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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Cornish Rex

Cornish Rex

Origin: England

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Curly coat, soft to the touch.
All colors, including solid, tabby, bicolor, tortoiseshell and calico.
Special considerations: 
Small- to medium-sized lithe body with well-developed muscles; small, egg-shaped head; large eyes; high cheekbones; large ears; and whip-like tail.

The story of the Cornish Rex begins on July 21, 1950, in Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, England. An ordinary red and white farm cat, Serena, gave birth to a litter of kittens, among them a red tabby male who was unlike anything owner Nina Ennismore had ever seen. Instead of being covered with short baby hair, Kallibunker (as he was called) was covered with tiny, tightly rolled curls all over his body, which gave him the appearance of a small lamb. As he grew, Kallibunker became even more striking - long and slender with a whippy tail, huge ears and a narrow head. His tight curls became smooth, silky waves all over his body, and even his short whiskers were curled and crinkly. Luckily for Cornish Rex fanciers, Ennismore's veterinarian recognized the value of the mutation and talked her out of having Kallibunker neutered. He persuaded her to enlist the help of a geneticist, Mr. A. C. Jude, to help her propagate a new breed. Kallibunker was mated back to Serena, who had two more curly kittens. Ennismore named the breed "Rex," which came from her previous experience breeding curly coated Rex rabbits. After a different Rex gene was discovered in 1960, the words 'Cornish' and 'Devon' were added to differentiate the two breeds.

The Cornish Rex came to America in 1957, imported by Frances Blancheri, whose female cat, Lamorna, established the foundation of the Cornish Rex in the United States. Lamorna and her kittens were bred to Siamese cats to widen the gene pool, which resulted in them having a thinner body than the Cornish Rex in the United Kingdom. The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) began registering Rex cats in 1962, but unlike most other organizations, they did not differentiate between the Devon and the Cornish Rex. It wasn't until 1984 that the CFA changed the Rex breed into two separate breeds.

While some breeders like to label the Cornish Rex "hypoallergenic," in truth no cat is truly nonallergenic. What is true is that the Cornish Rex's coat can be better for people with allergies because it does not shed as much as other breeds.

Cornish Rex are probably one of the friendliest breeds of cat. They are playful and active and will often clown around, much to the amusement of their owners. They are intelligent and can be taught to walk on a harness, and some may even figure out how to open doors by turning the doorknob. They are high energy and need daily play.
At home: 
Although a hardy breed, Cornish Rex should not be subjected to extremes in temperature because their coats are not as weatherproof as other breeds. Cornish Rex are extremely social and need to be with their owners - they will often howl and wail if separated from them by a closed door in the home. They do not fare well if left alone for long periods. They love to be a part of all household activities and will greet guests at the door with a friendly meow. Cornish Rex also like to climb and can often be found at the highest point in any room, including on top of the refrigerator. They have a high activity level and will often race around the house, over and under furniture, regardless of knickknacks, other people or other pets.
Cornish Rex are rarely picky eaters and often have hearty appetites. Feed a high-quality diet, and don't give too many treats - these cats have a tendency to gain weight.
Cornish Rex are good cats for active families. They love children, other cats and dogs.
The Cornish Rex can live up to 15 years. There are no reported health issues with this breed.
Fun fact: 

The gene that causes the Cornish Rex's curly coat is called Rex-Gene I.

Grooming blurb: 
The breed is easy to groom and doesn't shed much. A weekly brushing with a rubber brush is all he needs.
This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.