Cat Breeds

Selkirk Rex

Isabel Hartley

The Selkirk Rex is a distinctive cat breed known for its soft, wavy coat, which sets it apart from its feline counterparts.

Originating in the United States, the breed has become a beloved pet for its curly fur, which it shares with only a handful of other breeds, such as the Cornish Rex and Devon Rex.

Aside from its unique coat, the Selkirk Rex is a sturdy cat with a powerful build that often surprises with its heft.

These cats exhibit a variety of personality traits that make them both endearing and intriguing to cat enthusiasts. They often have a relaxed demeanor, showing a preference for companionship and comfort.

However, the Selkirk Rex may sometimes display an independent side, making it a breed that balances self-reliance with a sociable nature. Their playful and affectionate behavior also contributes to their reputation as lovable pets.

Caring for a Selkirk Rex involves grooming to maintain their curly coat, though their needs are not overly demanding. These cats typically enjoy a mix of play and relaxation, fitting well into different kinds of households.

They are often good-natured with children and other pets, making them adaptable companions who can integrate well into a variety of living situations.

The Selkirk Rex Origin

In the world of cat breeds, the Selkirk Rex is a relatively recent addition, known for its unique curly coat and amiable nature. This section unpacks the cat’s beginning and the genetic quirks that define it.

Breed Discovery

In 1987, Montana became the birthplace of the Selkirk Rex breed. It all started with a litter at an animal shelter. Among them was an unusual kitten sporting a coat of curls. Jeri Newman, a Persian cat breeder, adopted this adorable stand-out.

Newman named her Miss DePesto of Noface, or “Pest” for short. “Pest” was a fitting moniker as she always sought attention, but more importantly, she marked the start of the Selkirk Rex line.

Genetic Characteristics

The Selkirk Rex’s defining feature is its curly coat, which is unlike any other Rex breed. Here’s what sets it apart:

  • Hair Length: Their fur is of normal length, unlike the Devon and Cornish Rex breeds that have shorter, partly missing hair.
  • Varieties: The Selkirk Rex comes in both longhair and shorthair variations.
  • Coat Texture: This breed’s coat is plush and thick, setting it aside from the LaPerm’s more textured curls.

Their curls are a result of a dominant gene, meaning that only one parent needs the gene for the trait to appear in their offspring. This is different from other Rex breeds where the curly coat trait is recessive.

Physical Attributes

The Selkirk Rex stands out with distinctive curly fur and a sturdy build. Their distinctive appearance consists of a mix of various colors and distinctive fur textures, as well as a strong physique.

Coat and Texture

The Selkirk Rex’s most notable feature is its soft, plush, and curly coat. The curls appear throughout the cat’s body, including the whiskers. Selkirk Rex cats come in two coat lengths:

  • Short-haired: With a dense and plush feel
  • Long-haired: With loose, individual curls

Color Variations

Selkirk Rex cats boast a wide range of color variations. They can be found in almost any color and pattern, which includes:

  • Solid colors
  • Bicolor
  • Tricolor (calico)
  • Tabby patterns

Physical Build

Physically, Selkirk Rex cats are medium-to-large in size, with a muscular and heavy-boned build. They feature:

  • Weight: Ranging from 7-16 pounds
  • Round heads with full cheeks
  • Round eyes contributing to a sweet expression

Behavioral Traits

In understanding Selkirk Rex cats, it’s essential to delve into their behavioral tendencies — from their generally calm demeanor to their social interactions and bursts of playful energy.


The Selkirk Rex is known for its calm and affectionate nature. These cats are often quite laid-back, which makes them excellent companions for relaxed households.

They can also show a charming and loyal side to their owners, forming strong bonds with their human families.

Social Behavior

Despite their serene temperament, the Selkirk Rex enjoys companionship—both with humans and other pets. They are known to be sociable and cuddly, willing to snuggle up with their owners or furry siblings.

Interaction is important for them, so they fit well into families or with individuals who can offer frequent engagement.

Activity Levels

The activity level of a Selkirk Rex can range from mellow lounging to playful frolicking. They do appreciate the occasional stimulation of playtime and will exhibit bouts of energy when they’re more active.

Toys and interactive play can help keep them both physically and mentally stimulated.

Care and Health

In understanding the Selkirk Rex’s care, one must consider their unique coat and typical health issues. Their dietary needs are much like any other domestic cat, focusing on balanced nutrition.

Grooming Requirements

The Selkirk Rex sports a plush, curly coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting. They should be brushed at least once a week with a soft-bristled brush or comb suitable for their curls.

Care should be taken not to overbrush, as their hair can lose its distinctive curls.

Common Health Issues

Selkirk Rex cats are predisposed to certain genetic health issues:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM): A common heart condition among cats that should be screened for.
  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD): A disorder affecting the kidneys which can be tested for in breeding cats.

Regular health check-ups with a veterinarian can help catch and manage these conditions early on.

Diet and Nutrition

Diet for the Selkirk Rex should be well-balanced and age-appropriate. Here’s a quick guide to their nutritional needs:

  • Protein: High-quality animal protein should be the main component of their diet.
  • Fats: Essential fatty acids are important for maintaining their coat’s health.
  • Carbohydrates: Should be given in moderation as they are less crucial for cats.

Wet food can help with hydration, while dry food can be beneficial for dental health. Portions should be monitored to prevent obesity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Selkirk Rex kittens spark a lot of curiosity due to their unique looks and personalities. This section aims to clear up some common inquiries potential owners might have.

What’s the typical price range for a Selkirk Rex kitten?

The cost of a Selkirk Rex kitten typically ranges from $500 to $1500. Prices fluctuate based on lineage, location, and breeder reputation.

Can I find Selkirk Rex cats available for adoption?

Yes, they can occasionally be found in shelters or through rescue groups. However, purebreds like the Selkirk Rex are less common in adoption centers compared to other breeds.

What variety of colors do Selkirk Rex cats come in?

Selkirk Rex cats boast a wide color palette, including black, white, blue, red, cream, chocolate, and lilac, as well as various patterns and shades.

How cuddly and affectionate are Selkirk Rex cats, typically?

They are known for their plush coats and cuddly nature. Selkirk Rex cats often form strong bonds with their owners and are typically very affectionate.

Are Selkirk Rex cats considered a rare breed?

The breed isn’t extremely rare, but they are less common than many other domestic cat breeds due to their relatively recent development.

What should I consider before deciding to get a Selkirk Rex?

Prospective owners should consider the grooming needs of Selkirk Rex’s curly coat, their overall health, and the cat’s need for companionship. They should also consider whether they can commit to caring for the cat for its entire life.