It’s a question in many pet guides’ Q&A sections: Can cats have curly hair? Of course, they can. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) and The International Cat Association (TICA) only prioritize four breeds of cats with curly hair. Still, there are a few more deserving equal attention.
You might be thinking about adding a new member to your pet family and considering a curly-haired cat. It’s crucial to equip yourself with enough knowledge about your next feline friend.
This list of cat breeds with curly hair provides a foundation for understanding each breed by characteristic. From the most well-known to rare cat breeds, I’ve gathered the information you need to take the best care of your curly-haired fur baby.
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First: Understanding the Basics | Cats with Curly Fur
Some cats have naturally occurring curly hair, but it’s rare. As such, genetic mutation makes producing most curly-haired cat breeds possible. Rex mutation is the genetic process used to create curly, soft cat fur.
During rex mutations, significant changes are made in the hair’s group structure and the individual hairs’ cross-sections. The result is a curly coat appearance. We call curly fur a rexed coat.
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Curly Hair Cats
The primary curly hair cats are the Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Selkirk Rex, and LaPerm. You’ll learn more about these and a few others in this article.
1. Cornish Rex Breed
This breed has soft, curly hair mimicking Old Hollywood’s famous “Marcel waves”. The curls are short and fine, causing minimal shedding.
The muscular Cornish Rex originated in 1950 England. It came about when British domestic short-hair, Siamese, and Burmese cats were bred with the wavy-coated kittens of the famous cat, Kallibunker.
Cornish Rex cats are known for their velvet-soft coats, long tails, slim figures, and large ears. It’s worth noting that the breed isn’t entirely hypoallergenic. The minimal shedding means they produce allergens that could spark allergic reactions in sensitive people.
2. Devon Rex Breed
The Devon Rex curly-haired cat originated in Devon, England, in the 1950/60s. Considered unusual but very distinctive, its wavy coat varies in pattern and color.
These cats are loved for their spunky personalities and are best suited to equally playful pet parents. They are intelligent, charismatic, and energetic.
They are also highly athletic, balancing play and rest masterfully. You can expect to find them in all kinds of sleeping cat positions.
The main difference between Cornish Rex and Devon Rex is that Devons are Elfin-looking. Do Devon Rex cats shed? Indeed, but very minimally.
- Short, soft, rippled fur
- Large eyes
- Prominent ears
- High cheekbones
3. Selkirk Rex Breed
Selkirk cats originated in Montana, USA, in the 1980s. A Persian breeder mixed the genes of his adopted kitten, Miss DePesto, with a Persian cat. The result was curly-coated kittens.
You’ll probably liken the Selkirk Rex to a teddy bear. Its cute face has curly whiskers, and its fluffy appearance makes it super cuddle-friendly. These cats appear big-boned, with lush, thick, curly hair that varies in color.
Personality traits of the Selkirk Rex curly-haired cat include being highly affectionate. If you love snuggles, this is your cat.
Genetically, single-copy variants exhibit looser hair, while double-copies produce tighter curls. Do Selkirk Rex cats shed? Yes, very moderately. The longer the coat, the more prominent the waves.
Important Note: These cats are kidney disease-prone, making monitoring and testing vital.
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4. LaPerm Breed
Another 1980s beauty is the LaPerm, originating in the USA. This sweet, fun-loving breed came to be when a farm owner started selectively breeding her curly-haired barn cats.
Standard LaPerm cat characteristics include soft perm-like waves and a signature parting running down their back. Their varying curls make these cats special: from long corkscrews to tight ringlets.
Their coat’s curl pattern and density will likely change over their lifetime, making it entertaining to watch their evolution. Short-hair LaPerms have what’s considered a “bottlebrush” tail. Long-hair LaPerms have curly tails with a bubbly, full appearance.
5. German Rex Breed
German Rexes are rare. They first originated in the 1950s, with further breeding in the 1980s. Their coat is wavy, velvety, and short. Just like Selkirk cats, German Rexes have curly whiskers, giving them a sometimes comical yet distinguished face.
This small-headed German cat breed is most noticeable by its double combo of oversized eyes and ears, making it uniquely appealing.
The International Cat Federation regards German Rexes as one of the best cat breeds because they are loving and connected. They are moderate in activity but very athletic and intelligent.
6. Ural Rex Breed
The oddly-named fuzzy Ural Rex breed originates from Russia and is a relatively new feline breed. Its peculiar type of coat curl is unlike any other Rex genetic variants. This makes it a rare and special Rex to have.
The World Cat Federation (WCF) in Germany first recognized the Ural Rex breed in 2006.
They have gentle, silky-soft, tight, curly fur. Common mostly in their home country, Ural Rex cats are best known and much-loved for their sweet personalities.
They are playful, well-mannered, temperate cats that aren’t troublesome. Their oversized eyes are a prominent facial feature.
7. Tennessee Rex Breed
There are no prizes for guessing these cats originate from Tennessee, USA. With the TICA recognition only coming in 2004, this feline breed is reasonably new. They have luscious, generous curls.
These cats are born with a gleaming curly coat with fur as soft and shiny as satin. Most are a color variation of orange. They can grow quite large and need enough room to play and sleep.
They are friendly, lovable, and grow quite attached to their humans. The appreciable thing about them is that they aren’t a demanding breed of cats.
8. Tasman Manx Breed
The Tasman Manx lives up to its unusual name by having one prominent absence; it’s tailless. Well, let me clarify that further. Many Tasman Manx cats, like their Manx cat cousins, have no tail (called “rumpy” in cat breeding), but some feature a tail-like stump.
This curly-coated breed is an Australian variant but is also found in New Zealand. Befittingly, it’s named after the Tasman Sea. You’ll recognize a Tasman Manx by its coiled whiskers and rippled, soft coat.
The New Zealand Cat Fancy, a large national body of cat clubs and members, recognized the Tasman Manx. They are loved for being fun and low-maintenance.
9. Skookum Breed
The breed names are getting stranger, aren’t they? Don’t let that put you off. The TICA-recognized Skookum is a 1990s dwarf cat born from a curious cross between short-legged Munchkin cats and curly-haired LaPerms.
The single-or-multi-colored Skookums are a triple threat of curly cuteness: curly coats, eyebrows, and whiskers. They are active and adventurous when they want to but calm and cuddly at times as well.
Similar to the Munchkin breed, this is not a popular cat to have because of the controversy surrounding its breeding. Some ethical issues regarding mobility and health concerns are linked to these breeds and their crosses.
The International Cat Federation (also known as the Fédération Internationale Féline or FIFé) and other cat registries do not approve of breeding Munchkins.
10. Oregon Rex Breed
Sadly, the Oregon Rex cat breed is extinct. Although no more, it’s still worth knowing about these stunning cats. They originated in Oregon, USA, in the 1950s but disappeared two decades later in the 1970s because of breeding with the Cornish Rex.
Best known for their stubborn nature, Oregon Rexes were reported as a difficult type of cat to have in the home. But they were beautiful creatures, usually multi-colored with a short, curly coat featuring tight curls.
Characteristics included their lightening athleticism (due to their muscular builds), small, round heads, large ears, and piercing eyes.
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Curly Hair Cat Breeds | Tips
Caring for your cat with curly hair shouldn’t induce stress or anxiety. Know what to look out for regarding different coat textures and lengths. As an ailurophile (cat lover), I know you want to ensure your kitty is happy and healthy.
These simple tips will help keep your cat’s curly coat in mint condition:
- Invest in the right grooming products for short and long hair. Use effective shampoos and conditioners to prevent common cat hair problems like ringworm. Also, remember regular veterinarian check-ups.
- If your curly kind is a sparse-haired cat, don’t panic. Some breeds lack an undercoat naturally. They risk more sunburn, so limit their outdoor time during extreme heat.
- Regular, gentle brushing reduces shedding. Brush your cat’s coat weekly to distribute its natural oils, promote healthy skin, and remove loose fur.
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Most Frequently Asked Question about Cats with Curly Hair
Do curly-haired cats shed?
Yes. If you prefer a low-shedding cat, opt for a short-hair breed. Rex breeds experience minimal shedding. Brush up on some notes about when cats shed the most and stay ahead of the furballs.
Curly Cat Breeds | The Wrap-up
Curly-haired cats are super lovable, like all others. Knowing how to look after them eliminates worrying about problems like shedding. Finding the right one for you means understanding different breed characteristics and knowing what to expect.
I hope you’ve got a good sense of the basics for each curly hair cat breed and that you’re ready to adopt your next fur baby. If not, that’s okay too. Having new information and broadening your overall cat knowledge is still valuable.
Keep the learning going. Check out this article about cat breeds with short legs. You’ll be surprised and tickled by all the short-legged cuteness that awaits.