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Selkirk Rex Cat Info: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on June 25, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team


Selkirk Rex Cat Info: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

The Selkirk Rex is one of the only four cat breeds with wavy fur, the others being the Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, and LaPerm. Sweet, loyal, and terribly cute, the Selkirk Rex is a great fit for any person, including those who consider themselves “dog people.”

The Selkirk is a recent breed, tracing its roots back to 1987 when a Montana breeder, Jeri Newman, spotted a curly-haired kitten at a shelter and adopted it. She then bred the curly kitty with a Persian male, producing a litter consisting of three straight-haired kittens and three curly-haired ones.

This indicated that the curly hair gene is autosomal dominant, meaning that one parent must possess it for some of their offspring to express it.

Breed Overview


9–11 inches


6–16 pounds


10–15 years


White, Black, Lavender, Red, Cream, Chocolate

Suitable for

Active families, apartments and condos, families with more than one cat, seniors, single people


Affectionate, active, independent, patient, playful, quiet, social

The International Cat Association (TICA) was the first to accept the Selkirk Rex as a distinct breed in 1992. The American Cat Fanciers’ Association (ACFA) officially accepted it in 1998.

The Selkirk Rex is a muscular, medium-sized cat that can weigh up to 16 pounds, but the females are smaller. This cat has a round head, adorable round eyes, and comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Additionally, their curly coats can be either short or long.

A common misconception is that the Selkirk Rex’s coat is hypoallergenic due to its coat texture. However, that is not true. Allergies result from dander and not a particular coat type.

This breed is a good fit for people who will give them attention, as their personality and coat type requires a lot of care.

Selkirk Rex Cat Characteristics

A high-energy cat needs a lot of physical and mental stimulation to keep healthy and happy, while a low-energy cat needs minimal physical activity, but still needs mental stimulation. When choosing a cat, It’s important to ensure their energy levels match your lifestyle.
Cats that are easy-to-train are more willing and skilled at quickly learning prompts and actions with minimal training. Harder-to-train cats are usually more stubborn or aloof and require a bit more patience and practice.
Certain cat breeds are more prone to various genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat in those breeds will have these issues, but they do have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Due to their size or potential genetic health issues of a specific breed, some cats have shorter lifespans than others. Proper nutrition, exercise, mental stimulation, and hygiene also play an important role in your cat’s lifespan and quality of life.
Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other cats and animals. Cats that are more social have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches or jump on laps for cuddles, while cats that are less social shy away, hide, are more cautious, and even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed or gender, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to many different situations.

Cat ball divider 1Selkirk Rex Kittens

Selkirk Rex kitten
Image Credit: Jaroslaw Kurek, Shutterstock

The Selkirk Rex is a rare breed, however, a breeder may not be too hard to find if you’re willing to travel to get one. If you do find a Selkirk Rex breeder, you may even be put on a waiting list. So make sure to reach out to the breeder before you make the trip to see if they have cats available immediately.

It is important to do your research to make sure the breeder is reputable. A reputable breeder can answer any questions you may have and will be extremely knowledgeable about the breed. They should also be able to provide a medical history for the kitten and the kitten’s bloodline. Avoid kitten mills that sell these kittens for cheap. You can usually tell because they can’t provide much information about the breed and don’t have medical records, as they are only looking to make money may not produce healthy kittens.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Selkirk Rex Cat

The Selkirk Rex is loving, patient, and tolerant. They enjoy playing and are not too demanding. Additionally, they are sweet and attentive and get along just fine with both children and other pets.

Interestingly, this cat has a clownish side to it and will entertain you occasionally. But they would love nothing better than to sit on your lap and talk to you quietly. They are not loud cats.

Despite being laidback, they become sad when ignored frequently or left alone for extended periods. This means that they are not a good fit for single people who are rarely at home.

The Selkirk is also one intelligent cat. They like learning new things and will even open drawers to look for their favorite toy. As such, make sure that you invest in several toys to stimulate them mentally.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

The Selkirk Rex’s sweet disposition makes them ideal pets for all types of families, even those with children. However, you must teach the kids how to handle this kitty properly to avoid injuries on both ends.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

The Selkirk Rex does get along with other pets. However, early socialization is necessary, as it allows the cat to be comfortable around others.

Selkirk Rex
Image Credit: athree23, Pixabay

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Things to Know When Owning a Selkirk Rex

Food & Diet Requirements 🐡

The Selkirk Rex is a relatively large cat; therefore, it is important to control their portions accordingly to avoid overfeeding them. Keeping them lean allows you to keep health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and arthritis at bay, especially considering that these are not overactive cats. It will also allow you to prevent the onset of hip dysplasia and heart disease, which are both conditions that this breed is predisposed to.

It goes without saying that you should only get high-quality cat food for your Selkirk to ensure that they are getting proper nutrition from their diet. Therefore, avoid cheap commercial foods. This is not to say that all expensive foods are of high quality. Do your homework to identify the good brands.

The portion sizes, as well as nutritional needs, will vary between cats, depending on factors such as age, activity level, and metabolism. You might want to consult your vet if you are not sure about how much food your pet needs.

Exercise 🐈

The Selkirk, like any other cat, will only play when it wants to. Moreover, thanks to their laid-back attitude, they are not particularly overzealous. This means that you will have to be creative to get them to burn some calories.

Fortunately, toys such as plastic balls, feather teasers, felt mice, and interactive games will keep the cat engaged. Consider getting a cat tower, too, to help them practice their jumps, as well as have a perch when they need some space.

Training 🧶

Selkirks are highly intelligent, which allows them to learn tricks easily. However, your Selkirk Rex is not a dog, meaning that it might not be particularly eager to want to learn anything. Therefore, to stimulate them mentally, consider getting them puzzle toys.

Like all cats, it should not be difficult to teach your Selkirk how to use the litter box.

Selkirk rex cat
Image Credit: athree23, Pixabay

Grooming ✂️

Despite having such a luxurious coat, this animal is incredibly easy to groom. And the good news is that it does not shed a lot. The coat traps loose hairs, preventing them from dropping all over. But as a result, matting is bound to occur if you do not groom your Selkirk regularly.

When grooming, avoid over-brushing, as it tends to loosen the curls up. Instead, consider using a wide-toothed comb. Do that a few times a week for best results. Regular baths using a light shampoo should also help you prevent matting. Ask your breeder to show you the best combing techniques so that you do not stretch out the curls.

Make sure that you brush their teeth a few times a week using vet-approved toothpaste while trimming their nails at least every fortnight.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Minor Conditions
  • Separation anxiety
  • Mite infestation
Serious Conditions
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Brachycephalic airway syndrome
  • Arterial thromboembolism

As with any other breed, the Selkirk Rex is predisposed to some genetic health problems. These include polycystic kidney disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and hip dysplasia.

The best breeders, however, try to lower the risk of a cat developing those problems by virtue of proper breeding practices. Therefore, do not consider breeders who are not willing to offer you a written health guarantee.

Be sure to take your pet for regular checkups at the vet, and they will live a long and happy life.

Male vs. Female

The sex of your Selkirk really does not matter, as long as the kitten is spayed or neutered. If you do not do that, your Selkirk male can become fiercely territorial when they mature, while the female will develop behavioral problems when she’s in heat.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Selkirk Rex Cat

1. The whiskers of a Selkirk Rex are also curly.

2. They are great therapy cats.

3. A litter of Selkirk Rex kittens will have both curly-haired and straight-haired kittens.

cat paw dividerFinal Thoughts

If you have never had a cat before, the Selkirk Rex is perfect for you, as it is a gentle soul that wants nothing but your companionship. However, you must be in a position where they can see you often, as they gets sad and withdrawn if left alone for extended periods. The cat is also a good fit for families, as it gets along with children and other pets.

Related Reads:

Featured Image Credit: athree23, Pixabay

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