Selkirk Rex

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selkirk rex cat portrait
Get ready to fall in love with the Selkirk Rex cat breed, where curls reign supreme! From their whimsical curls that look like a permanent bad hair day to their affectionate and social personalities, these feline wonders are a bundle of joy.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, care, health concerns, history, and more!


ORIGINUnited States
HEIGHT9-10 inches
WEIGHT6-16 lbs
LIFESPAN14-15 years
selkirk rex standing on a rock
Photo: Thomas Leirikh/Getty Images


The Selkirk Rex typically sports a medium to large size body, with females generally weighing between 6 to 12 pounds while males can tip the scales at 11 to 16 pounds. They boast a solid and muscular physique beneath their plush coat, a testament to their robust health and vitality.

Let’s talk about their adorable faces. Selkirk Rex cats have a round head complemented by round eyes that can come in any color. Their expressions are often sweet and endearing, much like their personalities. Their medium-sized ears, set wide apart, add to their charming disposition. They have a medium-length tail, which balances nicely with the rest of their body size.

But what truly sets them apart is their exceptional coat. Selkirk Rex cats have a distinctive curly or wavy coat, which gives them a teddy bear-like appearance. This breed got its name from the Rex mutation, which is responsible for the curly hair. Their coat is plush and woolly, with loose, unstructured curls that give them an irresistibly cuddly look.

Their coat can come in any color or pattern, making each Selkirk Rex unique and special. You might see a Selkirk Rex in solid black, white, or even a mixture of colors. Some may have a colorpoint pattern, like the famous Siamese cats, while others might flaunt a bi-color or calico pattern.

The Selkirk Rex’s coat isn’t just remarkable for its curls and colors. It’s also surprisingly easy to maintain. Regular brushing can help keep their coat looking its best. So not only do they look like a cute, plush teddy bear, but they’re also relatively low-maintenance.

selkirk rex kitten sitting on a chair
Photo: JoannElle/Getty Images


Selkirk Rex cats are renowned not just for their delightful teddy-bear-like appearance, but also for their affectionate and gentle temperament. These cats, with their charming personalities, are quite the social butterflies.

They love to be part of whatever is going on in their surroundings, always eager to participate and engage. Unusually for cats, Selkirks are not ones to seek out the highest perch in the house; instead, they prefer to be on your level, observing and interacting with you.

They are an ideal choice for families, as their tolerant and laid-back nature allows them to get along splendidly with children. They’re not easily bothered by the hustle and bustle that often accompanies family life. In fact, they seem to thrive in it. Selkirks also get along well with other pets, be they dogs or other cats, making them a fantastic addition to a multi-pet household.

One of the most endearing traits of Selkirk Rex cats is their playful nature. They love toys, and they’re not shy about initiating a game. You’ll often find them batting at catnip mice, chasing feather wands, or even playing fetch. Despite their playful and energetic persona, they also value their downtime. They are equally happy to curl up in your lap for a snuggle or find a cozy corner for a catnap.

Selkirks are known for their intelligent and curious disposition. They love exploring their surroundings, and they’re quick to learn. They can easily figure out how to open doors or cabinets, so don’t be surprised if you find them in places you least expect!

Despite their intelligence, they are not overly demanding for attention. They appreciate your company, but are also content spending time on their own, making them a well-balanced companion.

Another delightful aspect of Selkirk Rex cats is their vocalization. They have a soft and pleasant voice, and they make sure to use it to communicate their needs or thoughts. However, they are not overly talkative. They won’t keep you up at night with endless meowing, but they will greet you with a gentle purr or a soft meow when you come home.

Selkirk Rex cats are incredibly adaptable. They can easily adjust to changes in their environment, making them a perfect companion for those who move frequently. Whether you live in a bustling city or a tranquil countryside, a Selkirk Rex will feel right at home.

selkirk rex lying on a stone
Photo: Thomas Leirikh/Getty Images


When it comes to the care of your Selkirk Rex, three aspects are paramount: grooming, exercise and play, and diet and nutrition. Let’s delve into each one.


Grooming a Selkirk Rex is a delightful task that strengthens the bond between you and your feline friend. They possess a plush, curly coat that requires a gentle hand. Expect to brush them at least once a week to keep their coat free from matting and to distribute natural oils evenly.

Bathing is occasionally necessary, but only when your Selkirk appears soiled. Their curly coat takes longer to dry, so ensure you have ample time to gently dry them off.

Exercise and Play

Exercise and play are essential to keeping your Selkirk Rex healthy and happy. Their playful nature means they are always up for a game. Invest in a variety of toys to keep their minds stimulated and their bodies active.

Puzzle toys, feather wands, and even simple balls of yarn can keep them entertained for hours. Remember, play sessions are not only for fun; they also provide a great form of exercise for your furry friend.

Diet and Nutrition

Feeding your Selkirk Rex a balanced diet is crucial for their overall health and well-being. They thrive on high-quality cat food, rich in protein and low in fillers like corn or wheat. While they may adore a treat now and then, keep these to a minimum to avoid weight gain. Make sure fresh water is always available, especially if your Selkirk is on a dry food diet.

selkirk rex sleeping on the bed
Photo: Lucy Lambriex/Getty Images


Selkirk Rex cats are generally healthy, robust creatures with a life expectancy of between 14 and 15 years. However, like all breeds, they can be susceptible to certain health conditions. Here are five common health issues to be aware of:

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): This is a heart condition that is often genetic in cats. It involves the thickening of the heart muscles and can lead to heart failure.

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD): This inherited condition results in the development of cysts in the kidneys and can lead to kidney dysfunction.

Gingivitis and Periodontitis: Dental issues are common in cats. Regular dental cleaning at home and professional dental cleaning at the vet can prevent these problems.

Obesity: Selkirk Rex cats love to eat and can easily become overweight if not monitored.

Osteoarthritis: Older Selkirk Rex cats can suffer from this degenerative joint disease that causes pain and mobility issues.

To keep your Selkirk Rex healthy, a wholesome diet is key. Feed them high-quality cat food that fulfills their nutritional needs and monitor their intake to prevent overeating. Regular veterinary check-ups are also vital; they’ll help catch any potential health issues early. Vaccinations should be kept up-to-date to prevent common infectious diseases.

Above all, love and attention are the best medicine. A happy Selkirk Rex is a healthy one!

selkirk rex lying on the floor
Photo: JoannElle/Getty Images


The Selkirk Rex has a fascinating history that dates back to the late 20th century. The story begins in 1987 in Montana, USA, where a feral blue-cream tortoiseshell and white cat gave birth to a litter of kittens. Among them was a unique kitten with an unusual curly coat, who was later named Miss DePesto, after a character in the popular television series “Moonlighting.”

Miss DePesto caught the attention of local Persian breeder, Jeri Newman, who adopted her. Recognizing her unique qualities, Newman decided to develop a new breed. She successfully bred Miss DePesto with a black Persian, marking the start of the Selkirk Rex breed.

This intriguing breed was named ‘Selkirk’ after Newman’s stepfather, making it the first cat breed to be named after a person. The term ‘Rex’ was added to denote the curly nature of the cat’s coat, a naming convention used for other curly-haired animals.

In its early years, the Selkirk Rex quickly gained recognition for its plush, sheep-like curls and its amiable nature. By 1992, just five years after the breed’s inception, The International Cat Association (TICA) officially recognized the Selkirk Rex. Following suit, the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) gave its nod of approval in 1997.

The swift recognition by these prestigious cat associations is a testament to the uniqueness of the Selkirk Rex breed. Today, this loveable cat breed continues to win hearts around the world for both its charming appearance and its equally captivating personality. The history of the Selkirk Rex reminds us of nature’s playful creativity and the joy of embracing difference.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines that describes the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential. Breed standards are devised by breed clubs and recognized by various cat registries worldwide.

These standards provide detailed descriptions of the breed’s physical characteristics such as body shape, size, coat type and color, eye color and shape, ear placement, and tail length.

selkirk rex in a studio
Photo: Michel VIARD/Getty Images


How expensive is a Selkirk Rex?

Depending on its pedigree, a Selkirk Rex can range from $500 to $800. Kittens generally are more expensive than adult cats. Remember, the initial purchase price is only the beginning, cats also require ongoing care, food, and medical attention.

Are Selkirk Rex cats cuddly?

Indeed, they are! Selkirk Rex cats are known for their affectionate and gentle nature. They love to cuddle and spend time with their human companions, making them excellent pets for families.

What is the difference between the Selkirk Rex and the Devon Rex?

While both breeds have curly coats, the Selkirk Rex exhibits a plush, sheep-like curl, and their body is much larger and sturdier compared to the Devon Rex. The Devon Rex, on the other hand, has a wavy, less dense coat and a more slender body.

What makes the Selkirk Rex unusual?

The most unique feature of the Selkirk Rex is their curly, plush, sheep-like coat, which is not typically seen in most cat breeds. This, combined with their friendly and loving nature, makes them a truly unusual and charming breed.

How does the Selkirk Rex get along with other pets?

Selkirk Rex cats are known for their easygoing and tolerant nature. They typically get along well with other pets, including other cats and even dogs. As always, proper introductions and supervision are key to a harmonious multi-pet household.

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