Cornish Rex Breed Guide

Active | Playful | Curly. The Cornish Rex with their signature short-haired wavy coat, was the first of the Rex breed of cats to start strutting their stuff in Britain and beyond. With an athletic and playful nature that adores hooman attention, they make great companions for furmilies who want an exciting and fun-loving feline. Today we’ll unpack the intricacies of this interesting breed and lay down some fancy science on the origins of the Cornish coat. 

Cornish Rex Basics:

Breed Guide: Cornish Rex

Average Lifespan: 10 - 15 years.

Average Weight: 3- 4.5kg.

Colours: All colours and combinations.

Shedding: Low

Cornish Rex History: From Kallibunker to Pedigree

On 21st July 1950, a non-pedigree moggie by the name of Serena gave birth to a litter of kittens in Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. Their owner Nina Ennismore, noticed that one of the kittens had a strange curly short-haired coat. She named this kitten Kallibunker, who little did he know had just become the first-ever Cornish Rex. 

Mrs Ennismore knew that Kallibunker was a special soul but it wasn’t until taking him to the vet, that she found out how unique he was. Her vet hadn’t seen anything like it and advised her to consult with a geneticist to uncover the mystery of Kallibunker’s strange appearance. 

With genetic testing, it was found that Kallibunker’s appearance was due to a genetic mutation and the geneticist advised Mrs Ennismore to mate Kallibunker back with his mother to keep this gene strong. Kallibunker had two curly-haired children, who sired more curly-haired cats, with one of them immigrating to the USA and later breeding with a Siamese cat, giving the breed its long whip-like tail and large batty ears. 

Mrs Ennismore continued to breed more cats just like Kallibunker and named them the Cornish Rex after Rex rabbits which have a similar short coat. However, due to this gene being a recessive trait, keeping the Rex appearance was difficult and the breed became endangered over the years. Fortunately, its popularity soon rose again in the UK and USA in the 1960s, eventually gaining pedigree recognition by the GCCF at the end of that decade.

The Science Behind The Cornish Rex’s Coat

The Cornish Rex gets its signature short, curly coat from a mutation of one of the genes that make up their A1 chromosome. This is a recessive cat gene and in the wild would not become dominant, meaning you wouldn't see too many of these curly-haired critters roaming around if it weren't for hooman intervention. Due to the eye-catching and unique nature of this coat, Cornish Rex breeders have selectively bred this trait into subsequent generations of cats allowing the gene to live on. 

Anatomy of the Cornish Rex

The effects of this genetic mutation didn’t stop at the Cornish Rex’s short, curly, down-like fur. It also gave them a slighter, more muscular build than their moggie counterparts. Although this makes them look more dainty than your average old tom, it actually provides them with extreme agility and speed, which they flaunt with zoomies around the living room and high-energy games. They have large bat-like ears that sit on a head that looks similar to an egg laying on its side. With short, curly whiskers and a long slimline tail, their appearance is nothing short of unique. 

Cornish rex cat anatomy

Personality of a Cornish Rex

If you have the delight of owning a Cornish Rex, you’ll know that they’re energetic and sociable cats that thrive on human attention. They love being the centre of attention and never miss a moment to be enjoying the company of their furmilies

Due to their short coat length, they tend to be more sensitive to changes in temperature. So don’t be frightened if you see something move under your bed covers during a cold winter’s day as it’s probably your Cornish Rex scoping out the warmest and most cuddly part of their kingdom. 

With their athletic bodies and intelligent minds, they thrive on playtime with their pawrents so make sure to keep them entertained with plenty of toys and playthings. However, don’t be too concerned if you’re a busy pawfessional as these kitty-cats are good at entertaining themselves with their own acrobatic shows and adventuring. 

If you’re thinking of adding a Cornish Rex to your fur fam, be prepared for plenty of cuddles and affection. They form strong bonds with their pawrents, eagerly waiting for them to come home so they can secure their favourite spot in the house…your lap.

What About Other Rex Breeds? Are All Rex Breeds Related?

Whilst other Rex breeds such as the Devon Rex and Selkirk Rex are also adorned in a characteristic curly coat, you would think that they’re all related, right?

Surprisingly this isn’t the case. Whilst all Rex cats have a genetic mutation that gives them their unique coat type, the particular gene that causes the change in the different breeds is not the same. Therefore, if you were to breed two Rex cats of a different breed for instance a Cornish Rex with a Devon Rex, they are unlikely to have Rex-looking kittens as the two different recessive genes are unlikely to be passed on. 

Scrumbles, The Pawfect Match For Cornish Rex's

If you’re looking for a highly nutritious and gut-friendly cat food that’s sure to keep your Cornish Rex happy and curly, why not make the switch to Scrumbles Gut Friendly Cat Food?

Here’s why you and your fur baby will love our cat food:

Scrumbles Cat Food

  1. High in Animal Meat + Protein rich - Our recipes are loaded with up to 77% quality animal meat to keep the bellies of our carnivorous feline friends full and provide them with all of the essential nutrients they need to thrive. 
  2. Gut-friendly recipes - We add gut-loving prebiotics or probiotics to all of our cat food and treats and avoid artificial nasties like added salt, sugar and fillers to support a healthy gut microbiome and promote pretty poops! 
  3. Hypoallergenic ingredients - We avoid common allergens such as dairy, soy, gluten and egg, making our cat food purrfect for even the most sensitive of Cornish Rex’s. 
  4. Designed with nutritionists and approved by vets - our recipes are FEDIAF approved and designed with optimal kitty cat health in mind so that you can rest assured knowing your cat will be getting everything they need to thrive from what’s in their food bowl.

Eco-friendly and for the planet: we use eco-friendly packaging, are proudly B-Corp certified and are committed to reducing our carbon pawprint making Scrumbles the best choice for your cat’s health and your own values!

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