When you see a rex cat in person, you can’t help but do a double take. These cats are rare, notorious for their curly, wiry or wavy coats. Many even have curly whiskers. There’s at least 8 rex cat breeds, each with unique genetics that give them their distinct traits.
The 8 Rex Cat Breeds
The Cornish Rex comes from Cornwall, Britain. The Cornish Rex’s sparse coat is solely made up of wiry guard hairs. Their body is long and lean, and their coat comes in many colors and patterns.
The Devon Rex comes from Devon, Britain, not far from Cornwall – but their curly coat is an expression of a different gene. So, if you cross-breed a Devon and a Cornish Rex, you’ll get a straight-haired cat because the recessive genes that cause their waves will not match up. A Devon Rex has a softer coat, mainly made up of down fur with few guard hairs. A Devon has large, expressive ears.
The Oregon Rex originated in the United States, but all modern Oregon Rex cats are a result of cross-breeding with other Rex breeds. They typically have a thicker coat that allows them to enjoy time outside even in cool weather.
The German Rex is similar to the Cornish Rex, though it’s slightly larger and has a woolier coat due to more awn hairs and a thinner undercoat.
Curly LaPerm first originated on a farm in Oregon. They come in all coat patterns and may have long or short fur. Their curly coat is made up of guard, awn and undercoat hairs, giving them enough fur to stay warm in cool weather.
Skookum Rex is a crossbreed of the short-legged munchkin cat and the LaPerm. Like the LaPerm, they have a three-part coat that’s curly through and through. Their front legs are shorter than their hind legs, giving them a dachshund-like appearance.
Skelkirk Rex cats have tight curls, with a dominant gene that made it easy for the first of the breed to be combined with non-curly breeds like Persians, American Shorthairs and British Shorthairs. A Skelkirk Rex is larger than many other Rex breeds, and typically has round eyes and round cheeks.
The Lambkin is a cross-breed between the Skelkirk Rex and the munchkin cat. They have a thick, curly coat that may be short or long, and the same short, stubby legs as the Skookum Rex.
The Rex Cat Personality
The most common rex cat breeds, the Devon Rex and the Cornish Rex, are known for their outgoing, curious personalities. These cats typically love to be around people. Forget about cooking, working or going to the bathroom alone – this is a “Velcro” cat that will never leave your side.
Every cat is different, and inherits aspects of their personality from their parents. When you visit a breeder, be sure to meet your kitten’s parents and ask about their personality to get an idea of how your cat will act as they grow up.
Rex Cat Grooming Tips
If your Rex cat has very wiry fur, it will only need careful grooming, as the coat may be delicate and prone to breakage. A thick, curly or wavy coat traps dead hairs, so many Rex cats need regular brushing. Like all cats, Rex cats are often affected by dental disease, which can affect their entire body. Begin brushing, grooming and nail clipping at an early age.
Genetic Health Conditions
Rex cats are generally healthy cats with no major genetic-related health issues. However, the short-legged munchkin crosses are prone to spinal malformations. A good breeder will avoid inbreeding and performs health testing to make sure each parent is healthy before breeding.
Are Rex Cats Good For Allergy Sufferers?
If you’re allergic to cats, but would love a feline friend of your own, a rex cat could be a good option. However, no cat is hypoallergenic. The Fel d 1 glycoprotein, excreted through a cat’s skin and saliva, is still present in all breeds. If you have a mild allergy, keeping a sparse-haired cat that’s groomed often can be a liveable option.
How To Get A Rex Cat Of Your Own
Rex cats are rare, so it’s unlikely that you’ll find on in your local shelter. Even so, you might get lucky if you search through Petfinder.com.
If you can’t find an adoptable rex cat, you’ll have to purchase one through a breeder. Rex cat breeders typically have waiting lists for their litters, so it could take a while for you to finally get your kitten. Even so, a well-bred, healthy, beautiful rex kitten will be well worth the wait.
Have you ever had a Rex Cat? Tell us about your experience.
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