Cornish Rex Cat Breed

This cat breed would like nothing better than to have fun and frolic about.
By: PawCulture Editors
Cornish Rex

About the Cornish Rex Cat Breed

The Cornish Rex is a strikingly unusual cat, which looks like somewhat of a mix between the Egyptian statues of Bastet (the ancient solar and war goddess) and an alien from another planet. Despite its appearance, however, it has a friendly personality.

Cornish Rex Physical Characteristics

The Cornish Rex is a small to medium in size with an egg-shaped head, long legs, and large ears. People with allergies may also prefer the Cornish Rex as it sheds less than other cats.

Color(s)

The Cornish Rex comes in a variety of colors including bicolor and tortoise.

Coat

In addition to its striking expression, the Cornish Rex’s curly coat makes this cat stand out from other breeds. It is generally short, close-lying and is incredibly soft to the touch.

Cornish Rex Personality and Temperament

Activity Level

Moderate to high

Positives

The Cornish Rex would like nothing better than to have fun and frolic about. It is an affectionate, attention-seeking breed that bonds well with its human family and is easy to take care of.  They love to fetch things and may ask to play fetch again and again.

Things to Consider

The Cornish is extremely active at dinner time and may even insist on sharing dinner from the same plate as its owner. Extremely agile, they will also leap on to the top of cupboards or onto high shelves.

Cornish Rex Care

Ideal Living Conditions

An attention-seeker, the Cornish Rex will do best in a home that is able to offer its Rex plenty of play time. If left alone or often overlooked, the breed may become mischievous and naughty.

Special Requirements

The breed’s gentle coat requires little grooming (in fact, less is better to prevent the hairs from being damaged), but its paws and ears should be cleaned regularly.

Cornish Rex Health

The Cornish Rex’s sparse coat offers little sun protection, so it’s best to keep them indoors. The breed may also be prone to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a common heart condition in cats) and patellar luxation.

Cornish Rex History and Background

As their name suggests, the breed originated in Cornwall, England, in the early 1950s when Serena, a tortoiseshell and white domestic, gave birth to a litter of five kittens. The litter contained a curly-coated, orange and white, male kitten, which Nina Ennismore, Serena’s owner, named Kallibunker. Realizing his short, curly hair and long, lithe body was unusual, she contacted a British geneticist who confirmed that the fur of this new kitten was a mutation, and that it bore a resemblance to Rex Rabbit fur. Acting on the advice of this expert, Ennismore crossed Kallibunker with his mother.

Three kittens were born out of this union: one straight-haired and two sporting curly hair. After a second mating, more curly-haired kittens were produced. As this new breed seemed to resemble the curly-coated Astrex rabbit, it was given the name of Cornish Rex.

As the gene pool was small, breed­ers were forced to cross them with other breeds to maintain genetic diversity. Siamese, Havana Browns, American Shorthairs, and domestic shorthairs were among the breeds used. This resulted in a variety of colors and patterns hitherto not seen. The Cat Fanciers’ Association accepted the breed for Championship Status in 1964.