The Cornish Rex: a smart cat who loves games

Cornish Rex standing outside

The Cornish Rex is a very graceful cat with a number of special characteristics. The cat has very big ears that are high on the body and the coat is a bit curly. Because of this the coat is sometimes compared to the coat of a lamb. It is important to take into account the playful character of this cat when raising it. Are you curious how you can do this? You can read it here!


The origin: from an exception in the litter to a new cat breed

The Cornish Rex comes from Cornwall in England. This breed appeared in a litter of farm cats in 1950. In this litter was Kallibunker, the first Cornish Rex. Kallibunker was very different from his littermates. This was because the cat had rows of curly fur which gave the cat a bit of the appearance of a lamb.

As the cat got older, the differences with the littermates became more and more clear. The Cornish Rex was a self-developed mutation and had a long and slim body with fine bones in contrast to its littermates. The mutation originated from a recessive gene.

The appearance of the Cornish Rex was appreciated, after which it was decided to breed on it. In the first phase the cats were bred to each other. This only led to certain health problems. Breeders therefore decided to cross them with other breeds. The cat was crossed with the American and British Shorthair and the Siamese.


The character: a lively cat who remains playful all his life

The Cornish Rex is a cat that gives a lot of love. The cat loves interaction with people and therefore likes to be part of family life. The Cornish Rex is very active and has a playful character. He keeps this playful character his whole life long. He loves to play games with his owner. One of his favourite games is throwing away and returning a toy. Because of the playful character of this cat, it is very important to have enough active toys in the house.

The Cornish Rex is also a very smart cat. In many cases the cat can pick up small objects with his paws. You can think of a small cuddly toy but also materials such as pens and pencils. It is therefore very important that you do not leave your belongings lying around.

Although it is a very lively and active cat, it also likes to cuddle on the couch. In addition, the Cornish Rex gets along well with other animals. For example, do you have a dog in the house? Don’t panic! A Cornish Rex generally gets along very well with dogs and does not get to know them. It is therefore not the case that the cat hides in the presence of the dog. Partly because of its clever and playful character, the Cornish Rex is also seen as a dog in a cat’s body.


Infographic Cornish Rex

Appearance: a cat with nice curves and a curly coat

The Cornish Rex is a very graceful cat with nice curves and a curly coat. The cats have rather big ears which in combination with the curly coat give him a special appearance. The cat has a reasonable normal size but is a bit smaller than average. Despite the fact that the Cornish Rex is not very big, the cat is still surprisingly heavy. The Cornish Rex usually weighs between 2 and 5 kilos which makes it the same weight as some cats that are considerably bigger. Furthermore, males are generally a bit bigger and heavier than females. The difference between males and females, however, is never very big.

The body of the Cornish Rex is small to medium in size. The body is very slender and somewhat stretched. The torso of the cat is never in the shape of a tube but has nice curves. Thanks to the beautiful curves this cat is anything but flat. Of course the back is curved and the other contours of the cat are also nicely rounded. Furthermore the hips and thighs are quite muscular and compared to the rest of the body also quite big. Also the torso is rather muscular and nicely rounded. The Cornish Rex also has very long and slender legs. The cat stands high on his legs which many people think looks very nice. The legs themselves are a bit oval shaped and look nice. The cat has 5 toes on his front legs and 4 toes on his hind legs. The cat also has a long and slender neck which fits nicely with the rest of the body. The tail of the Cornish Rex is long, slim and pointed at the end. Because the tail is so long and slim, it is also very flexible.

The head of the Cornish Rex is certainly small compared to the rest of the body. The head has a little bit the shape of an egg. This means that the head is a lot less wide than long. In most cases the length is about a third longer than the width. Next to the egg shaped head the Cornish Rex has a somewhat rounded and convex forehead. Besides that the cat has a well-developed chin and the bone structure at the cheek is often visible. The cat has a Roman nose with a prominent bridge. This means that you can see the nose clearly above the head. The eyes are of normal size and are a bit oval shaped. The eyes are a bit oblique in the head upwards. Between both eyes there is at least an eye width. This is normal and with most cats it is the case. The eyes have a bright and intense colour that matches their coat. Besides these clear eyes the Cornish Rex has very big ears which together with the curly coat are characteristic for this cat. The ears are broad in the base and have a nice ending. What makes the ears even more characteristic next to the size, is that they are very high on the head of the Cornish Rex. The whiskers and eyebrows of the cat are always in the shape of a curl.


The coat: curly and soft

The Cornish Rex has a very short coat that feels very soft to the touch. The coat is quite dense and feels a bit silky. The coat of the Cornish Rex is very characteristic as it is a bit curly. Because the coat is very soft and has a bit of a curl it is often compared to the coat of a lamb. This curl takes place over almost the whole body of the Cornish Rex. The curl runs from the head along the back, side, hips and beech to the tip of the tail. The curl does differ per cat. One cat can be much more curly than the other. The coat at the chin, chest and belly is generally a bit shorter than at the rest of the body.


The colours and patterns of the coat

The Cornish Rex comes in several colour combinations. A distinction is made in the breed standard between the following colours:

  • Solid Colors
  • Chincilla Silver and Shaded Silver Colors
  • Smoke Colors
  • Tabby Colors
  • Parti-Colors
  • Calico
  • Bi-Colors
  • Pointed Colors


Solid Colors means that the Cornish Rex has a solid colour. These can be several colours, with each colour of coat having a different colour of the nose leather and the paws. In all Cornish Rex types with a solid colour, the eyes are golden. The Cornish Rex comes in a total of 7 solid colours.


Chincilla silver refers to a white Cornish Rex with a shimmering appearance. The shaded silver variant has a somewhat darker appearance. The nose leather is brick red in these cats and the paws are black. Both species have green or blue-green eyes.

In a Cornish Rex with a smoke colour, the hairs of the coat are divided into two colours. The base of the coat is lighter than the top of the coat. In the classic variant, the base of the coat is white and the end is black. With the Cornish Rex there are 10 varieties of smoke colour possible. The colour of the nose leather and the paws depends on the smoke colour. However, the eyes are always golden in smoke colour.

A tabby coat refers to several coat patterns. With the Cornish Rex no less than 16 different colour and pattern combinations are possible that fall under tabby. The eyes are always golden and the colour of the nose leather and paws depends on the colours and patterns of the coat.

Parti-colour means a coat with several colours. In this case the cat has a dominant colour coat which is broken down by areas with other colours. With the Cornish Rex there are 4 different variants of this. The colour of the nose leather and the paws depends on the variant. The eye colour of the cat is always gold.

A calico coat means a coat with three colours. The coat has white as basic colour and contains, as it were, patches of coat in the two other colours. The colour of the nose leather, the paws and the eyes can differ per colour combination. The Cornish Rex with a calico coat can be found in a total of 16 colour combinations.

A Cornish Rex can also contain two colours (bi-colour). In this case the coat of the cat consists of two colours. The colour of the nose leather, the paws and the eyes also differ per colour combination.

A Cornish Rex with pointed colours has certain points of the coat in a different colour than the basic coat. You can think of for example the mask, ears, feet, legs and tail. The Cornish Rex comes in several types of pointed colours where the eye colour is almost always blue. The nose leather and paws are in the same colours as the pointed colour.

Therefore, the coat of the Cornish Rex can have many different colours and patterns. Would you like to know all the specific possibilities in terms of coat colour and patterns? Then it is wise to take a look at the breed standard of the Cornish Rex.

Cornish Rex lying down

The upbringing: take care of a good socialisation of your kitten

When you decide to take a Cornish Rex into your home, you will probably take it from a breeder. It is important that you take a good look at how the breeder treats his kittens. The first phase in a cat’s life is very important for the further course of life.

Cats have so-called socialisation periods. These are two periods that are very important in the upbringing of a cat. In these periods a kitten is touched for the first time by humans and gets used to these touches. Besides getting used to human touch kittens learn to deal with strange noises and learn how to do things in a household.

At this stage of breeding it is very important that the kitten is in the presence of the mother cat and his littermates. The mother cat prepares her litter for the rest of her life, as it were, and it is difficult for people to take on this task. Without going through this phase properly, the risk of anxiety disorders and other conditions becomes much higher. This is especially the case when they are abruptly taken out of their nest to go with a new owner.

When you are planning to get a kitten from a breeder, it is wise to take a good look at what kind of circumstances your kitten was raised in. You can do this by asking questions to the breeder, but also by taking a good look at the mother queen. When the mother queen looks fit and happy you can assume in most cases that the breeder deals well with the cats and has paid enough attention to this.


The care: make sure your cat has enough exercise

The care of the Cornish Rex is quite similar to that of other cats. The coat of the Cornish Rex even needs less care than average. Also because of the short hair, brushing once a week is more than enough. It is handy to use a baby brush.

Besides the coat it is also wise to take care of the teeth of your Cornish Rex on a regular basis. Ideally, you should brush the teeth of your Cornish Rex every day, but if you do not get around to it once a week is sufficient. This brushing is very important to prevent tartar. In general, when the teeth of your Cornish Rex are in good condition, your cat will also feel better.

The care of dirt in the eyes and ears is also important. This is important in order to prevent the development of infections. Moreover, it also looks a lot fresher. If you are planning to remove dirt from the eyes of your Cornish Rex, for example, it is wise to use a cloth that is a little damp. It is important that you use a different part of the cloth per eye to prevent an infection from spreading from one eye to the other.

Sufficient exercise is also an important part of taking care of your Cornish Rex. By playing sufficiently with your cat and getting enough toys in the house, your cat stays in good condition and you reduce the chance of health problems.


The food: look carefully at the labels

As far as nutrition is concerned, it is important to keep in mind that cats naturally eat mainly meat. Cats naturally hunt mice that consist of more than 75% meat. Cats therefore have difficulty processing carbohydrates, for example. When you are looking for the right food for your cat it is wise to take food with sufficient protein.

In addition to finding the right food for your cat, it is also very important that you give the right amount of food to your cat. With cats it is very important to properly adjust the energy supply to the energy consumption. It is wise to give cats that are very active more food than cats that are less active.

In general, there are two types of food for a cat. Dry food and wet food. Ideally, a cat’s diet consists of a combination of both types of food. Dry food, for example, can be thought of as cat kibble. Cat kibble is very important for a cat’s teeth. Chewing this hard food will keep the teeth of your Cornish Rex in good condition and prevent tartar. Wet food, for example, refers to raw meats. Since cats are by nature true carnivores, they get a lot of nutrients from raw food. Cats also have a low fluid intake so wet food can help maintain your cat’s fluid level.

All in all, it’s important that your cat is fed a diet that provides sufficient nutrients and the amount is adjusted to your cat’s activities. When choosing suitable food, it’s always a good idea to look at the labels. This way you can see what added substances cat food contains, for example, and whether this is harmful to your cat.

Two Cornish Rex kittens outside

Diseases: takes into account a number of hereditary conditions

As an owner you have a big influence on the health of your cat. By giving your cat a lot of love, enough exercise and good food, you can significantly increase the life expectancy of your cat. Unfortunately, cats, just like humans, can also have to deal with diseases and disorders. There are a number of hereditary diseases that occur in many cat breeds. Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) and Hypertrophic Cardiomypathy (HCM) are examples. PKD is a hereditary kidney disease in which the kidney function deteriorates over time. HCM is a hereditary heart defect in which the blood is less well pumped around and the function of the heart valves decreases.

Since both diseases are hereditary and can occur fairly frequently, almost all breeders test for these diseases. Most breeders will also provide you with a document when you pick up your kitten that guarantees the absence of these diseases. The parents should be free of these kinds of hereditary diseases so that the chance of passing these diseases on to the offspring is as small as possible.

Besides these general diseases, there are also some diseases that are relatively more common in the Cornish Rex than in other cats. The most important diseases that can specifically occur with the Cornish Rex are:

  • Feline infectious peritonitis
  • Progressive retina atrophy
  • Patella Luxation

Feline infectious peritonitis is a disease caused by a virus. This virus is present all over the world. So there are no areas where your cat is more or less at risk of contracting the virus. There are no fixed symptoms with this disease. Symptoms may vary from cat to cat. In many cases there is always an alternation between fever and no fever and no appetite. Feline infectious peritonitis always results in death.

Progressive retina atrophy is a condition in which the cat’s vision deteriorates. The cat’s retina is slowly affected and in most cases the cat is blind for several months after birth. It is also possible that the cat only partially goes blind.

Patella luxation is a condition in which a cat has a loose kneecap. Without treating this, the kneecap will deteriorate over time. It is therefore important to intervene in time. There are several treatments against this condition. This condition can be recognised by the cat trying to relieve the kneecap.


How old can the Cornish Rex get?

The life expectancy of a Cornish Rex is between 12 and 18 years. As the owner you have a great influence on this life expectancy. By taking good care of your Cornish Rex, the life expectancy of your cat will increase. Unfortunately, as the owner you have no influence on possible hereditary diseases.

Cornish Rex lying outside

What you need to know before you take this breed into your home

Before you take in a Cornish Rex it is important that you are well prepared. It is important that you know what is involved in having a Cornish Rex. When you are clear about this and think you are ready for it, then the search can actually start.

If you would like to have a Cornish Rex in your house then it is wise to look for a suitable breeder. It’s important to take a good look at how the kittens are raised by this breeder and if enough attention has been paid to socialisation. It’s also good to check if the kittens are already dewormed, have the basic inoculations and if the kitten has already been microchipped.

There are several breed clubs that are concerned with the welfare of their pedigree cats. In many cases it is also possible to register with these clubs to claim kittens if they are available.

It is also important that you have the right materials in house. A cat should have a cat basket, litter box but also the necessary toys. These toys are important because a cat stays active and in a good condition.


What does a Cornish Rex cost?

The price for a Cornish Rex is around $800. This amount can differ per breeder. Some breeders are known for very beautiful breed cats and because of their good reputation can ask a higher amount.

In addition to the purchase costs, you also have to take other costs into account. You can think of the purchase of a cat basket, litter box and toys. Also the costs of care should not be underestimated. The annual costs for the food and the veterinarian amount to around $600 on an annual basis.


Will you also choose the Cornish Rex?

Many people take a Cornish Rex in their house because of its special coat and eccentric ears. Of course this cat has many more characteristics which makes this cat very attractive. We are very curious about your experiences with this cat and what made you decide to buy a Cornish Rex. You can let us know by leaving a comment on this article!

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We are a team of cat lovers, doing our best to create and spread information about cats. On you will read all about different cat breeds, and what makes them so special. You will also find information about grooming and training your cat. Be sure to leave us a reply if you like our article.

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