Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are Cornish Rex cats?
A. Cornish Rex are one of the breeds of cats that resulted from a naturally occurring or spontaneous mutation. The hallmark of this breed is the unique curly-coat. The Cornish Rex is a small to medium cat with a slender, arched body, large eyes and large ears set high on the head. The long neck, high cheekbones and aristocratic profile give it a look of pure elegance. Its coat is extremely short and silky, lying close to the body in washboard waves.
Q. Are Cornish Rex cats those hairless cats?
A. Sphynx cats are the hairless breed of cats however even Sphynx are not completely bald.
Q. What cats do you breed together to produce the Cornish Rex?
A. You breed Cornish Rex to Cornish Rex; there are no allowable outcross breeds.
Q. When and where was this breed first discovered?
A. In 1950 the first Cornish Rex cat that was used as a foundation for this breed was discovered in a litter of "Barn Cats" born on a farm near Cornwall, England.
Q. What can you tell me about the mother, father, or other kittens in this litter?
A. The mother’s name was Serena, a tortoiseshell and white short hair cat, that lived her life in a normal every day way on Mrs. Nina Ennismore’s farm. In this litter there were five kittens. Kallibunker, a cream colored male, was one of the kittens in this litter but was very special because he had a curly-coat. Nothing much is known about the father of Kallibunker save that he lived somewhere in the general vicinity of the Ennismore’s farm.
Q. About how many Cornish Rex are born every year?
A. In 1995 as reported in the 1997 March issue of the "Cat Fanciers’ Almanac" there were 1,515 live births recorded by the Cat Fanciers’ Association, also known as CFA.
Q. What is the average number of kittens in each litter?
A. According to CFA the average litter size is three with males and females being approximately equal in number.
Q. Aside from being curly, how does the Cornish Rex coat differ from other short hair cats?
A. The Cornish Rex cat is an ultra short hair that has just the down hair or undercoat whereas the Devon Rex has the both the middle length of fur, the awnhair, as well as the downhair . A normal shorthair cat, such as the Siamese, has three lengths of fur, downhair, awnhair and guardhair in their coat composition.
Q. Are those cats fragile, they look delicate?
A. Many people think that the Cornish Rex cats look fragile however quite the opposite it true. If you get a chance to hold one of these cats you will be very surprised at how much they weigh compared to the small size; they are very muscular and agile.
Q. Do Cornish Rex cats have any genetic defects or faults?
Q. Do you need to set your thermostat higher to help keep these cats warm in winter?
A. Cornish Cats always seem to find the warmest places to rest in all seasons but do not require the master of the house to have the heat turned up high to live comfortably.
Q. Could these cats survive outside in winter?
A. It is this author's opinion that all cats should remain inside however Cornish Rex cats live outside on a regular basis in cold climates such as are found in the Netherlands.
Q. How much do they weigh?
A. For adults the range falls somewhere between four and one half pound to nine pounds.
Q. Cornish Rex cats look a little like Poodles. Does their fur feel coarse?
A. These cats have fur that is softer than any other breed of cat and is in no way coarse or rough.
Q. Do Cornish Rex cats come in all colors?
A. These cats come in a veritable rainbow of cat colors: calicos, bi-colors, tri-colors (properly called calicos), stripes, alas, not plaids. Cornish Rex can even come in the colors and patterns of the Siamese or Colorpoint Spectrum.
Q. Are Cornish Rex cats hypoallergenic and do these cats shed fur all about the house?
A. Popular folklore maintains that Cornish Rex cats are non-shedding and hypoallergenic. In fact, they do shed just as any live animal with hair must shed to renew its coat. Due to the extremely short length and fine texture, the hairs may be hard to see. Since cat allergies are usually caused by the proteins in the cats’ saliva, when cats are grooming themselves they coat their fur with saliva which can become airborne when any fur is shed. One thing to remember is that no two cats are alike, nor are the people that are involved ever the same. Some people with allergies to cats can tolerate a Cornish Rex but may or may not be symptom free and others are just as allergic to these cats as to any breed of cat. Like many things in life, the best way to test for an allergic reaction is by the time tested method of trial and error.
Q. What is the activity level and general personality of this breed?
A. Cornish Rex cats are affectionate, active, and gregarious. They are agile, athletic, and intelligent, the Cornish Rex cat is wonderful for people that enjoy a fun-loving pet with a high level of activity. While they enjoy being a lap cat, they also delight in resting on your shoulder or surveying their domain from high places. Some people say that Cornish Rex cats act like kittens all of their adult lives. Their active, playful and affectionate nature make them ideal companions.
Q. Did you cut or perm the hair on your cat to create those waves?
A. Cornish Rex cats are born with curls. After a few days the curls will disappear but the kittens will start to coat up again when they are three to four months old. This is not to say that young kittens are bald. Their coat is just short and void of any curls.
Q. Because of those curls do Cornish Rex cats require any special type of grooming?
A. This is one of the reasons that Cornish Rex cats are so popular because they need little if any grooming. Of course like any cat they need their nails trimmed, a Q-tip to clean ears, a wash cloth to wipe the face and chin, and the coat should be brushed with a ribbed rubber brush or a soft-bristled baby brush once or twice weekly.
Q. Those cats look a little thin are they hungry?
A. All cats should be feed a quality diet of cat food such as Iams, Nutro Max Cat, or Hills Science Diet and Cornish Rex are no different. It is a good idea to read the label on the food package and follow the guidelines so as not to over or under feed your cat. This breed is known for its hard muscular body but are slender in appearance somewhat like Greyhounds. Cornish Rex cats have very excellent appetites; if you are not careful you can over feed your Rex because they are so friendly and quite adept at asking for more food than they require.
Q. Are there any books about Cornish Rex cats?
A. Yes, but sadly, not many. Check Amazon for a current list. (The site will open in a new window.)
Q. What are the main reasons that people fall in love with the Cornish Rex?
A. Many like these cats because they shed a whole lot less than other breeds and that they require little maintenance or grooming. Others enjoy their Cornish Rex cats because they are always playful like kittens. Rex cats also are very people oriented and often follow their owner all around the house wanting to be involved in everything that is happening in the home.