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The Selkirk Rex Cat Breed


The Selkirk Rex cat breed originated from a kitten called Miss DePesto. In 1987 in Montana, a feral blue tortie and white cat had a litter of kittens with one kitten that had a bit of an unusual look about her.

Persian breeder Jeri Newman took this kitten and named her Miss DePesto. Jeri found out that this kitten’s mother had hair that was slightly kinked at the end. Miss DePesto had curly whiskers, a wavy coat and tightly curled hair in her ears. Like the Cornish Rex cat breed, her body had fine boning despite being heavy and her legs were long.

Selkirk Rex cat breed Cinnamon tabby Selkirk Rex named Pollo - Ciaccia

All Miss DePesto’s littermates had normal coats and there were no other curly-coated cats in the region. This led Jeri Newman to the conclusion that she might have a kitten with a new mutant Rex gene.

When she was 14 months old, Miss DePesto was bred to Jeri’s black Persian male and this cross-breeding resulted in a litter of 6 kittens – 3 with the curly coat of their mom. This proved that the gene was dominant unlike that of the Cornish Rex and the Devon Rex cat breeds.

The Selkirk Rex cat breed was accepted by TICA into their New Breed program in 1990 and obtained championship status in February 1994.


The Selkirk Rex cat breed is a medium to large cat breed with heavy boning and a muscular body. The head is round with large round eyes that give this cat a sweet expression.

Selkirk Rex cat breed Selkirk Rex cat - Jean Goyer

Shorthair cats of this breed have dense, plush curls that make them resemble a teddy bear. The longhair Selkirk Rex cats have a tousled look about them that makes them look like woolly sheep – or like they are having a bad hair day! Both varieties come in all colors.

The curls are most noticeable on the underside and flanks and the neck. The coat is very soft and curls fall loosely. The shorthair Selkirk Rex needs a weekly brushing to remove any loose hair and the longhair Selkirk Rex needs a twice weekly brushing to keep the coat in top condition.

Personality & Temperament

These curly coated cats are laid-back and loving. They just love a cuddle and take it in their stride when people want to touch their unusual coats.

The Selkirk Rex is a playful cat breed and is good with children and other pets, provided they have been properly introduced.

They love playing and a game that involves chasing a toy mouse is greatly enjoyed by both owner and cat.

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