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A Seikirk Rex cat

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Selkirk Rex cat breed profile

These are curly and friendly cats who love affection.

Whether your cat is a purebred Selkirk Rex or a Selkirk Rex mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're looking to adopt a Selkirk Rex and want to do a bit of research first — we can help with that.

There’s something particularly endearing about the fluffy, sheep-like appearance of the Selkirk Rex cat breed. This relatively new breed of cat has a lot to offer potential pet parents who don’t mind a bit of shedding. Here’s what you need to know before bringing one of these fuzzy felines into your home.

What do Selkirk Rex cats look like?

These unique-looking cats first appeared in Montana in the 1980s. The most definable characteristic of Selkirk Rex cats is their curly, fluffy coat. Their puffy, loose hair earned them the nickname — a cat in sheep’s clothing — due to the almost wool-like appearance of their fur. 

You can find both short-haired and long-haired Selkirk Rexes (all with the defining curly coat) in a wide array of colors, from silver to red to tabby. But their hair isn’t the only characteristic that defines the breed — Selkirk Rexes are known for being big and sturdy, too.

“The feline is large and muscular with a round head,” Dr. Alex Schechter, DVM, owner of Burrwood Veterinary in Royal Oak, Michigan, says. “They weigh up to 16 pounds, though most are between 14-15 pounds.” 

Just remember this signature coat is prone to shedding. Like all cats, Selkirk Rex aren’t hypoallergenic, so if you have cat allergies, you should talk to a doctor before adopting any cat. 

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What are Selkirk Rex cats’ personalities like?

If you’re looking for a strong, yet affectionate and calm, kitty to bring into your home, the Selkirk Rex is a good option to consider.

“Selkirk Rex cats are affectionate, mellow and gentle,” Dr. Schechter says. “They’re usually calm and friendly.”

So, if you’re a cat-lover who’s looking for a cuddly kitty rather than a more active or playful one, this breed could be a great fit for you.

What are common health issues for Selkirk Rex cats?

Generally speaking, Selkirk Rex cats are a healthy breed, but there are a few common conditions that pet parents should keep an eye on. 

“Polycystic kidney disease, which causes enlarged kidneys and kidney dysfunction, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease in which the heart muscles are thickened, slowing blood flow, are common in the feline breed,” Dr. Schechter explains. 

Both of these more serious diseases are genetic in nature, and it’s possible to have your cat tested for the genes to start taking preventative health measures early on. That said, if you notice changes in your cat’s urinary or drinking patterns, it’s worth getting them to the vet for testing. Early interventions may be able to help improve long-term care. And if more serious intervention is needed, it helps to be prepared. 

“Pet parents should opt for health insurance for the cat breed,” Schechter says. 

Apart from these health concerns, Dr. Schechter notes that Selkirk Rex cats may be more prone to ear infections

“To avoid wax and ottis accumulation, an ear cleaner is suggested — your vet can recommend the best one for your pet,” Dr. Schechter says.

Adopting a Selkirk Rex cat

Are you interested in adopting a Selkirk Rex cat, a Selkirk Rex cat mix or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend.

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.

Photo by Eric Isselee on Shutterstock

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