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4 Curly-Haired Cat Breeds (With Pictures)

If you're seeking for a genuinely unique cat, a curly-haired breed may be perfect for you. There are just four sorts of curly-haired cat breeds in the entire globe.

Let's study more about each one to choose which of these uncommon breeds would be the greatest fit for you and your family in "4 Curly-Haired Cat Breeds (with Pictures)" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org).

What Makes a Curly Cat Breed?

Several curly-haired cat breeds are known as “rex” cats. This acknowledges the genetic mutation responsible for these cats’ wavy or curly hair. Several species possess the gene for curly hair, including horses, rats, rabbits, dogs, and cats.

The mutation affects the structure of the hair, causing it to become curly rather than straight. All rexed and curly-haired cat breeds are the consequence of a natural genetic mutation.

Just four rex cat breeds are officially recognized by the major breed organizations, such as the Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association.

Each breed of curly-haired cat has a unique genetic mutation, which explains why their curly coat textures are so distinct.

Some curly-haired cat breeds, such as the Devon Rex, lack an undercoat entirely, resulting in a short, velvety coat composed solely of guard hairs. Others, such as the Selkirk Rex, have an abundant, thick, short- or longhaired coat.

The 4 Curly Haired Cat Breeds

1. LaPerm Cat

  • Lifespan: 10 – 14 years
  • Temperament: Active and affectionate
  • Coat Colors: Black, white, red, blue, chocolate, cream, fawn, cinnamon, and lavender, with different shadings and patterns
  • Weight: 5 – 10 pounds
  • Shedding: Low

The LaPerm is a natural breed that may be linked to a litter of kittens born in Oregon’s Dalles County in 1982. One of the kittens, eventually named Curly, was born hairless and subsequently grew silky, curly hair.

This kitten went on to bear her own babies with curly fur. The farm’s curly-haired cats had been permitted to reproduce freely until 1992, when a breeding program was established.

The name LaPerm was inspired by the breed’s wavy coat, which resembles that of a dog that has been permed! After the breed got more popular, there was a significant lot of interest in them.

Very loving, LaPerm cats like spending time with their owners. Also, they are very attuned to their owners, so while they like being active, they are also content to rest and relax with you.

LaPerm kittens may be born bald or with hair, but they virtually invariably lose their coat by 6 months of age, which comes back gradually.

These clever cats like learning new tricks, and clicker training is a terrific way to bond with your cat while teaching it new things. As long as LaPerms receive care and attention from their owners, they are content.

2. Selkirk Rex

  • Lifespan: 10 – 14 years
  • Temperament: Active and affectionate
  • Coat Colors: Black, white, red, blue, chocolate, cream, fawn, cinnamon, and lavender, with different shadings and patterns
  • Weight: 5 – 10 pounds
  • Shedding: Low

The Selkirk Rex is a recent natural breed that was found by Jeri Newman in Montana in 1987 and is sometimes referred to as the “Poodle Cat.”

A cat with curly hair and whiskers was discovered among a litter of ordinary kittens. This gene is believed to have mutated in the kitten, which was called Miss DePesto after a character from the (then-popular) television series “Moonlighting.” When DePesto was mated to a Persian cat, he produced six kittens, three with curly hair and three with a straight coat.

The breed was named after Jeri Newman’s stepfather, Selkirk Rex. This makes the Selkirk Rex the only cat breed named after an individual!

Selkirk Rex cats can be born with either short or long fur, as well as a wavy or straight coat. The Selkirk Rex is extroverted, self-assured, and social. They thrive in busy homes and get along nicely with other animals.

Because to their thick coats, they shed rather regularly; thus, they require regular brushing to keep stray hairs under control.

Selkirk Rexes are robust, muscular felines. They are lively and like interacting with their family frequently. They are not particularly talkative or demanding, although they may follow you about the house. These bright cats require plenty mental and physical engagement to maintain optimal health.

3. Cornish Rex

  • Lifespan: 9 – 13 years
  • Temperament: Sociable and athletic
  • Coat Colors: Black, white, red, blue, cream, lavender, chocolate, silver, tabby, and smoke, plus a range of different shadings and patterns
  • Weight: 5 – 9 pounds
  • Shedding: Low

Nina Ennismore found the Cornish Rex in the British county of Cornwall in 1950. Being a breeder of Rex rabbits, she recognized that the kitten born to a barn cat was atypical, so she adopted him and gave him the name Kallibunker. His curly coat is likely the result of a spontaneous genetic mutation.

Initially, it was believed that the Cornish Rex and the Devon Rex were linked, but when these species were mixed, every kitten produced had a straight coat.

In 1957, the first pair of Cornish Rex cats was imported into the United States, and the breed was officially recognized in 1967. They are currently more popular in the United States than in their own nation.

Most of the time, Cornish Rexes require the companionship of others as they are people-oriented. They will not thrive in a household where their owners are absent all day.

Cornish Rexes lack guard hairs, making its coat smooth and fairly thin. These cats have a trim and athletic build. They are obviously Cornish Rex because to their small face and huge ears.

They enjoy climbing, thus it is essential to provide them with many opportunities to do so. They get along nicely with dogs and other pets. Once harness-trained, they will be eager to go on walks and enjoy learning new skills.

4. Devon Rex

  • Lifespan: 9 – 13 years
  • Temperament: Sociable and mischievous
  • Coat Colors: Black, blue, white, red, cream, lavender, chocolate, fawn, and cinnamon, plus a range of different shadings and patterns
  • Weight: 5 – 10 pounds
  • Shedding: Low

When the Cornish Rex gained popularity, another naturally occurring curly-haired cat breed was identified in the nearby county of Devon.

In 1960, a wild cat with a curly coat produced a litter of kittens, one of whom had her father’s curly coat. Beryl Cox, the owner of the cat with curly hair, called her Kirlee. Initially, Kirlee was sold to the owners of the first Cornish Rex, Kallibunker, to determine whether mating the two would produce additional kittens with curly hair.

Nevertheless, none of the kittens from Kallibunker and Kirlee had curled fur, showing that their genotypes were distinct and that they were in fact separate breeds. Mixing Kirlee with other cat breeds did produce kittens with curly hair, and the Devon Rex breed was formed.

The coats of Devon Rexes are tightly curled, and their whiskers are short or nonexistent. Their enormous ears rest low on their heads, giving them a pixie-like appearance that breed enthusiasts find attractive.

These friendly cats like companionship and are typically naughty and playful. To keep them engaged, Devon Rexes require companionship from their owners as well as toys and stimulation.

Devon Rex cats frequently exhibit the endearing behavior of wagging their tails when they are content. Because to the fragility of their fur, they should not be brushed excessively, since this may cause their hairs to fall off.

Are There Any Other Curly-Haired Cat Breeds?

Four breeds mentioned in “4 Curly-Haired Cat Breeds (with Pictures)” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) are the only curly-haired cat breeds approved by the majority of breed organisations.

Nonetheless, the following rexed or curly-haired breeds are currently under development:

  • German Rex
  • Tennessee Rex
  • Ural Rex
  • Tasman Rex
  • Skookum

Once these breeds become officially recognized, we will add them to the list! Certain rexed cats have also been discovered in other cat breeds, including as Persians and Maine Coons, although this has never resulted in the establishment of a distinct breed.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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