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Selkirk Rex Cat Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

If you’re looking for a cat that will stand out of the crowd, you want to look at the Selkirk Rex cat breed because these relative newcomers to the cat world are undoubtedly unique. And while they may not be as “peculiar” as some of the other “Rex” breeds out there, they look “odd” enough to become one of our favorite cat breeds, but maybe that’s because we here at IndulgeYourPet are BIG fans of “odd” and “strange” things.

But just because…

We are BIG fans of these guys, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be right for you. This is why, in this article, we wanted to take a moment and describe precisely what it might be like to own one of these fantastic little guys. If you ever find yourself fortunate enough to have a chance to make one of them your own, you won’t be disappointed.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Selkirk Rex Cat Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  United States

Size:  Small to medium

Weight:  9 to 11 pounds

Eyes: Large round eyes

Shape of Head:  Round

Lifespan:  10 to 15 years

Origin of the Selkirk Rex Cat Breed

A relative newcomer to the cat world, the Selkirk Rex is unique because unlike many “new” breeds of cats that are “designed” by cat enthusiasts, this breed of cat was just “discovered.” And the ironic thing is that this little gem was actually “discovered” in a plain site in a Wyoming animal shelter in 1987! Fortunately, this unique little kitten just waiting to be adopted caught the eye of a local Persian cat breeder who just happened to stumble upon her… You can guess what happened next!

Now, there is a bit of…

Controversy about where these guys get their name. You see, Jeri Newman discovered the first “Selkirk,” and she gave them their name. While some believe that she named them after the Selkirk mountains in Montana, others say that she called them after her step-father, meaning that the Selkirk is the only cat breed with the distinction of being named after a person.

Which is true?

We don’t know, but either way, these guys are pretty awesome, so it doesn’t matter much to us. And if it were up to us, we would think of them being named after a “step-dad” rather than a mountain range. It just seems like a more excellent kind of story.

Physical Characteristics

Even though the Selkirk can often look like a large cat, they are pretty small when you get right down to it. But this is probably because, with all that hair, they naturally tend to look larger than they are. This, plus the fact that they will have a large round head and a rather “plump” muscular body, is no wonder why many folks are surprised at how light they are when they pick them up.

And as kittens…

Unlike many other “kinds” of curly-coated cats, the Selkirk Rex kittens are curly from birth. They also have curly whiskers that are brittle at birth and could break until they mature. A Selkirk kitten’s hair and whiskers will not change when they get older, so if they’re curly at birth, they’ll be a curly adult.

The funny thing is…

They will go through a straight-haired stage as adolescents, but their loose curls will return around their second birthday. The good news is that the rings are a dominant gene (a big difference from other Rex breeds), so cuties are born with curls and straight-haired kittens in every litter. The fur of the adorable Selkirk Rex is soft, wooly, and thick and comes in shorthaired, long-haired varieties and just about any color you can imagine. Some cat lovers have called them “Sheep in cat’s clothing.”


Despite having all this fur, the Selkirk Rex cat breed is low-maintenance. Good brushing a couple of times a week should help prevent and remove any tangles that may develop and is a must if you want to keep your Selkirk happy. We should warn you that the Selkirk Rex sheds a lot, so regular grooming will help remove dead hair and keep your home from being covered in fur. Run your fingers through their coat to fluff their curls and style their luscious locks.

They’ll also need an occasional bath but don’t bathe them too often. When you do wash them, use a moisturizing shampoo to keep their coats soft and healthy. Let them dry in a warm room to get a natural look. If you’re going for more of a poodle style, use the hair dryer and embrace the poof.

Personality and Temperament

If you’re looking for a cat that will be a great family pet, the Selkirk is an excellent choice. The Selkirk is relaxed and cuddly thanks to their ancestors, the Persian and British Shorthaired cat. They’re also very playful and friendly, much like the American Wirehair, but hate to be left alone for long periods. And while the Selkirk Rex isn’t necessarily a lap cat, they are great with kids and other cat-friendly animals.

But beware…

Many Selkirk’s have a bit of a naughty, silly side, so their humans must have a sense of humor. Their humans also need to be able to handle teasing about their kitty looking like they’re having a bad hair day. And while each cat has a unique personality. Breed personality standards are general guides to temperament and behavior. To know if a cat or kitten suits your family, you’ll have to get to know them. Spend time with them and ask the person caring for them now about their personality. Cats are living beings; they can’t be returned like a pair if you change your mind.

Cousins in Curls

The Selkirk Rex can sometimes be confused with the LaPerm cat, which has curly fur. LaPerm’s are also a result of spontaneous mutation, but there are few significant differences. The body of the Selkirk Rex is more extensive and heavy-boned, more like British Shorthaired cats than the long muscular body of the LaPerm. The Selkirk’s coat is also plusher and thicker than LaPerm. They also tend to be the most easy-going and friendly of all the Rex breeds.

Potential Health Concerns

Unlike many cat breeds, the Selkirk Rex has no significant health issues. The Rex doesn’t face problems with brachycephalic syndrome because of their strong head shape. They’re also susceptible to hip dysplasia like their Persian cat relatives, but it occurs less often. And like any cat, the Selkirk Rex is prone to hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver, so a healthy diet for your furry friend is a must. Schedule regular check-ups with your vet to catch any problems early.

Your Selkirk Rex will stay healthier and be happier as an indoor cat. Keeping them inside will also prevent them from coming into contact with cats carrying any illnesses from living outside. Even if your cat stays in the house, ensure they stay up-to-date on their immunizations.

This brings us to…

The last topic we want to discuss with you today is the importance of getting a pet insurance policy for your new loved one. While it is true that the Selkirk Rex cat breed is healthy, this does not mean that they will be immune to any diseases that can affect any particular cat. Plus, with a cat this mischievous, you always risk having your cat suffer from some injury, too!

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet always advise any new pet owner to take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy for their new loved one. If they ever become sick or injured in the future, you won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of the cost of treatment.

For more information on who we “feel” currently offers some of the “best” pet insurance policies on the market, check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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