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Selkirk Rex: Is the Selkirk Rex a hypoallergenic cat?

The Selkirk Rex is one of the breeds of cats with a curly coat. Its unusual appearance, combined with a gentle character, is winning over ...

The Selkirk Rex is one of the breeds of cats with a curly coat. Its unusual appearance, combined with a gentle character, is winning over the hearts of more and more cat lovers.

Appearance of the Selkirk Rex

Selkirk Rex Article Summary

  • Appearance of the Selkirk Rex
  • History of the curly cat
  • Character of the Selkirk Rex
  • Healthy nutrition for the Rex cat
  • Selkirk Rex Health
  • Coat Care
  • Is the Selkirk Rex right for me?
  • Is the Selkirk Rex a hypoallergenic cat?
  • The basic equipment
  • Where can I find a Selkirk Rex?

Appearance of the Selkirk Rex

The most striking characteristic of cats of this breed is their curly coat, which can appear in both long-haired and shorthaired cats. However, this is not always the case, as from the mating of two Selkirk Rex's, smooth-haired kittens may very well be born. Smooth haired cats do, however, share all the other physical characteristics of their curly-haired siblings: Selkirk Rex cats are medium to large in size, and weigh a maximum of 7 kg. They have a strong skeleton. The Selkirk is the largest of the curly cat breeds. Its head is strong with broad cheeks, its round eyes are relatively far apart. Their coat can be long or short, and all colors are allowed, including patterns such as tabby or point.

History of the curly cat

History of the curly cat

The Selkirk Rex originated in an animal shelter in the United States, where a litter of kittens was abandoned in 1987. One of them, however, was so different from its five siblings that the guardians were amazed: the kitten had curly fur, even wavy whiskers, and bright green eyes. This was a spontaneous mutation of the coat. The shelter staff told Persian cat breeder Jeri Newman about their amazing new protégé. Newman adopted the little cat and named him Miss Depesto of Noface. When Miss Depesto grew up, Newman crossed her with a black Persian cat, and was soon thrilled to welcome six little kittens: three of them had smooth fur, three were curly. Newman named the new breed "Selkirk Rex".

Over the following decades, the Selkirk Rex developed slowly but surely. To this day, some breed associations still allow controlled crossbreeding of the Selkirk Rex with other breeds, such as British Shorthair or Persian. The curls are inherited autosomal dominant, which means that all Selkirk Rex crossbreeds are curly-haired. But, if you mate two Selkirk Rex crossbreeds, you can get a kitten without the curly coat gene. Only when a purebred carrier of the curl gene (i.e. a homozygous parent) is involved in the mating, will all kittens have curls.

In addition to the Selkirk Rex, there are other curly-haired cats whose curls are due to other genetic mutations. These include the German Rex, Devon Rex and Cornish Rex, as well as the new LaPerm breed. The term "Rex" originally comes from rabbit breeding, in which curly rabbits are called "Rex rabbits". Rex cat breeds are sometimes viewed with suspicion, especially because their whiskers are curly and therefore shorter. Some animal rights activists criticize the fact that the role of the whiskers as a key organ of the cat is then limited.

Character of the Selkirk Rex

The "cat-dog".

The Selkirk Rex is, if it comes from a serious breeding, a nice cat, very cuddly and very attached to humans. He loves the company of his master and constantly seeks to be stroked. Since he tends to follow his owner everywhere, he is also affectionately called a "cat-dog". They generally get along very well with other cats, and should always live with a second cat if they live in an apartment as an indoor cat. If they are used to it at a very young age, the representatives of the breed adapt easily to the daily life of their owners, and are not afraid of vacuuming or car trips.

Healthy food for the Rex cat

Healthy food for the Rex cat
Like all cats, the curly cat naturally feeds on prey, and therefore needs a diet rich in meat. A balanced diet based on wet food containing mainly meat is ideal to provide your cat with all the nutrients it needs. A good cat food should not contain cereals or sugar. If you want to spoil your little companion, give him healthy treats such as freeze-dried pieces of meat. It can be fun for your cat to have to look for a little dry food in the house every day, for example in the form of search games, or with a cat intelligence toy. You can also use dry food for clicker training. However, it is important that you take into account the amount of energy expended by your cat during the day when you give him treats. You may want to weigh your adult Selkirk Rex every two weeks or so, so you can notice in time if your cat gains too much weight. Your cat should always have fresh water available. Water fountains, which encourage your cat to drink, are particularly popular.

Selkirk Rex Health

Selkirk Rexes are considered a healthy breed. A serious breeder will have these cats tested for hereditary diseases before you can adopt them anyway. In particular, they should be tested for kidney disease, which occurs more frequently in Persians and British Shorthair. Since many Selkirk Rex cats have Persians and British Shorthair as ancestors, the breed is also at risk. Follow your usual vaccination schedule, and check with your veterinarian if your cat needs to be dewormed. A Selkirk Rex can reach the age of 15 years and older.

Coat Care Of Selkirk Rex Cat

Caring for the soft coat of the Selkirk Rex is usually simple, in both long-haired and shorthaired cats. Brush your curly cat at least once a week. When shedding, it may be necessary to do this more often. Even short-haired cats appreciate help with grooming. If your Selkirk Rex gets used to it when it's young, your Selkirk Rex will learn to appreciate regular brushing as a pleasurable ritual. Rex cats may not see their curly coat until they are adults. Growing kittens sometimes tend to shed their hair, so you don't have to worry about it. If in doubt, talk to your breeder, who has probably already gone through this transition period with the parent animals.

Also, check your Rex cat's ears regularly. When the cat's ears are very hairy, possible infections or inflammations are often harder to spot. Check your cat's claws regularly, especially if it is older, as it will not use them as regularly if it scratches its cat tree less or moves on too soft ground. If the claws are too long, the cat could get hooked and hurt itself, and the claws could grow into the pads. Cut them with claw scissors to avoid injury.

Is the Selkirk Rex right for me?

Is the Selkirk Rex right for me
A Selkirk Rex is a good choice for you, if you are able to provide feline companions and a suitable environment for them. It will be happy even if you are away for several hours a day. Ideally, you should have a secure balcony, or even a garden where your cats can safely explore. If you have children, make sure that your Selkirk Rex always has a place to retreat to when they've had enough, because most cats of this breed like quiet. Teach young children to respect their four-legged roommates.

Before adopting a couple of kittens, consider who will care for them during the vacations. The best would be, for example, a neighbor who comes by at least twice a day, not only to feed them, but also to spend some time with them. If you want to leave your kittens at a boarding house or with acquaintances, it is best to get them used to it when they are young, for example by leaving them there for a weekend first. Once they get used to it, they will usually have no more difficulty staying with someone other than you, and you can leave quietly.

Is the Selkirk Rex a hypoallergenic cat?

Some cats are described as "hypoallergenic," and the Selkirk Rex is one of them. Specifically, some people who have allergic reactions to other breeds of cats do not have allergic reactions to the Rex. But this is not necessarily true for everyone. Discuss this with your doctor before adopting cats to make sure there are no problems afterwards. You can determine if you are allergic to the cats you want to adopt by making several hours of visits to the breeder, as well as by giving hair samples to your doctor.

The basic equipment for Selkirk Rex cat

While waiting for your new companions to arrive, you can already prepare yourself by making sure you have everything they will need. In addition to a cat tree in an easily accessible location, you will also need bowls and possibly a water fountain, a comfortable blanket or basket, a transport crate, and a litter box for each cat. Also, don't forget the toys. Your kittens will also need a brush for grooming. You should always have high-quality food and highly absorbent cat litter in stock.  Before you decide to buy one or two cats, consider their high purchase price, as well as the regular costs associated with all of the equipment listed above. In addition, consider the costs of regular visits to the veterinarian, which can quickly increase in the event of illness.

Where can I find a Selkirk Rex?

Where can I find a Selkirk Rex

Don't look in the dodgy classified ads, which sell you "hypoallergenic" cats at low prices, but contact a reputable breeder. Although some breeders also advertise their cats in the classifieds, they choose their future owners carefully because they care about their cats' well-being, not about making quick money. Don't buy kittens from bad breeders out of sympathy, because demand regulates supply. Since kittens learn a lot from their mother, a breeder should not give them away until they are 12 weeks old, and ideally not even until they are 16 weeks old. After this period, they are clean, vaccinated several times, dewormed and flexed, and ready to move to their new home with an up-to-date vaccination booklet.
If you are also ready to adopt an older cat, you may want to look into animal shelters. 

They occasionally find beautiful curly cats who are looking for a new home. Some shelters focus on purebred cats. So take a look at the shelters around your home to see if you don't find what you're looking for!

We wish you a great time with your Selkirk Rex!

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