Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Best of Breed
Photo: © Larry Johnson
Cornish Rex cats are kind of strange-looking, which is why I thought they would be interesting to write about.  The breed started out in Cornwall, England, back in the 1950s.  And in case your British geography is rusty, I will just tell you that Cornwall is that pointy part at the very bottom of England that sticks out to the left.  And the very tip of Cornwall is called Land's End.  Mom was there once on a hiking trip, and she said it looks a little bit like a fiscal cliff, but that's not what I'm going to talk about in my blog today.

Anyway, back in 1950 or so, there was a litter of British Domestic Shorthair cats born in Cornwall, and one of the kittens looked really different from the others.  It turned out that this kitten, who was a cream-colored male named Kallibunker, had a genetic mutation that gave him a very fine, curly coat.  Cats can have three layers in their coats, and these layers are (1) the outer "guard hair," (2) the middle "awn hair," and (3) the "down hair" or undercoat.  What Kallibunker had was only the undercoat, without the two top layers.

The person who owned Kallibunker wanted more cats like him and asked a geneticist how to get them. The geneticist suggested breeding Kallibunker back to him mother, which the owner did.  This produced a litter of three kittens, and two of them had the unusual coats.  So by doing this kind of breeding, there eventually got to be more and more Cornish Rex cats.  When the first of them got to the U.S., they were bred with Siamese cats, which gave them big ears and long, skinny tails.  In 1962, the Cat Fanciers Association accepted the Cornish Rex as a breed.  The International Cat Association and the American Cat Fanciers Association have also recognized the breed.

Maybe you are wondering why the word Rex, which means "king" in Latin, got added to the breed name.  Well, now I am going to tell you.  One time while King Albert I of Belgium was on the throne, which was between 1909 and 1934, he entered some rabbits in a rabbit show.  These rabbits had curly hair, which wasn't really allowed by the rabbit breed standard, but the show officials did not want to insult the king, so they wrote "rex" beside the rabbit entries' names to let the judges would know who entered them.  After that, animals with curly or wavy hair started being called "rex."  Besides the Cornish Rex, there is also a Devon Rex cat breed.  It has curly hair like the Cornish Rex, but it also has some short guard hairs, and it sheds more than the Cornish Rex.

The coat of the Cornish Rex can be all sorts of different colors, but it is always curly.  Even the whiskers are curly.  The coat is very soft to touch, sort of like rabbit fur or cut velvet.  These cats cannot live outdoors because they would get too cold and die from exposure.  They like to be in warm places such as people's laps or under light bulbs.

Sometimes people think this breed is hypoallergenic because of its short hair, but this is not true.  When people are allergic to cats, what they are allergic to is cat saliva and dander.  Cornish Rex cats have both of these, just like other cats.  But at least they shed less than other breeds.

Cornish Rex cats are tall and slender.  They look dainty, but they are actually strong and muscular.  They have an arch in their backs, a tucked-up waist, a long tail, and they walk on tip-toes.  As I mentioned before, Cornish Rex kitties have large ears.  These are set high on their heads, which are shaped pretty much like eggs.  Male cats weigh 8-10 pounds, and females weigh 5-7 pounds.

Bebops Lilac Prince
Photo:  m.Gerver
This is a very active breed of cat, and they love to go exploring all sorts of places, such as jumping into the refrigerator to see what's in there.  They are affectionate and playful, and they like to be the center of attention.  They get along well with children and other pets.  You cannot just ignore a Cornish Rex cat because it will want to be part of whatever is going on in the family.

I did not ask Mom if we could get one of these cats because I think we have way too many cats around here already.  But if we didn't have any cats, and we wanted to get one, I think the Cornish Rex might be a good kind to get.


  1. My best friend had two Cornish Rexes. They were wonderful cats, full of personality and so very affectionate! Even my hubby liked them.

  2. Aquí podreis encontrar más información sobre la raza de gato Cornish Rex y un video de Fotos del Cornish Rex

    Espero que os guste.

    1. Me gusta mucho ese blog y las fotos de los gatos Cornish Rex. Gracias por comentar aquí para dirigir a los lectores a su blog.

      Sinceramente, Piper