The Selkirk Rex: a big cat that is invisibly muscled

Selkirk Rex lying down

The Selkirk Rex is a rather big cat with a curly coat. The cat is quite muscular but this is not always easy to see because of the special coat of this cat. The cat is very relaxed, loves to cuddle and is very playful. Are you curious how the cat gets these special characteristics? You can read it here!


The origin: an outsider in the nest

The Selkirk Rex is one of the newest natural breeds. The cat is descended from Miss DePesto, a domestic cat from a shelter in Montana. Miss DePesto was a special cat as both the siblings of Miss DePesto and the mother cat were normally hairy. Miss DePesto had a curly coat which gave this cat a special appearance. The cat was given from the shelter to Jeri Newman, a breeder of Persen in Montana. Jeri wanted to know if the resulting gene was dominant or recessive. She crossed Miss DePesto with a black Persian.

In the litter from this cross three out of six kittens had a curly coat. So the mutation which takes care of the curly coat is dominant. This in contrast to the Devon and Conrish Rex where this mutation is not dominant. Further crossbreeds with Persen and other short-haired breeds eventually resulted in two different types of Selkirk Rex. A short-haired and a long-haired variety.


The character: a real teddy bear

The Selkirk Rex is a very patient cat that gives a lot of love. The character traits of this cat come from the different crossbreeds. The Selkirk Rex has just like the British Shorthair a very relaxed posture, the cat is just like the Persian a real cuddly bear and just like the exotic Shorthair the cat stays playful for a very long time. Partly because the cat is playful for so long and also quite active, it is wise to get enough toys and for example a climbing pole in the house.

Because of the relaxed attitude of this cat and the fact that the cat loves to cuddle, this is the perfect cat if you are looking for a cuddle buddy. The cat accepts humans very much and enjoys human contact very much. It also gets along well with other cats and dogs.


Infographic Selkirk Rex

Appearance: a large cat with a curly coat

The Selkirk Rex is a very big and sturdy cat. The cat has a curly coat which looks best when the cat is an adult. Because the cat is so big and firm the cat looks very strong. A Selkirk Rex usually weighs between 3 and 5 kilos. It is worth noting that males are a bit bigger and heavier than females. The fact that the females are less big doesn’t make them less elegant.

The body of the Selkirk Rex is medium to large in size and is nicely balanced. The cat is quite muscular but this is not always easy to see because of the curly coat. Furthermore the body is in the shape of a rectangle but not very long. The back of the cat is straight but runs a bit upwards towards the hind legs. The shoulders and hips don’t differ in width so these lines are nice and straight. The legs of the Selkirk Rex are quite big and also quite firm, also because of the thick bones. In spite of the fact that the legs are so big and firm, they are nicely in proportion to the rest of the body. This is because the Selkirk Rex is in general also a rather big cat. The legs of the cat are also quite big and round in shape. The cat has five toes on the front legs and four toes on the back legs. The tail is normally of large size and is quite firm on the base. The tail is a bit tapered but not blunt or pointed at the end.

The Selkirk Rex has a round head that is quite wide. The cat has very full cheeks in both males and females. The snout is normal in width and looks square because of the bone structure and the whisker pads. The snout is clearly visible behind the curve of the cheeks. The nose of the cat is rather small and runs oblique downwards. The nose is just below the line of the eyes. Furthermore the chin of this cat is strong and well developed. The chin should not be extremely large and should be nicely in proportion to the rest of the body. This has to do with the rules for showing and exhibiting.  The ears have a normal size and are quite wide at the base. Furthermore, the hours are pointed and they are very far apart. The eyes of the Selkirk Rex are quite big, round and stand quite far apart from each other. There is more than an eye width in between.


The coat of the Selkirk Rex

The Selkirk Rex has a curly coat and comes in two different lengths. There is both a short-haired and a long-haired variant of the Selkirk Rex. The difference between the two is best seen at the tail and the collar of the cat. The length of the short hairs on the tail is the same as with the rest of the coat. In addition, the curls are close to the tail. Also the collar of the short-haired variant is as long as the rest of the coat. With the long hair this is not the case. Both the length on the tail and the collar is longer than the rest of the coat. Moreover, the tail is very fluffy and the curls are not close to the tail but off the tail.

The structure of the short-haired coat is quite soft. The coat feels nice and fluffy. Furthermore the cat is well covered with the coat and there are no bald spots or spots with a thin covering. The coat is away from the body. So this also means that the curls don’t go with the flow of the body, but rather away from the body. This gives a somewhat wild appearance. The curls themselves are random and individual. This means that the curls occur in bunches rather than in a very wavy movement. How much the hair is curled depends on several factors. You can think of the length of the hair, the sex but also the age of the cat. The coat of a Selkirk Rex is generally at its best when it is well grown up. The curls are especially noticeable at the neck, the tail and the belly. In young cats and kittens the curls can be less present.

The structure of the long-haired coat is also soft and fluffy. This coat is only slightly less thick than the short-haired coat. This just does not mean that the coat is thin. The hairs are just longer so the coat structure is a bit less dense. Because of this the coat feels a bit less thick and firm. Also with the long-haired coat the coat is a little bit off the body. The curl is random again and occurs in a kind of bushes and rings. At the neck, tail and belly the coat is longer and the curl can be seen a lot better.

The coat of the Selkirk Rex comes in many colours and patterns. The Selkirk Kirk, for example, can be found in many colours and patterns:

  • Tabby patterns
  • Shaded colours
  • Smoke colours
  • Spotted patterns

For the exact colours and patterns of the Selkirk Rex it is wise to take a look at the breed standard of this cat. Here you will also find the allowed colours of the eyes, nose leather and cushions of the paws per coat colour.

Selkirk Rex standing in grass field

The upbringing: teach your cat good behaviour

It is very important for the development of a cat that it grows up in the first phase of its life in the presence of its littermates and the mother cat. This is a safe environment where a kitten feels at ease. Together with his littermates a kitten learns the basic skills for life. The mother plays an important role in this and teaches the kittens for example how to deal with setbacks. After a while the mother cat finds sucking on her nipples sufficient and doesn’t allow it. This is one of the first important lessons of a kitten. Not everything can go the way they want it to.

The first period in a kitten’s life is also called the socialisation period. This period consists of two parts. The first socialisation period takes place when a kitten is between 3 and 8 weeks old and the second socialisation period when your kitten is between 8 and 14 weeks old. Because breeders generally only give kittens with their new owner when they are about 13 weeks old, almost the whole socialisation period will take place at the breeder. It is important to check if a breeder has spent enough time on this socialisation period and if your kitten has grown up in the presence of the mother cat.

In these socialisation periods a cat learns to deal with strange sounds, other animals but also human touches. These periods are very important for the further course of a kitten’s life. When not enough attention is paid to this, a cat may suffer from anxiety disorders in the rest of its life, but taking care of the cat also becomes a lot more difficult. When the kitten is not used to human touch, it becomes a lot harder for the owner to take good care of the cat. You can read more about the socialisation periods in the following article: insert link

When you have your cat as an owner, the upbringing continues. It is important that the cat understands the house rules in his new home. For example, you don’t want your cat to scratch the whole couch. It is also wise to teach your cat to do his needs in the litter box.

A handy tip is to ask the breeder for a piece of cloth or cloth that was lying around the litter. When a kitten grows up in its litter, its smell will slowly develop. The first things a cat smells in its life it will never forget. For example, by putting a piece of cloth or cloth from the litter in the litter box, you can be sure that your cat will use it.

It is also useful to punish and reward your cat. Punishing does not mean physically hurting your cat, but rather talking about bad behaviour. If your cat shows undesirable behaviour, you can address your cat in a strict way. It is important that you do this immediately after the act so that the cat discovers a connection. The same goes for rewarding your cat. When you do something right, you can give your cat a sweet or a stroke on his ball. The cat will recognise this positive bandage and show this good behaviour more often.


Care: ensure sufficient exercise

Keeping your cat in good health requires good care. You can think of regular combing of the coat, cutting the nails but also keeping the eyes and ears clean. What many people don’t realise is that getting enough exercise is also an important part of caring for a cat. A cat with a good condition is in general a lot healthier than a cat that doesn’t have this.

With the Selkirk Rex it is also wise to take good care of the coat. By brushing the coat every now and then you remove dead hairs and hairballs. When you want to keep the nice curl in the coat it is important that you don’t brush the coat too often. If you brush the coat too often, the curl will become less and less. Washing the hair every now and then will keep the hairs healthy and the curl will stay very nice.

In addition to grooming the coat, it is also important that the owner takes good care of your cat’s nails. It is very nice for a cat to have something from a scratching post in the house against which the cat can scratch. This is nice for the cat because by scratching a cat can remove the dirt from its nails. It is also important to take good care of the nails once in a while. By cutting the nails a couple of times a year you prevent them from growing in and causing nasty situations.

Keeping the eyes and ears clean is also an important part of caring for a cat. Cats often want to accumulate dirt in the eyes and ears in the form of eye and earwax. If you leave this behind you can get more dirt and eventually even infections. As the owner you don’t have to wait for that of course. It is therefore important to intervene in good time and check your cat regularly for eye and earwax. When you remove this, it is best to use a damp cloth. It is important that you do not use the same part of this cloth with every eye and ear. If you do, there is a chance that you will transfer a possible infection from one eye/ear to another eye/ear.

Making sure your cat gets enough exercise is also an important part of grooming. Many people don’t notice this and assume that the cat will take care of this himself. However, this is not always the case. For example, if your cat sits inside all day and there is little play with the cat, your cat will have very little exercise. By playing a lot with your cat and bringing active toys into the house you ensure that your cat has enough exercise. A good condition is also very good for your cat’s general health.

Selkirk Rex kitten sitting by window

Nutrition: proteins and fats are particularly important

There is a reason why cats always chase mice. A cat’s natural food is its mouse. This makes cats real carnivores who get most of their nutrients from proteins and fats. With a portion of cereals and vegetables you certainly don’t make a cat happy. What’s more, cats have a lot of trouble processing carbohydrates.

In the search for suitable food for your cat, it is important to look carefully at the labels. So with cat food it is important that there is enough fat and protein in it. As far as proteins are concerned, the amino acids taurine and methionine are particularly good for your cat’s health. It is also important that your cat takes in certain vitamins and minerals. Zinc, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium and phosphorus are particularly important.

When choosing food for your cat, you can also differentiate between dry and wet food. Dry food refers to, among other things, cat food. They make little mess, don’t give off much smell and don’t spoil as quickly. The disadvantages of this food are that it has little moisture, it contains more carbohydrates and it doesn’t really look like the cat’s natural food. Wet food such as raw meat, on the other hand, resembles the cat’s natural food. It also has a high moisture content and low carbohydrate content. In addition to these advantages, wet food also has disadvantages. For example, wet food has quite a smell, you can’t keep it for long and it takes a lot of time to feed.

The moisture content of wet food can be important because a cat does not drink as much by nature. Since the cat’s natural food is mice, birds and other small animals that contain a lot of moisture, the cat has never had to drink a lot. If you only give your cat dry food the chance of dehydration increases.


Common diseases

The Selkirk Rex is in general a quite healthy breed of cat. So there are not really diseases that only occur in this breed. However, a Selkirk Rex can have to deal with general cat diseases such as the Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

Polycystic kidney disease is a hereditary kidney disease in which the functioning of the kidneys decreases over time. Often this disease is only discovered at a late stage when the kidney tissue has already been adjusted for a large part. Symptoms associated with this disease are:

  • Having a loss of appetite
  • The cat is getting leaner and leaner
  • Lots of drinking and urinating
  • Being less active
  • Getting dehydrated
  • The development of pale mucous membranes due to vomiting and anaemia.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a hereditary heart defect in which the blood is less able to be pumped through. As a result, the risk of thrombosis is considerably increased and the function of the heart valves may decrease over time. The disease is usually diagnosed at a young age, but symptoms are not always present. Symptoms that may indicate HCM:

  • Having a loss of appetite
  • Getting stuffy
  • Rapid breathing
  • Paralysis of the hind legs

Since both PKD and HCM are hereditary diseases that are common, breeders test a lot for this. Breeders who test for these diseases often also give a document in which the absence of these diseases is guaranteed to the kittens.

White Selkirk Rex standing

How old can the Selkirk Rex get?

A Selkirk Rex usually becomes between 10 and 15 years old. It is worth noting that good care can significantly increase life expectancy, but that getting certain diseases can significantly reduce this life expectancy.


What you need to know before you take the cat into your home

Before you take in a Selkirk Rex it is important that you know what to expect. Bringing a cat into your home is not just anything and there are many obligations involved. You will have to feed your cat on time, take good care of it but also give it enough love. This takes quite some time and not every household has the same amount of time for this. So it is important to check this carefully with yourself before you take a cat into your home.

In addition, you will have to look for a suitable breeder. Because the Selkirk Rex is a real breed cat, it can be quite difficult to get a kitten at short notice. With many breed cats there are waiting lists to be considered for a kitten. If you still have specific requirements with regard to appearance and coat colour, this is certainly the case. If you are looking for a suitable breeder, it may be wise to contact a breed club. A breed club is committed to the good condition of a certain breed and the owners of this breed. Here information is shared with each other but it is often also possible to get on certain waiting lists for a kitten. The SelkirkRexCat Club is an example of such a breed club for the Selkirk Rex.

It is also important that you take in a kitten that has been dewormed, vaccinated and possibly fitted with a chip. In most cases the breeder will take care of this and your kitten will at least be provided with the basic vaccinations. Whether you have your cat chipped is a choice you have to make yourself.

Selkirk Rex kitten lying down on his side

What kind of costs do you have to think about?

For a Selkirk Rex you quickly pay between $900 and $1800. Exactly how much you pay depends on the appearance of your kitten and the supply and demand. The average price will be about $900.


Share your experiences with the Selkirk Rex

Do you have a Selkirk Rex in your house? Then you probably have a nice story to tell about your cat. We are very curious about your experiences with this beautiful cat and would love to hear from you. You can tell your story 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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