Table of contents:
- Curly cat is stylish
- The history of the emergence of cats with curly hair
- Varieties of curly cats
- Useful information for potential owners
- Reviews of owners of curly cats
Curly cat is stylish
As you know, cats are short-haired and long-haired. A separate category is made up of hairless (or hairless) cats (sphinxes, as well as various hybrid breeds created with their participation). However, not everyone knows that there are also cats with curly, like sheep, hair. Such exotic creatures have appeared relatively recently, but have already managed to win many hearts. Everyone who is thinking of purchasing such an unusual pet should learn about what curly cats are and how they differ from their relatives with straight hair.
1 History of the appearance of cats with curly hair
1.1 Table: types of rex hair mutations in cats
2 Varieties of curly cats
2.1 Cornish Rex
- 2.1.1 Photo Gallery: Various Colors of Cornish Rex
- 2.1.2 Video: Cornish Rex
2.2 Devon Rex
2.2.1 Video: Devon Rex
- 2.3 German Rex
2.4 Selkirk Rex
2.4.1 Video: Selkirk Rex
2.5.1 Video: Laperm
2.6 Other cat breeds with rex mutations in fur
- 2.6.1 Table: Little-known and unrecognized breeds of cats with wavy hair
- 2.6.2 Photo gallery: little-known breeds of curly cats
- 2.6.3 Video: Ural Rex
3 Useful information for potential owners
- 3.1 Breeds with very short hair
- 3.2 A few words about hypoallergenicity
3.3.1 Table: characteristic hereditary diseases of rex
- 4 Reviews from owners of curly cats
The history of the emergence of cats with curly hair
The history of the emergence of curly cat breeds is in many ways similar to the appearance of the sphinxes. Curled coat, as well as the absence of hair, is the result of an abnormal change in hereditary properties, or gene mutation ("mutation" in Latin - change). As in the case of hairlessness, curls in cats are the result of not one specific, but several different mutations, most of which we still know very little about.
Curly cats periodically appeared in different parts of the world, and kittens with not quite straight hair were born in animals of any breed and any color. Another thing is that until the second half of the 19th century, no one was engaged in professional cat breeding, therefore bald, curly, lop-eared and other unusual kittens caused only surprise in people.
The history of curly and hairless cats has a lot in common - they arose as a result of mutations
For this reason, speaking about the history of curly cats, there is no point in looking for the first mentions of them. It is possible that curled hair as a hereditary pathology has always manifested itself in certain animals, without acquiring stability in the process of evolution. There is also speculation that such mutations are due to climatic, environmental changes or other factors related to the environment. One way or another, people are not directly related to the very fact of the appearance of a curly cat. But it was the person who decided that the strange mutation needed to be fixed.
Now it is difficult to say who was the first to invent a new breed based on hereditary pathology. Most likely, similar thoughts began to arise in parallel in different people at the sight of a cat with one or another oddity in appearance. One thing is clear: such experiments were started not by scientists, but by the random owners of the "mutants". This process began around the middle of the 20th century and has been steadily gaining momentum since then.
The idea of fixing the curl gene was realized in the 20th century
The change in hair that makes it curly is called the rex mutation.
Curly cats owe their name not to kings, but to rabbits.
Cat's hair is represented by three types of hair - guard (longer, they are also called integumentary), down (or undercoat), and vibrissae (what we call "mustache" and "eyebrows" in a cat). In the normal state, the shaft of each hair should be straight. Rex mutation changes the structure of the hair follicle, as a result, the hairs become wavy or broken, and this can manifest itself in different ways.
Table: types of rex fur mutations in cats
|Cat breed||Genetic designation of mutation||Inheritance type||Wool structure|
|Cornish Rex||r||recessive||The guard hair is very thin, of the same length as the undercoat. Both types of hair are curled in waves towards the skin (inward). Crimped vibrissae.|
|Devon rex||rе||recessive||Covering (long guard) hairs are absent. The back is thicker and longer than the undercoat. The curls have different directions. The vibrissae are curled.|
|German rex||rgrg||recessive||The external structure of the coat is identical to the Cornish Rex|
|Oregon rex||ro||recessive||The external structure of the coat is identical to the Cornish Rex|
|Danish rex||Rd||dominant||At birth, the coat is wavy, but with age it becomes straight, very thin and sparse. The vibrissae remain wavy.|
|Selkirk Rex||Se||dominant||The cover hair is absent. The coat is thick and soft, curled in large waves.|
|Ural (Ural) rex||Ru or ru||presumably recessive||The coat is of medium length, almost without top coat. The undercoat is strongly curled, the awn is thin and curly, without a pronounced directionality. The vibrissae are thin and curved.|
|Laperm||currently absent||dominant||Long or medium coat with a very dense undercoat. May be curly or wavy.|
Varieties of curly cats
The first breed of cats based on the Rex mutation was officially recognized in 1967. But despite the fact that at different times, every now and then, a variety of variants of cats with wavy and broken hair were found and with varying success were fixed, international felinological organizations in general perceive such experiments very skeptically.
Curly cats often have difficulties with official recognition.
FIFe is the most alert to "curly" mutations. American associations such as TICA and CFA are somewhat more loyal to new breeds. Nevertheless, today we can talk about only five Rex breeds that have received full status:
- Cornish Rex (recognized by all feline organizations);
- Devon Rex (recognized by all feline organizations);
- German Rex (recognized by FIFe, WCF, SCFF; not recognized by CFA);
- Selkirk (recognized by ACF, WCF, CFA, TICA, ACFA);
- LaPerm (recognized by TICA, FIFe, WCF and CFA).
It was the Cornish that became the first breed of cats that was awarded official recognition.
Cornish Rex is the first recognized breed of curly cats
The events took place in one of the English counties - Cornwall, famous for its tin mines. In 1950, a common local cat gave birth to a curly kitten.
Initially, as is often the case with mutation-based breeds, the strange but apparently healthy baby was crossed with his own mother upon reaching puberty. But then American enthusiasts joined the business, who saw photos of amazing kittens published by Nina Ennismore and bought several individuals at once.
It is believed that in order to obtain viable offspring, future Cornishes were interbred with Siamese cats, which have short hair, which is almost devoid of undercoat.
The Cornish Rex is a long-legged, elegant and lithe animal with a muscular body, wedge-shaped head with huge eyes and large ears. A characteristic feature of the breed is a thin and mobile tail, similar to a whip.
A distinctive feature of the Cornish is a very thin tail
The curly hair of the Cornish Rex is so short that the cat looks very much like a sphinx. Nevertheless, this coat is quite dense. The waves travel in a uniform stream from the top of the head to the tip of the tail, but their range may vary.
The breed standard allows almost any color - from monophonic to various variations of bicolor and tabby. The most interesting option is the so-called C-Rex - a Cornish cat with a colorpoint color.
Sea Rex - a cat with a Siamese color and curly hair
Photo gallery: various colors of the Cornish Rex
Solid colors of Rex can be very different
Creamy Cornish Rex has an even color without a pattern
Calico - white color with soft black and red spots
Bicolor - a color in which both colors are present in significant proportions
It should be noted that recently the European and American variants of the Cornish Rex are more and more different from each other, moreover, experts have even started talking about the allocation of "Americans" in a separate breed. The fact is that in the United States, cats of the oriental type, long-legged and graceful, are traditionally prized, while in Europe they prefer more stocky animals with strong bones. That is why Americans add the blood of an oriental cat to their Root lines. As a result, not only appearance but also character changes: the animal becomes more active and "talkative".
The American line of Cornish Rex is slightly "corrected" due to the oriental cat
Video: Cornish Rex
The second known Rex mutation also has English roots, and this breed was formed almost simultaneously with the Cornish.
The Devon Rex is the second curled-haired cat breed bred in England.
And here's what's interesting: a practically naked kitten with a Rex mutation different from the Cornish was discovered in Devonshire near a tin mine!
The author does not form any scientific hypotheses and does not try to manipulate facts. Just food for thought. Tin mines were actively developed in Altenberg (Saxony) and Obergraupen (Czech Republic, Bohemia). Tin is present in copper electrolyte sludge, the processing of which has been famous for the Sverdlovsk region since the middle of the 19th century. There is no direct reason to believe that the appearance of English, German, Bohemian and Ural (found in Yekaterinburg, formerly Sverdlovsk) cats with a gene mutation of wool is somehow connected with the effect of a certain radiation, but the sequence of coincidences is slightly alarming for me.
Let me say that if the Cornish is the embodiment of the American idea of cat beauty, then the Devons are typical Europeans!
The Devon Rex is different from the Cornish in the same way as the European cat is from the Eastern
These cats have a short, muscular body, against which the long legs seem a bit disproportionate. The head is large, the muzzle is shortened and even slightly flattened with prominent cheekbones, like those of British cats. The chest is wide, but the neck is very thin, which also creates a feeling of some kind of imbalance. The overall picture is completed by huge slightly slanted eyes, as if wide open in incredible amazement.
Devon Rex looks like a little gnome
Unfortunately, some very unpleasant and dangerous pathologies for the animal are associated with the Devonshire rex mutation (more on this below). In the process of selection work, breeders try to eliminate these deviations by excluding individuals with critical shortcomings from breeding, but it is still far from a complete solution of the problem.
Video: Devon Rex
I will not tell the story of the appearance of these cats. The fact is that completely different versions are described in different sources. Moreover, they are all full of geographical names, names and dates that do not coincide at all with each other. Some argue that modern German Rexes are direct descendants of curly cats discovered in Prussia back in the 30s of the last century, others do not associate these mutations with each other.
One way or another, German Rex received official status in 1982. In Russia, the breed is not very popular, but in Europe it is considered one of the most popular.
The German Rex was officially recognized in 1982
Describing my own impression of these animals, I will say this: in terms of the structure of the coat, they are very similar to the Cornish variety, except that the fur coat of the German version is slightly thicker and more elastic. But in physique and appearance in general, German Rexes are much closer to their Devonshire counterparts.
Unlike the three previous breeds, Selkirk Rex were bred in the United States, in the state of Montana. This breed is younger than its European counterparts - for the first time the mutation was discovered in 1987, and the Selkirki received recognition already in the 1990s.
The Selkirk Rex is a very young breed of curly cats that gained recognition in the 1990s
The peculiarity of Selkirks is that there are two varieties within the breed - long-haired and short-haired. Selkirks are rather large animals with heavy bones. They have a powerful muscular body, a round head with a wide muzzle and a strong chin, proportional paws and a thick, not very long tail.
Selkirks are rather large cats with a powerful muscular body.
The characteristic shaggy and heaviness of the Selkirks was provided by the breeds that were used in the breeding of this variety of curly cats: British, Exotic and Persians.
Selkirks' hair sticks out randomly in different directions, so, to be honest, I get the impression that the animal has not been combed for a long time.
Video: Selkirk Rex
The name of this breed comes from the English word "рerm" - perm.
In some sources, this breed is opposed to the Rex, but in fact, the Laperma is also a kind of Rex mutation. The genetic abnormality that provides cats with curliness is inherited as a dominant trait, but Selkirk Rex differ in the same feature.
Recognition of the laperma was received even later than the selkirk: TICA approved the breed standard in 2002, after a while other felinological organizations registered a new variety of curly cats.
Laperm is the last curly-haired cat to receive official recognition
LaPerm is a long-haired variation of the curly cat. This animal has a muscular body, long legs and a slightly rounded muzzle with wide-set ears and large slanting eyes. Laperm's coat is rather stiff, even a little prickly, like a mohair thread. A characteristic feature of the fur coat is a thin undercoat and a very thin awn.
I have seen how some experts at exhibitions assessed the quality of the laperm, blowing on its wool: "correct" curls should instantly crumble to the sides from the slightest breath of breeze.
Curly Laperma coat is very thin and has no undercoat
Other cat breeds with rex mutations in fur
In pursuit of the unusual appearance of a pet, enthusiasts cannot be stopped. Without thinking about the consequences of their actions and not understanding the deep reasons for the emergence of certain mutations, people interbreed animals with each other in the most incredible combinations. Of course, not all of the breeds listed below are the result of such experiments, some are not yet studied rex mutations. And yet, on the whole, the tendency is obvious: the demand for various kinds of mutants is growing, the rarity and unusualness of the “breed” determines a higher price for it, which means that the number of strange cats combining any possible deviations from the norm will only increase.
Table: little-known and unrecognized cat breeds with wavy hair
|Conditional name of the breed||Country of origin||Appearance period||Brief information|
|Skokum (dwarf laperm)||USA||1996||An artificially bred breed, a hybrid of Laperm and Munchkin.|
|Ural rex||RF||1988||A cat with medium length coat. The undercoat is strongly twisted, the direction of the curls is not pronounced.|
|Danish rex||Denmark||1968||Cats show a tendency to baldness, vitality is questionable.|
|Oregon rex||USA||1944||Presumably extinct in 1972.|
|Czech (bohemian) rex||Czech||1980s||The only successful attempt to create a curly cat based on the Persian breed.|
|Beloyarsky Rex||RF||2005||The coat is coarser than that of the Cornish, thick and short. The curls are directed inward.|
|Maine Coon Rex (Dutch Rex)||Netherlands||1985||According to one version, it is a natural mutation of the American wire-haired cat, according to the other - a Maine Coon Rex mutation.|
|California Rex (Marseilles cat)||USA||1959||A rex mutation similar to the Cornish but with long hair.|
|Karakul cat||USA||1930s||Cats with an unknown rex mutation, no offspring survived.|
|Prussian rex||East Prussia||1930s||Brown cats with curly hair, the offspring did not survive.|
|Ruffle||USA||1987||An attempt to obtain a hybrid of the American Curl and Cornish Rex. Experiments terminated.|
|Dakota Rex||USA||1991||A type of rex mutation. Work is underway to create the breed, but there is very little information about it.|
|Ohio rex||USA||1953||Unknown mutation in curly hair. Kittens do not survive, experiments are stopped.|
|Prairie rex||USA||-||Unsuccessful rex mutation. Breeding experiments were discontinued.|
|Missouri Rex||USA||1990||A little-known variant of the shorthaired rex mutation.|
|Tennessee rex||USA||2004||A kind of rex mutation, work is underway to develop the breed.|
|Poodlecat||Germany||1994||Lop-eared curly cat. A hybrid of Cartesian, Somali, Norwegian Forest cats and Maine Coons.|
|Pennsylvania (Maryland) rex||USA||1971-1973||Unknown rex mutation, similar to Cornish.|
Photo gallery: little-known breeds of curly cats
Tennessee Rex hair has been curled since birth
Ural Rex is an unrecognized domestic breed
Skoom is translated from the Indian dialect as "brave"
Poodlecat - Fold Curly Cat - Partly recognized by FIFe
Video: Ural Rex
Useful information for potential owners
Taking into account that curliness manifests itself in cats that differ from each other both in the length of the coat and in the breed, and, in addition, mutations that cause a change in the hair structure are also different, - talk about some general rules of care Rex would be fundamentally wrong.
Cats with curly hair differ not only in color
Breeds with very short hair
Of the recognized Rexes, these are the Cornish and Devonian, they are the most common in Russia. These breeds are characterized by the same problems that Sphynx owners often face: these cats are freezing all the time and, due to the accelerated metabolism, are constantly hungry.
My friend once complained that her mother had fed her Devon Rex so that it took five long years to bring the unfortunate animal back to normal, while the beast screamed indignantly, demanding another portion, and the owners felt like literally concentration camp guards starving the animal.
Short-haired Rex cats begging for food all the time
As a result of the constant feeling of discomfort in half-naked Rex, some "oddities" in their character may also appear: alienation, an attempt to hide in a secluded place, or, on the contrary, an obsessive desire to jump onto their knees (according to the figurative expression of another friend of mine - "I don't love you, you warm ").
Rex are very easy to overfeed, as they have an accelerated metabolism and are always hungry
In a word, the expectation to get a predictable, affectionate and intelligent kitty in the face of a Rex may not be justified.
A few words about hypoallergenicity
If the breeder of a short-haired (or any other) Rex assures a potential buyer that such a cat does not cause allergies, this can mean one of two things: either the person is incompetent, or he is openly lying. In either case, it is better to refuse to purchase a kitten from this seller (an unprofessional or unscrupulous owner will not provide his pets with the correct conditions of detention).
Curly cats are no less allergenic than any other
Rexes cause allergies no less and no more than cats with straight hair or none at all. This becomes quite obvious if you are not too lazy to get at least the most general information about what cat allergens are (by the way, there are more than a dozen known of them). Substances that cause a pathological reaction in some people are not found in the cat's fur at all, but in its saliva, sweat, dandruff and urine.
I will say more: traces of allergens will remain in the house for several months after the cat leaves it for good!
Genetics is a very young science. She is even sometimes called the same age as our century, although Mendel's laws on the principles of transmission of hereditary traits were formulated at the end of the nineteenth century. In recent years, scientists have managed to make a lot of interesting discoveries, including those related to the nature of the mutation, due to which cats' fur "curls". And yet, a direct answer to the question whether this gene change is connected with some other failures, less obvious, but possibly fraught with potential danger (including for subsequent generations of the mutant), has not yet been found.
A cat with wavy hair - an unsolved mystery
Veterinarians came to the aid of geneticists. Through many years of observation, they were able to identify some hereditary diseases to which curly cats are more susceptible than any others. When, in pursuit of an unusual appearance, several mutant breeds begin to cross (vivid examples are the dwarf laperm, a hybrid of the Cornish and Munchkin, and the tailless Manx Rex), the likelihood of serious hereditary abnormalities in the offspring increases dramatically.
Table: characteristic hereditary diseases of rex
|Breed name||Frequent pathologies|
There is very little information on the health of curly cats.
Over the past century, curly cats have been found in different parts of the world, and there have been many attempts to create a separate breed based on them. But most of these experiments ended in failure: at best, the curliness could not be fixed, at worst, the resulting offspring died.
Everyone has the right to draw their own conclusions, but one thing is obvious to me: we know too little about the causes of deformation of the hairline of cats to talk about healthy heredity and the viability of its owners. And numerous reviews of the owners of these breeds confirm: the Rex is not a cat for everyone.
Reviews of owners of curly cats
When deciding to get a curly cat, one must understand that in a sense we are talking about acquiring a “pig in a poke”. Scientists are still only studying the causes of mutations that cause changes in the structure of the hair, but the fact that cats with wavy hair does not exist in nature cannot but be alarming. When choosing Rex of recognized breeds, the risk of facing serious hereditary pathologies is, of course, small. But even in this case, you should be prepared for the unusual behavior of your pet. And we can only guess what problems little-known, rare and experimental breeds, especially those based on crossing curly cats with carriers of other mutations, are fraught with.