Cat Breeds

Cornish Rex

Isabel Hartley

Originating from a natural mutation in the 1950s in Cornwall, England, the Cornish Rex is a captivating cat breed known for its distinctive appearance.

With soft, curly coats resembling that of a poodle and a slender, elegant frame, these cats are immediately recognizable.

Their fur, which requires some special care, is velvety to the touch and can draw in cat lovers who appreciate their unique look.

Despite their refined appearance, they carry a reputation for being incredibly sociable and active.

Cornish Rex cats tend to form strong bonds with their families and exhibit a playful nature often likened to that of kittens, even into adulthood.

With their high energy levels and friendly disposition, they make spirited companions in the home.

Price wise, owners can expect an initial investment for a Cornish Rex kitten to fall between $800 and $1,300, a fee that reflects their unique breeding and care requirements.

Once a part of the family, the breed’s affectionate behavior and quirky personality traits become truly priceless, offering owners an abundance of love and entertainment.

Origin and History

The Cornish Rex breed began with a natural mutation in the 1950s. It’s a story of a unique kitten that impacted cat fanciers worldwide.

Development of the Breed

In the 1950s, a farmer in Cornwall, England, witnessed the birth of a litter that included a peculiar kitten with a fine, curly coat.

This kitten, named Kallibunker, displayed the defining feature of what would become known as the Cornish Rex breed.

The breed developed from this single genetic mutation. Breeders soon became interested in this unique trait and began a selective breeding program to establish and promote the breed’s curly coat.

Recognitions and Standards

The Cornish Rex gained early attention for its distinct appearance and playful personality.

Breed standards were established to maintain the breed’s unique characteristics:

  • Coat: Short, soft, with a marcel wave
  • Body: Slender and muscular

Various cat fancier associations recognized the Cornish Rex fairly quickly due to their strikingly unusual looks and affectionate nature.

Their recognition across cat associations solidified the Cornish Rex’s place in the world of pedigreed cats.

Physical Characteristics

The Cornish Rex is distinctive with its svelte figure and rippling, soft coat that sets it apart from other cat breeds.


The Cornish Rex possesses a head with a distinct egg shape, high cheekbones, and large ears.

Their eyes, medium in size and alert, give off an intelligent and inquisitive expression. They are often likened to a Greyhound due to their elegant, slender appearance.

Coat and Colors

Coat Texture: Wavy, fine, and short, the Cornish Rex’s coat feels soft to the touch.
Colors: This breed comes in a wide array of colors, including white, black, blue, cream, red, and various shades of chocolate and cinnamon.

Patterns can range from solid to bi-color, tabby, tortoiseshell and calico.

Size and Build

Weight: Males generally weigh between 8-10 pounds, while females are lighter, usually under 8 pounds.
Build: They boast a small to medium build with a distinct arch to their back, slim waist, and long willowy legs, exuding an appearance of lithe gracefulness.

Temperament and Behavior

The Cornish Rex cat is known for its vibrant personality and active behavior which make it a delightful companion.

Personality Traits

  • Extroverted: They thrive in the company of humans and other pets, displaying warmth and affection openly.
  • Playful: They possess a kitten-like playfulness throughout their lives, making them entertaining.
  • Affectionate: Cornish Rex cats often seek out laps and enjoy cuddling with their favorite people.

Typical Behaviors

  • Interactive: These cats are known to engage in play and interaction whenever an opportunity arises.
  • Seekers of Comfort: They prefer warm spots and comfort, which often includes snuggling on a lap.
  • Energetic: Their high energy levels manifest in acrobatic antics and an insatiable curiosity.

Care and Health

Cornish Rex cats are quite the charmers with their unique appearance and require specific care practices to remain healthy and happy.

Grooming Requirements

The Cornish Rex has a short, curly coat that doesn’t shed as much as other breeds, but it still needs care.

Owners should gently brush their Cornish Rex once a week to help remove dirt and to keep their coat soft.

Bathing these cats occasionally can help to prevent oil build-ups on their skin.

Health Considerations

While the Cornish Rex is often a hearty breed, there are some health issues owners should watch for. These include:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease
  • Patellar luxation, where the kneecap slips out of place

They typically have a lifespan of 11-15 years, but regular health check-ups with a vet and a balanced diet can contribute to a healthy life.

Owners should ensure their eyes are clean as this breed can accumulate more debris and oils.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section aims to answer some common inquiries about the unique and delightful breed known as the Cornish Rex.

What’s the price range for a Cornish Rex kitten?

Cornish Rex kittens typically cost between $800 and $1,300, depending on factors like pedigree, breeder reputation, location, and the kitten’s unique characteristics.

Can Cornish Rex cats have health issues I should be aware of?

They can be prone to certain health issues, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, patellar luxation, and congenital alopecia.
Prospective owners should seek out cats from reputable breeders who screen for health problems.

What makes Cornish Rex cats stand out from other breeds?

The Cornish Rex breed is renowned for its soft, curly coat, slender build, and large ears. They have a playful and sociable nature that makes them quite distinct in behavior as well.

Are Cornish Rex cats known for being affectionate with their owners?

They are indeed known for their affectionate nature. These cats often enjoy cuddling and interacting with their human companions.

What are some distinctive colors and patterns in Cornish rex cats?

Their coats come in a wide range of colors and patterns, including white, black, blue, red, cream, and various shades of chocolate and lavender, to name a few.

How can I find a Cornish Rex kitten to adopt?

One can find a Cornish Rex kitten through breed-specific rescues, reputable breeders, or websites that connect prospective owners with breeders and adoptable cats.
It’s crucial to do thorough research to ensure a healthy and ethically-bred kitten.