Let's talk Selkirk Rex cats

The striking curly-haired Selkirk Rex is the more cuddly version of her Persian and British Shorthair ancestors. Not every Selkirk Rex is a lap cat but they’ll never wander too far from you: this sweet and mellow feline forms a loyal bond with their human family. More energetic than their teddy bear appearance suggests, the Selkirk Rex is playful and will be content to chase after toys. They can even be trained to walk on a leash. Bottom line, the Selkirk Rex is a lovely mix of calm and playful.

Official name: Selkirk Rex

Other names: None

Origins: US

Close-up of Selkirk Rex looking at camera in black and white

 Shedding level:

Warm weather? Medium
 Energy level (high, low, medium)*: Medium Family Pet?* 
 Compatibility with other pets:

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.
 
For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).
 
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
 
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
 
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 
Spider chart of Scottish Straight characteristics
Illustration of Selkirk Rex
Male
25 - 30 cm Height
5 - 7 kg Weight
Female
23 - 28 cm Height
3 - 5 kg Weight

 

 Baby cat  Birth to 4 months
 Growing kitten  4 to 12 months
 Adult  1 to 7 years
 Mature  7 to 12 years
 Senior  From 12 years

White Selkirk Rex lying on black and white rug

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Get to know the Selkirk Rex

All you need to know about the breed

You could say that the medium sized Selkirk Rex is the purrfect mix of their feline ancestors. From the British Shorthair, they have inherited a calm temperament, from the Persian comes patience and affection.

The Selkirk Rex can form strong bonds with children of all ages, so long as they behave respectfully, and cat-friendly pets. While far from being a couch potato breed, the Selkirk Rex does appreciate a quiet life, preferably in a cosy environment with lots of loving strokes from their owner(s). Friends who drop in without warning will not be a problem for the sociable Selkirk Rex: it’s one more human to give them a scratch behind the ears.

Let’s talk about that curly coat! The Selkirk Rex can have short-haired or long-haired coats. The former means a short coat, with plush curls covering the neck, throat and stomach. The latter means a mid-length to long coat that is curlier than the short-haired variety, and lends an overall appearance of slight disarray. People often feel an urge to stroke Selkirk Rex cats because of their generous coat, which they will accept with pleasure.

Orange Selkirk Rex looking behind on black background

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2 facts about Selkirk Rex cats

1. Not fussy

The Selkirk Rex is so mellow that they can adapt well to most living situations. Whether they put down paws in a city apartment with an enclosed balcony or a countryside setting with lots of green space, they will do just fine. Their biggest priority is having a human or two to shower them with affection and keep them company.

2. Curls are always in

The curly kink, one of the Selkirk Rex’s distinguishing features, can be reduced through over vigorous or too-frequent grooming. A gentle brush twice a week is enough to prevent matting, remove dead fur and keep their curls nice and, well, curly.

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History of the breed

The Selkirk Rex is Generation X, having been introduced to the world in 1987. They count the Cornish and Devon Rex cats as cousins, with all three sharing curly coats, but the Selkirk Rex bears less of a family resemblance due to their big-boned body and thicker coat.

Going back to their roots: the Selkirk Rex comes from Montana, where a local Persian breeder called Jeri Newman spotted a lone kitten with curly fur in a litter. Newman adopted the cat on the spot as she was so taken with their appearance. This cat was named Miss DePesto and was later bred with a black Persian cat. They produced a litter of six kittens, with three bearing the same curls as their mother.

Jeri Newman decided to name the breed after her stepfather, Selkirk. The Rex was added to distinguish their curly coat. Interesting trivia fact for you: Selkirk Rexes are the only cat breed to be named after a person!

In the 1990s, both the International Cat Association and the American Cat Fanciers Association recognised the Selkirk Rex breed, followed by the Cat Fanciers Association in 2000.

Close-up of Selkirk Rex looking at camera in black and white

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Selkirk Rex cats

1. Head

Head is round with full cheeks and wide, open eyes.

2. Coat

The curly coat comes in all colours and patterns.

3. Body

A rectangular shaped body that is muscular.

Close-up of black and beige Selkirk Rex

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Selkirk Rex

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Caring for your Selkirk Rex

Grooming, training and exercise tips

No matter the length of their coat, your Selkirk Rex will require one brush per week, with a wide-tooth comb, to keep their curls going strong, prevent matting and remove dead hair. Checking their ears and cutting their nails should be done regularly and tooth brushing every day is optimal. Your Selkirk Rex is likely to want you involved in their daily exercise regime, so investing in some interactive games and feather teasers will keep them content (and in good shape). While they’re a moderately active breed, the Selkirk Rex is not hyperactive, so will calmly settle down when it is quiet time. When training your Selkirk Rex, be positive in your approach. They prefer to keep their humans happy so there is no need to raise your voice or discipline them with a firm hand. The breed can be trained to walk outside on a leash, but be sure that the neighbourhood is suitable, i.e. free of too much noise and cars or bikes.

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All about Selkirk Rex cats

With their curly coat the Selkirk Rex is a bit of a shedder but it’s not to the level that you need to cover all surfaces to protect against a fur attack. A weekly grooming routine will be a key element in helping you to keep this hairy situation under control.

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on the Selkirk Rex cat that you take home with you. Whether they hop into your lap or not, your Selkirk Rex will always be close by and ready for a cuddle, a stroke or a scratch behind the ears. They are an easygoing cat with an affectionate nature.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Cat Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book