What is a Selkirk Rex Cat?

Selkirk Rex Cat with Curly Hair

The Selkirk Rex is a captivating and unique breed of cat that stands out for its distinctively curly coat and charming personality.

What is a Selkirk Rex Cat

Selkirk Rex is a curly-haired cat breed discovered in Montana in the 1980s. It is known for having expressive eyes, a sturdy build and a unique coat.

In this blog, we will look at all aspects of the Selkirk Rex, including its origin, behavioral characteristics, care, health and other information.


Origin and History

The captivating story of the Selkirk Rex's origin is rooted in serendipity and the discovery of a kitten with a unique coat. Unlike other curly-coated breeds that are often the result of a recessive gene mutation, the Selkirk Rex's curly coat gene is dominant, setting it apart from its feline counterparts. The breed's history unfolds in Montana in the late 1980s.

It all began when a curly-coated kitten named Miss DePesto was rescued from an animal shelter in Montana. The discovery of this curly-coated kitten caught the attention of cat lover and breed enthusiast Jeri Newman.

Selkirk Rex kitten

Recognizing the extraordinary nature of the kitten's coat, Newman saw the potential for a new breed with a distinctive appearance.

Intrigued by the possibilities, Newman embarked on a journey to establish the Selkirk Rex breed.

Miss DePesto was bred to a Persian cat, leading to a litter of kittens that showcased both straight-haired and curly-haired individuals. This was a pivotal moment in the breed's development, as it demonstrated that the curly coat trait was not only hereditary but also inherited as a dominant gene.

The breed's unique appearance and Newman's dedication to preserving and promoting it led to the Selkirk Rex gaining recognition within the cat breeding community. In 1992, the breed was officially accepted by The International Cat Association (TICA).

That was a a significant milestone that solidified its place among recognized cat breeds. Since then, Selkirk Rex cats have gained popularity for their distinctive looks and charming personalities.

The Selkirk Rex's history is a testament to the potential for new breeds to emerge from chance discoveries and the passion of dedicated individuals.



The Selkirk Rex is a breed that immediately captures attention with its distinct and charming appearance. From its luxurious curly coat to its unique facial features, the Selkirk Rex stands out as a visually captivating feline companion.

Curly Coat

The most striking and defining characteristic of the Selkirk Rex is its curly coat. Unlike other curly-coated breeds that often result from a recessive gene mutation, the Selkirk Rex's curls are the outcome of a dominant gene.

Gray and white Selkirk Rex cat

This means that even cats with just one copy of the gene will display curly coats. The curls are soft, plush, and cover the entire body, including the whiskers and eyebrows.

The coat's texture adds an element of touchable appeal, making the Selkirk Rex particularly irresistible to those who come across it.


Variety of Coat Lengths and Patterns

The Selkirk Rex comes in both short-haired and long-haired varieties, offering a range of options for those who appreciate different coat lengths. Regardless of the length, the curls remain a defining feature.

In addition to varied coat lengths, the breed boasts a wide spectrum of colors and patterns. From classic tabby patterns to solid colors and intricate markings, the Selkirk Rex's coat diversity adds to its visual allure.


Round Face and Expressive Eyes

Selkirk Rex with expressive eyes

The breed's physical features extend beyond its coat. The Selkirk Rex's round face is characterized by prominent cheeks and a short snub nose, contributing to its endearing appearance.

The eyes are large, expressive, and often display a sweet and open expression. Their eyes have a way of drawing people in, conveying the cat's gentle and affectionate nature.


Muscular Build and Sturdy Frame

The Selkirk Rex has a medium to large-sized body with a muscular build. Their stocky frame adds to their presence and showcases their robust health. While they may appear somewhat chunky, their well-proportioned bodies are a testament to their strength and vitality.

Unique Whiskers and Eyelashes A fascinating aspect of the Selkirk Rex's appearance is the presence of curly whiskers and eyelashes. This feature, coupled with their curly coat, adds to the breed's overall charm and uniqueness.

The combination of soft, curly fur and distinctive facial features makes the Selkirk Rex a breed that's truly captivating to behold.

The Selkirk Rex's appearance is a delightful fusion of distinctive traits that set it apart from other breeds. From the soft and luxurious curls that cover its body to the expressive eyes and unique facial features, every aspect of the Selkirk Rex's appearance contributes to its captivating and endearing presence.

Whether it's their curly whiskers or their round, expressive eyes, these cats possess a visual allure that leaves a lasting impression on all who have the pleasure of encountering them.


Behavior and Characteristics

The Selkirk Rex is not only a cat of distinctive appearance but also one of captivating behavior and endearing personality traits. From their gentle disposition to their adaptability, these cats possess qualities that make them cherished companions in households around the world.


Gentle Giants

One of the most remarkable features of the Selkirk Rex is their gentle and laid-back demeanor. Often referred to as "gentle giants," these cats have a calm and composed presence that instantly puts both humans and other pets at ease.

Orange and white Selkirk Rex cat

This temperament makes them particularly well-suited for families, individuals, and multi-pet households.


Affectionate Nature

Selkirk Rex cats are known for their affectionate nature. They form strong bonds with their human companions and enjoy spending quality time with them. Unlike some breeds that might be aloof or independent, Selkirk Rex cats actively seek out human interaction.

They relish being near their loved ones, whether it's lounging on a lap, curling up beside someone on the couch, or following their favorite person around the house.


Cuddlers and Lap Cats

If you're seeking a feline friend that loves to snuggle, the Selkirk Rex might be the perfect match. These cats are often seen as "lap cats," and they take great delight in cuddling with their owners. Their soft, plush coat adds an extra layer of comfort, making cuddle sessions even more enjoyable.

The Selkirk Rex's propensity for physical closeness strengthens the bond between the cat and its human companions.


Selkirk Rex Cats are Playful and Intelligent

While the Selkirk Rex has a calm and laid-back nature, it doesn't mean they lack playfulness or intelligence. These cats have a curious streak that leads them to explore their environment and engage in interactive play.

Selkirk Rex cat playing

Puzzle toys, feather wands, and other interactive games are a great way to stimulate their minds and keep them entertained. Their intelligence also makes them receptive to learning tricks and commands, further enhancing their human-cat interactions.


Adaptable and Social

The adaptability of the Selkirk Rex makes them versatile companions for various living situations. Whether you reside in a bustling household or a quieter environment, these cats are known for adjusting well.

They often get along with other pets, including dogs, thanks to their non-confrontational nature. Proper introductions and socialization play a crucial role in ensuring harmonious interactions between the Selkirk Rex and other animals.

As playful and affectionate as any cat can be, all cats like a a little alone time and a place they can hide and feel secure. Cat Box Classics cardboard cat houses are the ideal spot for your Selkirk Rex or other cats to scratch, play and sleep.

Furry masterpieces cardboard cat house

Our cat houses are made with cat-safe soy ink, non-toxic glues and include a replaceable scratcher. So before finishing this blog be sure to check out our cardboard cat houses.


Quiet Observers

While they enjoy play and interaction, Selkirk Rex cats are also content to be quiet observers. They have a knack for finding cozy spots to watch the world go by, showcasing their contemplative side. This trait makes them an ideal companion for those who appreciate the companionship of a cat that respects personal space and appreciates solitude.

 The Selkirk Rex's gentle nature, affectionate demeanor, adaptability, and playful intelligence make them a well-rounded and delightful addition to any household.

Whether they're seeking out cuddles or calmly observing their surroundings, Selkirk Rex cats bring a unique blend of qualities that make them cherished companions for individuals and families alike.


Selkirk Rex Health Considerations

While the Selkirk Rex is generally a healthy breed, there are a few health considerations to keep in mind. Dental health is a common concern, so regular dental care is recommended.

Additionally, the breed's unique coat requires diligent grooming. The curly coat is prone to matting, so regular brushing and occasional baths are essential to prevent tangles and maintain the coat's luster. Responsible breeding practices can help minimize the risk of genetic health issues.


How to Care for a Selkirk Rex

Caring for a Selkirk Rex involves a combination of providing proper grooming, nutrition, healthcare, and a stimulating environment that caters to their unique needs. Here's a comprehensive guide to ensuring your Selkirk Rex thrives in every aspect of its life


  1. Grooming

The Selkirk Rex's distinctive curly coat requires regular grooming to maintain its health and appearance. While their curly fur is less prone to shedding, it can become prone to matting and tangling. Brush your Selkirk Rex's coat a few times a week to prevent mats and distribute natural oils. For long-haired Selkirk Rex cats, more frequent grooming might be necessary to prevent knots and tangles. Regular grooming sessions also offer an opportunity for bonding between you and your cat.


  1. Nutrition

Provide your Selkirk Rex with a balanced and high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate type and amount of food for your cat's age, weight, and activity level. Cats require a diet rich in animal protein and specific nutrients to maintain optimal health. Ensure access to fresh water at all times.


  1. Health Care
Cute Selkirk Rex cat

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor your Selkirk Rex's overall health and address any potential issues early. Schedule vaccinations, parasite control (such as flea and tick prevention), and dental care as recommended by your veterinarian. Keep an eye out for changes in behavior, appetite, litter box habits, or any unusual physical symptoms.


  1. Exercise and Play

While Selkirk Rex cats have a calm demeanor, they still benefit from regular exercise and mental stimulation. Engage in interactive play sessions to keep their minds sharp and their bodies active. Puzzle toys, feather wands, and laser pointers are great options to keep your Selkirk Rex entertained.


  1. Safe Environment

Create a safe and enriching environment for your Selkirk Rex. Provide scratching posts, climbing structures, and cozy spots where they can rest and observe their surroundings. Ensure that any plants, household items, or substances that could be harmful to cats are kept out of their reach.


  1. Socialization

Selkirk Rex cats thrive on social interaction, so spend quality time with them to build a strong bond. Engage in gentle play and offer plenty of cuddles and affection. Additionally, consider introducing your Selkirk Rex to other pets gradually and under supervision to ensure positive relationships.


  1. Grooming Considerations

Depending on the length of their coat, Selkirk Rex cats may require different levels of grooming attention. Long-haired Selkirk Rex cats are more prone to matting and may require more frequent brushing to prevent tangles. Additionally, regular eye and ear cleaning, as well as nail trimming, are important aspects of grooming that contribute to your cat's overall well-being.


  1. Mental Stimulation

Keep your Selkirk Rex mentally engaged by providing toys that encourage problem-solving and exploration. Puzzle feeders and interactive toys that dispense treats can help satisfy their curious nature and prevent boredom.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your Selkirk Rex enjoys a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life as a beloved member of your family. Remember that every cat is an individual, so observing your Selkirk Rex's preferences and adjusting their care accordingly will contribute to their overall well-being and happiness.


Interactions with People and Other Pets

Selkirk Rex cats are renowned for their gentle and sociable nature. They are particularly well-suited to households with other pets and children due to their adaptable and non-confrontational disposition.

These cats form strong bonds with their human companions and are often content to be part of the family's activities. When introducing a Selkirk Rex to other pets, a gradual and controlled approach ensures harmonious relationships.



The Selkirk Rex is a captivating breed that combines a distinctive appearance with a charming personality.

From its origins as a chance discovery to its striking curly coat, affectionate behavior, and compatibility with people and other pets, the Selkirk Rex is a well-rounded and delightful companion. Responsible ownership involves providing regular grooming, healthcare, and a nurturing environment.

If you're seeking a cat that is both visually unique and emotionally rewarding, the Selkirk Rex is an excellent choice that will undoubtedly bring joy to your life.