selkirk rex breed information
common health issues
The Selkirk Rex is one of the four curly-coated cat breeds, along with the Devon Rex, Cornish Rex and LaPerm. One of the newest natural breeds of cat, all Selkirk Rexes can trace their ancestry back to a single housecat named Miss DePesto, born in Montana in 1987. She was given to Persian breeder Jeri Newman of Montana, who bred her to a black Persian male, producing three Selkirk Rex and three straight-haired kittens. This demonstrated that, unlike the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex — where the curly-haired gene is recessive — in Selkirks it is dominant. Therefore, curly-haired kittens can be born in the same litter with straight-haired kittens.
While some may think the breed was named for the Selkirk Mountains, they are actually named for the breeder’s stepfather, making them the only cat breed today named for a person. The original kittens were bred with American Shorthairs, Persians, Himalayans, Exotics and British Shorthairs to develop the breed. The Selkirk Rex was accepted by several North American cat fanciers’ associations during the 1990s and was accepted for championship status in CFA in 2000.
While he shares his curly coat with the other three Rex breeds, the Selkirk Rex differs in that he has a large, stocky body type and comes in both longhaired and shorthaired varieties. He usually weighs between 7 and 12 lbs. His coat, which comes in many colors and patterns, should be soft and loosely curly, with a shedding undercoat inherited from some of his parent breeds. He is sometimes known as “the cat in sheep’s clothing” for his coat’s wooly texture. Occasional brushing will be enough to maintain the curly coat, which may have a tendency to look unruly, and shampoos that do not coat the hair are best to allow the hairs to curl.
The Selkirk Rex is renowned as a patient, tolerant cat, making him a good companion for children. He is also known to be a very loving cat who adores cuddling.
The Selkirk Rex is considered a robust and healthy breed, with little known inherited disease. It is fair to assume, however, that diseases of outcrossed breeds may creep in from time to time that can adversely affect his health — not to mention your family budget. Some may include eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy; dental disease such as gingivitis; heart conditions such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; and kidney problems such as polycystic kidney disease.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Selkirk Rex inherits anything more than a curly coat, you’re covered.