The Cornish Rex has distinctive large ears set high on a relatively small egg-shaped head. These cats have high, hallowed cheekbones, a high-bridged Roman nose and a strong chin.
The body of the average Cornish Rex is long, slender and muscular, with long thin legs. Their fur lacks guard hairs so the coat is very short and incredibly soft with a "washboard" appearance. Rexes come in up to 42 color variations.
Cornish Rexes are very active and love to be in the center of attention. They show great affection and a playful spirit. Their special coat needs no grooming.
Rexes are not true hypoallergenic cats. People allergic to cats generally react to the dander (dead skin cells) and the saliva, both of which are present in Cornish Rex. Rexes however do shed significantly less than other breeds of cats.
Because Cornish Rexes are very active and affectionate, they need lots of room and playtime.
There are no breed-associated health problems, and their lifespans can easily reach 15-plus years.
In July 1950 in Cornwall, England, an unusual kitten was born among an average British Domestic Shortair cat’s litter. This cream-colored male was covered with tight rows of tiny curls. As the kitten matured, his unusual look became more dramatic.
The owner of the cat consulted with a British geneticist and it was determined that the kitten was a result of a natural gene mutation. The geneticist suggested that the male kitten be bred back to his mother to perpetuate the look. The result was two curly kittens out of a litter of three.
The name Rex was taken from the similar coat type seen in Rex rabbits. The breed was accepted into the Cat Fanciers Association in 1962. The International Cat Association and the American Cat Fanciers Association also recognize the Cornish Rex.