If you love unusual and goofy animals but can’t buy some expensive and maybe even high-maintenance exotic pet, I found a perfect cat breed for you! With this cat as your pet, you will still own a conventional pet while enjoying its uniqueness and quirks. I am talking about Cornish Rex cats, a cat breed with unique looks and a unique personality.
The first time I saw this cat, I was amazed by its cuteness and amused by its awkward charm. If this sounds interesting, keep reading to learn more about this cool cat breed!
Cornish Rex Cat Characteristics
|Fur color||Black, brown, blue, lilac, cream, chocolate, and red.|
|Fur pattern||Tabby, tortoiseshell, calico, bi-color, spotted tabby, and pointed.|
|Eye color & shape||Oval-shaped, slanted, and medium to large eyes that can be amber, copper, green, gold, aqua, blue, hazel, orange, yellow, and even odd-colored.|
|Weight||Males 5-10 lbs|
Females 4-7 lbs
|Expected lifespan||11-14 years|
|Temperament||Intelligent, adventurous, goofy, friendly, curious, sociable, adaptable, and outgoing.|
|Kids and other pets||Kid-friendly cat that also goes along with other pets, even with dogs.|
|Sociable and cuddly||Very sociable, enjoy cuddling and spending time with their humans. They are outgoing, even among strangers.|
|Activity level||A highly active cat that needs plenty of exercises and physical activity.|
Requirements & Traits
|Feeding||Meat-based wet and dry food rich in protein. Can also be given some fruit snacks, but very rarely.|
|Grooming||Minimal brushing. Occasional nail trimming and ear cleaning. Paws may require cleanings.|
|Shedding||Low amount of shedding.|
|Hypoallergenic||No, although it has short fur and it doesn’t shed a lot, Cornish Rex still exudes a protein responsible for allergies.|
History and Origins
Cornish Rex is one of the more recent cat breeds. The official date of its origin is July 21, 1950. It started as an ordinary day for the Ennismore family that lived on their farm in Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, England. Their cat Serena was about to give birth, and the family eagerly expected the arrival of cute little kittens.
Five kittens arrived, and they were indeed cute. However, one kitten was different. It had an orange and white curly coat. While its siblings had rounded bodies, this kitten had a thin and lithe body, with unusually large ears and a weirdly shaped head.
This particular kitten was male, and it was given an interesting name, Kallibunker. Kallibunker’s owners previously raised and exhibited rabbits. They noticed that he had a similar short curly fur, just like the Astrex rabbit.
Ennismores contacted British geneticist A. C. Jude, who confirmed that Kallibunker was really special and advised Ennismores to backcross to his mother. This was done in an attempt to create more curly kittens. On the first try, Serena gave birth to three kittens, one with regular features and two that looked like Kallibunker.
The second mating produced more curly kittens. The newly created breed got its name because of its Cornish origin and the resemblance with Astrex rabbits.
In 1957, Cornish Rex arrived in North America, and it was recognized as a new breed by several international cat organizations by 1964.
Cornish Rex Personality
Cornish Rex cats may look fragile, but their appearance is often deceiving. These cats are highly active and full of energy. They are curious, playful, outgoing, smart, and friendly.
These cats love to explore their surroundings, and you will often find them in places you didn’t know were reachable. When it’s not climbing the ceiling, your Cornish Rex will follow you around the house.
If you try to eat in peace or do some chores around the house, the Cornish Rex will have some other plans for you. It will try to initiate playtime, or it will steal your food.
These cats are real jesters, and you will often see them act goofy, especially when they want your attention. However, don’t let their clownish persona fool you; these cats are extremely intelligent cats that can learn many tricks and commands.
Cornish Rex Appearance
If you like being in the spotlight, then you just found a perfect cat breed! Cornish Rex cats are attention grabbers, mainly due to their unusual appearance. They almost look like they are out of this world or like cat caricatures, but in a cute way.
The first thing people notice on Cornish Rex cats are their ears. These ears are unusually large, some being almost as large as the whole head. They are full from the base, tapered only slightly on the top.
The ears are erect and set high on the head. They give Cornish Rex an alert but also a comical appearance. Because of such ears, your Cornish Rex will certainly not go unnoticed.
Another specific feature of Cornish Rex cats is their fur. Soft and curly, Cornish Rex’s fur is actually quite sparse. It is completely normal for a Cornish Rex even to have some bald patches.
Most cat breeds have several layers of fur and different types of hair on their bodies. For example, one of those types is guard hair. Guard hairs are basically long and stiff hairs that extend from the base coat. They give the cat its basic color and protect the base coat and the cat’s skin from the water.
Under the guard hairs, there is a middle layer of awn hair and the third layer of undercoat. Cornish Rex cats are born without the guard and awn hairs, and that’s why their fur is so sparse, silky, and soft. Their fur can be relatively dense, but it is sparse when compared to other cat breeds and their furs.
Cornish Rex cat’s fur is curly, and the areas under the chin and on the belly are covered with noticeably short and wavy hairs.
When it comes to patterns and colors, Cornish Rex’s fur is not so unusual. It can be black, blue, brown, cream, red, lilac, or chocolate. The fur may also come in several patterns, such as tabby, spotted tabby, tortoiseshell, bi-colored, calico, and pointed.
Cornish Rex’s eyes are medium to large, but they can look larger than they are because the head is so small. They are oval-shaped and slightly slanted upwards, contributing to the unusual and even exotic appearance of this cat breed.
The eye color depends on the fur, and it can be green, hazel, gold, copper, blue, aqua, amber, orange, and yellow. Some Cornish Rex cats have odd-colored eyes.
Although their body is long and slender, making them look large, Cornish Rex cats are actually small to medium-sized cats. The males are slightly bigger than the females. They can reach a body length of 12-17 inches, while females usually grow to be 11-15 inches long. Males can weigh 5-10 pounds, while females weigh 4-7 pounds.
Other Body Characteristics
Cornish Rex cats are often compared to Greyhounds due to their sleek appearance. The torso is long and slender, and the back is arched upwards. The hips and thighs are muscular and more developed than the rest of the body.
Legs are long and slim, ending in dainty and slightly oval paws. The tail is long, slender, and extremely flexible. It tapers toward the end.
The Cornish Rex’s head is extremely small, narrow, and egg-shaped. Cheekbones are highly placed and pronounced, and the chin is strong and well-developed. The muzzle is slightly rounded.
Daily Life With Cornish Rex
Cornish Rex will certainly make your life more exciting. However, it is a relatively low-maintenance cat breed, and you just need to follow some general requirements.
Cornish Rex cats don’t have any special dietary requirements. Just like with other cat breeds, their diet should be based on meat and full of animal proteins and fats. The best choice of food includes both wet and dry options.
These cats can also eat raw meat, but only if you are certain it is not contaminated. Keep the meat in the fridge or cook it slightly just to make sure you killed all the bacteria and other possible pathogens.
The kittens and juvenile Cornish Rex cats will need to eat more often than the adult ones. Feed them 3-4 times a day, as compared to 2-3 times a day for the adult cats.
Occasional treats and snacks are good but don’t overdo them. Cornish Rex will also enjoy fruit slices given as snacks, but you should consult your vet before offering such food to your cat.
When they see its curly fur, many people wrongly assume that the Cornish Rex requires regular upkeep and grooming. That couldn’t be further away from the truth. Cornish Rex’s fur is so sensitive and delicate that it is best to leave it alone.
Brush it only when necessary. Instead, pay closer attention to the ears. They are large and can collect a lot of dirt, which in turn can cause various infections. To prevent that from happening, regularly inspect your Cornish Rex cat’s ears and look for any weird smells and redness.
Nail trimming is also recommended, and if you can’t do it yourself, take your cat to the groomer. If possible, train your Cornish Rex to put up with occasional teeth brushing, as it will help with its overall dental health.
Sometimes, Cornish Rex’s ears and paws can become greasy in a way. Wipe them gently with a damp cloth or cotton pad.
Cornish Rex cats are extremely active cats. If you want a cat that will be more calm and docile, then avoid getting Cornish Rex. These cats need a lot of playtime, and they remain playful even when they grow up and mature.
Provide them with lots of toys, scratching trees, and enough space to run, jump, climb, hide, and explore. It might sound like a lot, but it is a basic requirement for keeping 99% of cat breeds.
Since they are intelligent, Cornish Rex cats also need some mental stimulation. Try to provide it with some puzzles and interactive games. It is also important that you take some time to play with your Cornish Rex, so just buying a bunch of toys isn’t enough.
Cornish-Rex cats can be leash-trained, so you can take them for long walks to help them spend their energy. You can also let them play outside under your supervision.
Because of their short and sparse furs, Cornish Rex cats shouldn’t spend too much time outside. If you live in an area with a cold climate, your Cornish Rex should stay all the time indoors.
Since these cats prefer warmer temperatures, you will often find them near the heating elements and even curled around your laptop. Make sure that your home is warm enough for this cat breed.
Most Common Cornish Rex Health Issues
Cornish Rex cats have no hereditary or genetic health problems, so there are no diseases specific to this breed. However, although they are generally healthy, Cornish Rex cats can be susceptible to some common cat diseases.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a common heart disease in cats. It is characterized by the thickening of the heart muscle, which can lead to heart failure and sudden death.
The most common symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, no desire for playing, weight loss, swelling of the abdomen, etc. If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to take your Cornish Rex to the vet!
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is believed to be genetic and can affect any cat breed, although certain breeds are at higher risk. There is no cure for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but treatment options are available to help manage the disease and improve your cat’s quality of life.
Patellar luxation is a condition in which the knee cap (patella) slips out of its normal position. It can occur in both dogs and cats. Cat breeds that are prone to this condition include Siamese, Devon Rex, and Sphynx.
The symptoms of patellar luxation include pain, lameness, and an abnormal gait. If the condition is severe, the animal may hold its leg up and refuse to put any weight on it. Surgery is often required to correct the problem.
Patellar luxation is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is often seen in animals that have been bred for certain physical characteristics, such as short legs. Obesity can also contribute to the development of this condition.
Treatment for patellar luxation usually involves surgery to correct the problem. In some cases, physical therapy can also be efficient.
Cat breeds with little or no hairs are often susceptible to sunburns. Since their coat is sparse or non-existent, it doesn’t offer protection from harmful UV rays.
If left in the sun for too long, Cornish Rex might suffer from sunburns that will manifest similarly to human sunburns. Its skin will go red and inflamed, and it might even develop blisters.
To avoid this, keep your Cornish Rex inside when the sun is too harsh outside. You can also get some summer cat clothes that will protect your cat from sunburn.
If you want to use your sunscreen lotion on your Cornish Rex – don’t. These lotions might contain some ingredients that are harmful to your cat. Instead, consult your vet; maybe they will be able to recommend a cat-friendly sunscreen.
Cats, in general, are prone to a number of different kidney diseases. The most common form of renal disease in cats is chronic renal failure, which is a progressive and irreversible deterioration of kidney function. Other forms of renal disease include acute renal failure, which is a sudden and potentially reversible deterioration of kidney function, and pyelonephritis, which is an infection of the kidneys.
Risk factors for developing kidney disease include age, weight, diet, genetics, medications, and underlying medical conditions. Symptoms of kidney disease may include increased thirst, increased urination, appetite loss, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and respiratory distress.
If your Cornish Rex has been diagnosed with kidney disease, it is important to work closely with your veterinarian to create a treatment plan to help your cat live a long and comfortable life.
Bacterial and Viral Infections
Cats are also susceptible to various bacterial and viral infections. This is especially true if they spend some time outside or if they interact with stray and unvaccinated cats and other animals.
Some of the infections are mild and not so dangerous. On the other hand, there are infections that can be harmful and even life-threatening.
If you notice any sign of infection, make sure to take your Cornish Rex to the vet as soon as possible. Some of the most common symptoms include fever, runny nose, eye discharge, frequent sneezing or coughing, lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, etc.
Many of these symptoms could also be caused by some other conditions. Only the vet will be able to tell what’s causing them and how serious they are.
Cornish Rex Name Suggestions
If I had a Cornish Rex cat, I would probably give it a goofy name because these cats always make me laugh when I simply look at them. However, you don’t have to follow the same logic as I, and here are some other options to consider:
Buying or Adopting A Cornish Rex?
There are cat rescuing organizations that mainly focus on Cornish Rex cats. You could look them up and see if you can adopt a Cornish Rex from them. This will probably come with a fee of $75-$150, but you will know that the cat received all the necessary vaccines and medical treatments.
Because Cornish Rex isn’t such a common cat breed, you will find it more easily at cat breeders for $800-$1300. However, since Cornish Rex cats are so specific, not every breeder provides them with the right conditions.
You don’t want to risk buying a cat that has serious health issues because of the bad conditions it was kept in before you bought it. There are some tips to keep in mind and red flags to keep your eye on when choosing a particular breeder.
Research the breeder before you decide to buy your cat from them. Do they have any online presence and social media? There you can see if there are any reviews, especially the negative ones. Ask around, as word of mouth might be even more reliable than online reviews.
Check if they are approved by any of the cat organizations. If they are, that is a good sign. Ask for health certificates. Every reputable breeder should be able to provide you with those, and if they don’t, consider finding another breeder.
Watch out for red flags, such as multiple litters, kittens always being available, etc. Although being able to get a new kitten whenever you want might sound amazing, that can be problematic for several reasons.
For example, such breeders tend to breed their female cats too frequently without giving them any time to rest between pregnancies. This can seriously jeopardize their health and the health of their kittens.
Cornish Rex Cat Alternatives
Cornish Rex cats are the perfect choice for cat owners that like unusual and goofy cats. With their curly furs and large ears, they are certainly attention-grabbers. But if you can’t find a Cornish Rex or if you want another breed for other reasons, you have plenty of options.
The most similar cats to Cornish Rex cats are definitely Devon Rex cats. Other great options are Selkirk Rex, Tennessee Rex, Oriental Shorthair, and LaPerm cats. All these breeds, except for Oriental Shorthairs, are curly, and the Oriental Shorthairs have similar body proportions to Cornish Rex cats.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cornish Rex cats are extremely friendly, even among children, other cats, dogs, and strangers.
Devon Rex cats have more fur than Cornish Rex, they are taller, and their heads are wedge-shaped, as opposed to the egg-shaped heads of Cornish Rex cats.
It is not recommended that you leave your Cornish Rex cat alone. It can become depressing and destructive. If there is no other way, and you must leave your home frequently, consider getting a second cat.
No, although they have less fur than most other cat breeds, Cornish Rex cats aren’t hypoallergenic. Their skin still produces the protein that’s triggering allergic reactions.
Cornish Rex cats originated from a farm in Cornwall, England, in 1950.
Cornish Rex Fun Facts
- Many Cornish Rex owners reported their cats smelling mildly cheesy. This sometimes unpleasant smell is caused by the scent glands found on their paws. Regular hygiene should keep this smell under control.
- Apart from having curly fur, Cornish Rex cats have curly whiskers and eyelashes.
- Cornish Rex cats will communicate with their owners through meowing, hissing, and purring, as well as through different facial expressions and body positions.
Cornish Rex cats might look weird, but that’s just a part of their charm. These cats are intelligent, loyal, affectionate, sweet, playful, and sometimes goofy, just like their appearance.
They make great house pets, especially if you have small children or other pets. Just give it your love and a warm home, and you have got yourself a perfect pet!