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Selkirk Rex Longhair: Pictures, Care, Traits & Info

Written by: Catster Editorial Team

Last Updated on June 25, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team


Selkirk Rex Longhair: Pictures, Care, Traits & Info

The Selkirk Rex Longhair is a charming, medium-sized cat most known for their curly coat and friendly personality. These cats break the negative stereotype of cats being aloof and distant. They love being around people and are quick to form strong bonds with their family members.

Selkirk Rex Longhairs make wonderful companion pets and can be well-suited for first-time cat owners and families with children or other pets. Here’s everything you need to know if you’re interested in caring for a Selkirk Rex and want to find out if this breed is the right fit for you.

Breed Overview


9–11 inches


11–16 pounds


10–15 years


Black, blue, chocolate, cinnamon, cream, cream-tabby, fawn, lavender, red, red tabby, white

Suitable for:

Families with children, multi-pet homes, elderly


Easygoing, gentle, friendly, affectionate

Selkirk Rexes come in longhaired and shorthaired varieties. The most notable difference with Selkirk Rex Longhairs is that they tend to have bushier tails and fluffier faces than their shorthaired counterparts. They really look like stuffed animals with the softest coats, and it’s nearly impossible to resist petting them. Fortunately, these cats love to cuddle with their favorite people and don’t mind getting plenty of pets.

Selkirk Rex Longhair 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.

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Selkirk Rex Longhair Kittens

Image Credit: Jaroslaw Kurek, Shutterstock

Selkirk Rex Longhairs are rarely found in animal adoption centers. They’re most commonly found through a breeder. One of the best ways to find reputable Selkirk Rex breeders is by searching through The International Cat Association (TICA) breeder registry. It can be challenging to find a Selkirk Rex breeder, as there aren’t very many located in the US. So, it’s best to be prepared to get put on a waitlist and make travel plans if you want to purchase a Selkirk Rex Longhair.

As kittens, Selkirk Rex Longhairs are quite playful and affectionate. They’ll like having a rotation of different toys that they can play with without getting bored. They’ll most likely prefer toys that they can play with you, such as wand toys.

Selkirk Rex Longhairs aren’t the most energetic breed, but you can still expect kittens to have spurts of energy. Some may even wake up in the middle of the night to run around and expend pent-up energy before going back to bed.

Selkirk Rex Longhair Origin & History

Selkirk Rexes are a relatively new cat breed, with the first Selkirk Rex kitten appearing in Montana in 1987. She was an accidental discovery and wasn’t developed from intentional, selective breeding. This kitten was the only one in her litter to have a curly coat, and she was eventually adopted by breeder Jeri Newman and was named Miss DiPesto. Miss DiPesto became the foundation cat for Selkirk Rexes, and all Selkirk Rexes can be traced back to her.

Selkirk Rexes have been developed by breeding American Shorthairs, Persians, Himalayans, Exotic Shorthairs, and British Shorthairs as their outcrosses. The breed was officially recognized by TICA in 1992 and the American Cat Fanciers Association in 1998.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Selkirk Rex Longhair

Selkirk Rex Longhairs are known for their easygoing and gentle temperaments. They’re medium-energy cats that enjoy playing with their family members and cuddling afterward. They’re not needy, but they do prefer human companionship over being alone. It’s common for Selkirk Rex Longhairs to be napping or lounging in the same room as their owners while they work or do chores. If you work from home, it’s best to set up a cat bed near your workstation so that your Selkirk Rex Longhair can keep you company.

Since Selkirk Rex Longhairs are social, they do best in homes where they won’t be left home alone for long hours at a time. They’re also more likely than other cat breeds to enjoy living with another feline companion or other pets in the home.

Selkirk Rex Longhairs are intelligent, but they’re not the most enthusiastic learners. Their interests won’t be in learning new tricks or games. They really just prefer being with people and are more interested in showing and receiving affection.

Image Credit: Heidi Bollich, Shutterstock

Are These Cats Good for Families?👪

The Selkirk Rex Longhair is a considerable breed for families with children. These cats are friendly and social, and they often have patience for young children. Early socialization will also help Selkirk Rex Longhair kittens grow confident around children.

While Selkirk Rex Longhairs are typically good with children, it’s still important to teach children how to interact appropriately and respectfully around cats. Children must learn to avoid touching cats’ faces, paws, and other sensitive areas and know when a cat wants to be left alone.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

Selkirk Rex Longhairs aren’t known to be temperamental and aren’t likely to be picky about their housemates. They won’t mind being the only pet in the home, but they can learn to live harmoniously with other cats and dogs in the home. Just make sure to introduce them to other pets gradually so that they can get used to each other at a comfortable pace.

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Things to Know When Owning a Selkirk Rex Longhair:

Food & Diet Requirements

Selkirk Rex Longhairs are generally healthy cats who don’t typically require specialized diets. They usually do just fine eating high-quality cat food. You can ask your cat’s breeder or your veterinarian for food recommendations. Keeping up with your Selkirk Rex Longhair’s veterinary appointments will also help you ensure you’re feeding them the correct portion sizes.

When feeding your Selkirk Rex Longhair, it’s best to schedule two to three meal times a day rather than free-feeding them. Scheduled meals will help you keep better track of how much food your cat’s eating, and it can prevent overfeeding and underfeeding.


Selkirk Rex Longhairs will benefit from about 30 minutes of exercise per day. As a social breed, it’s natural for their favorite form of exercise to be playing with people. They’re not the most energetic cats, so it’s best to exercise them when they have bursts of energy, which typically occur in the morning and evening. If you’re having a challenging time engaging your Selkirk Rex Longhair, you can try using a treat dispenser toy to entice and encourage them to get moving.

Even though Selkirk Rex Longhairs aren’t very active, it’s still important to make sure they get enough exercise every day. Selkirk Rex Longhairs that don’t get enough exercise are at higher risk of excessive weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.


Selkirk Rex Longhairs are mellow cats that won’t really get themselves into too much trouble. They also learn how to use a litter box rather quickly and without much assistance.

Because Selkirk Rex Longhairs enjoy engaging with people, they can develop a hobby of learning new tricks. They’ll also benefit from learning to play with treat-dispensing toys and puzzles. Adding enrichment activities to your Selkirk Rex Longhair’s daily schedule can help prevent behavioral issues, including boredom, depression, and separation anxiety.


Selkirk Rex Longhairs have moderate grooming needs due to their uniquely curly hair. They shed moderately, but their hair tends to get trapped in their coat rather than fall out. Therefore, they must be brushed regularly to ensure their coat doesn’t get tangled or matted. It’s best to use a wide-tooth comb to pick up loose hair and brush through their coat without messing up their curls.

Selkirk Rex Longhairs can benefit from getting bathed occasionally to remove dead hairs and freshen up their coats. Make sure to use high-quality shampoo that’s free of harsh chemicals. Shampoo with a gentle formula will prevent your Selkirk Rex Longhair’s skin and coat from drying out and causing itchiness and irritation. You can also schedule grooming appointments to keep their coats clean and healthy.

Health and Conditions🏥

Selkirk Rex Longhairs are generally healthy cats, but as with any purebred cat, they can be predisposed to certain genetic conditions.

Minor Conditions
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Hip dysplasia

Serious Conditions
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Male vs Female

Male Selkirk Rex Longhairs may grow to be slightly larger than females. The sex of the cat doesn’t determine distinct personality traits, as both males and females tend to be mellow, affectionate, and gentle.

You may notice more differences with cats that have been spayed or neutered versus intact cats. Intact cats will engage in mating behaviors and are more likely to urine mark, become territorial, and try to roam. It’s highly recommended to spay or neuter your cat if you don’t intend to breed them, as this will help reduce stray cat populations.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Selkirk Rex Longhair

1. Some Selkirk Rex Longhairs won’t have curly hair.

Not all Selkirk Rex Longhairs have curly hair. While thorough breeding has increased the number of kittens that develop curly hair, there’s still a slim chance that some Selkirk Rex Longhairs will end up with straight hair. Sometimes, Selkirk Rex Longhair kittens will develop curls when they get older.

2. The best way to tell if a Selkirk Rex Longhair kitten will have curly hair is by looking at their whiskers.

Selkirk Rex Longhair kittens can be born with straight hair and have their curls develop as they grow older. One of the best ways to predict if a kitten will have curly hair is to examine their whiskers. Selkirk Rex Longhairs have both curly hair and whiskers, and their whiskers tend to curl before the rest of their coat. So, it’s possible for a kitten to have a straight coat and curly whiskers, and the coat will eventually start to curl as they grow into adults.

3. Selkirk Rex Longhairs are the only cat breed named after a person.

Many cat breeds are named after locations and cultures, such as Siamese Cats, Balinese Cats, and Abyssinian Cats. The Selkirk Rex Longhair is the only cat breed named after a specific person. Selkirk Rexes were named after Jeri Newman’s stepfather.

Image Credit: fotata, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Selkirk Rex Longhairs are friendly and playful cats that enjoy human companionship. They’re relatively easy to care for and are a good breed for first-time cat owners. The only particular need to be mindful of is coat maintenance. These cats do have more extensive grooming needs and require regular brushing and maintenance to keep their coats free of mats and tangles.

Overall, Selkirk Rex Longhairs are a good fit for people who work from home or don’t have reasons to be consistently outside of the house. Selkirk Rex Longhairs don’t like being home alone for extended periods of time. They’re affectionate companions with a lot of love to give and will enjoy keeping you company at any time of day.

Featured Image Credit: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock

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