Cornish Rex

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Is the Cornish Rex right for you?

The basics:
Elegant, exotic, and otherworldly, the Cornish Rex is probably like no cat you’ve seen before. Oversized ears, large eyes, and an egg-shaped head give this cat an almost alien appearance. In addition, the Cornish Rex lacks any fur but a downy, slightly curly undercoat, and this almost-hairless look underscores their fine-boned, arch-backed frame. They may look delicate, but the Cornish Rex is actually a fairly muscular, acrobatic cat, with a big personality. They remain kitten-like well into their adult years, and are outgoing and confidant.

Surprisingly, this breed originated from an unexpected, natural mutation. The first Cornish Rex kitten was born to an unsuspecting farmhouse cat in Cornwall, England, the only one of her litter to have such unusual features. In order to maintain genetic diversity, the breed was eventually outcrossed to other domestic cats, as well as to Siamese, Russian Blues, American Shorthairs, British Shorthairs, and Havana Browns.

There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat, but the Cornish Rex is rumored to cause fewer allergies than other breeds. There is no scientific basis for this, as those allergic to cats are usually reacting to saliva and dander, not fur. Because the Cornish Rex does not have an outer coat to absorb oils, they tend to need human intervention in the form of baths to stay clean, and it’s possible that this additional hygiene step reduces the amount of allergens that someone is exposed to. None-the-less, a potential owner should spend some time with a Cornish Rex before choosing this breed for that reason.

Appearance / health:
Cornish Rex cats have a distinct, egg-shaped head, narrow at the top and chin, and broad at eye-level, with high cheekbones and a strong Roman nose. Their whiskers are short and curly. Their very large ears are set high on the head, long and pointy-tipped, and appear somewhat oversized for the head. Their large, oval-shaped eyes are wide-set, and come in shades of blue, green, and gold. The white-coated Cornish Rex is frequently odd-eyed, with one blue eye, and one gold.

Their sleek body is often likened to that of a greyhound or whippet. They are medium sized with a distinctive arched back, barrel chest, small waist, and very long, thin legs. Despite their delicate appearance, this is actually a fairly muscular and strong breed, with powerful hind legs. They have small, oval feet, and they walk high on their toes. The tail is long and slender, tapering towards the tip, and extremely flexible. The neck is also long and slender.

Of course, it is the coat that makes the Cornish Rex so unique. It is short and extremely soft, like Chenille or a rabbit’s fur. It is an undercoat only, lacking any guard hairs. It is close-lying to the body, curling in tight or loose marcel waves, washboard like in appearance. The Cornish Rex comes in all color varieties, including white, black, chocolate, orange, blue, lilac, and cream, and may be solid, bi-color, pointed, tortoiseshell, smoke, and tabby.

Because the Cornish Rex lacks an outer coat to absorb the natural oils produced by the skin, they may need regular bathing to keep them clean. Grooming is otherwise very simple, as they shed very little, and the only brush you need is your hand.

Behavior / temperament:
The Cornish Rex is an outgoing, enthusiastic, and highly social cat. They like to be in the center of everything, and particularly like if they can be the center of attention. They are extremely playful, and will entertain themselves for hours, throwing toys through the air, skidding down the halls, and otherwise clowning around. They can be extremely acrobatic and nimble, making impressive leaps in the air in pursuit of bugs and toys. Curious and intelligent, you can expect them to fully explore your home, from top to bottom.

This is not a breed that likes to be left alone for too long, and they thrive on the companionship of people and even other pets. They happily befriend children, making them a wonderful family pet. The Cornish Rex loves laps, not just because of their affectionate nature, but also because they are very sensitive to low temperatures. They will seek out places they can be warm, including heating vents, electronics, and of course, laps.


athletic bodies, beautiful personalities, inquisitive nature, lap cat, outgoing personality


odd eating habits, vocalizations, feline urinary syndrome, vacuum


newer mutation, constant contact, show cat, Alien kitties

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