an enclosed sleeping cave and multiple platforms, providing plenty of space to play.
Selkirk Rexes are very smart. Sometimes this can get them in to trouble – they can work out how to open cabinets and drawers in search of treats.
Avoid this by challenging their mind with puzzle toys. The cat must manipulate or move a section of the toy to reveal a food reward.
Selkirk Rexes make wonderful pets. Their affectionate nature makes them particularly good for families with children, other pets or regular house guests.
Despite its curly fur, grooming a Selkirk Rex is no more difficult than any other cat.
They should be brushed regularly to remove tangles and loose fur. Limit brushing to a couple of times per week as excess brushing can straighten their curls.
If you begin brushing your Selkirk Rex when it is a kitten, it will learn to enjoy being groomed and it will be a much easier process for you both.
Like all cats, they will regularly need their teeth brushed (or given dental treats), ears checked and claws clipped.
Providing a cat enclosure allows your Selkirk Rex time outdoors in the fresh air without facing any of the risks that free roaming cats face.
These risks include being lost, hit by a car, attacked by other animals, caught in traps, facing harsh weather or contracting diseases including Feline AIDS.
On average, cats in enclosures will live longer.
The Somerzby Catio Cat Enclosure is designed to allow plenty of space for your cat to play and rest whilst still being comfortable and safe.
It is almost 4 metres long and has a fully enclosed run, so your cats can explore and exercise whilst being protected from the sun or rain.
Where to Buy or Adopt
Once you decide that you would like a Selkirk Rex, you will need to do research and decide where to get one from.
Selkirk Rexes can be adopted from animal shelters and rescue organisations, depending on availability.
Shelters and rescues should provide your new cat with a health check, vaccinations, microchipping, worming and desexing.
Adopting a cat will cost around $250.
Selkirk Rex cats can also be purchased from local breeders. This is typically more expensive than adopting, costing between $800 and $1,500.
Do research before choosing a breeder. Putting in effort now to find a good breeder can lead to long term benefits including a happier and healthier cat.
If you find a breeder online, beware of online scams.
Warning signs include cheap cats, always having kittens available and websites that allow you to purchase cats online using a credit card.
If it seems too convenient, it is likely that the ‘breeder’ is not trustworthy.
Once you find a breeder you like the sound of, contact them. Provide them with a brief overview of yourself and the environment you plan to raise the cat (type of house, members of your family, other pets, etc.).
Allow time for them to respond to you as they can be in high demand.
Organise to meet with them. Go to their house, see where the kittens live, check out the adult cats and ask lots of questions.
Important questions to ask include about health checks and the cat’s family history.
They should be raising the kittens inside their home and handled regularly by humans.
Kittens raised outdoors without much human contact can be harder to socialise and less affectionate.
It is important to feel comfortable with your breeder. If in doubt, listen to your instincts!
Breeders will typically sell kittens when they are 12-16 weeks old. Breeders should provide you with a written health guarantee, vaccinations, microchipping and worming.
Soon after purchasing your Selkirk Rex, take it to your vet for a full health check-up.