What Is A Cornish Rex Cat?

If you’re asking “what is a Cornish Rex cat?” You’ve come to the right place. You’ll discover all about this unique breed and what makes them so special, as well as temperament. Whether you’re just curious, or thinking about adopting a Cornish Rex, you’ll find everything you need to know here.

Cornish Rex cats are often confused with Devon Rex, though they’re entirely different breeds. It was in the 1950s that the first Cornish Rex was born. It was at a farm in Cornwall where a tortoiseshell cat gave birth to a very unusual looking kitten with a curly coat.

After mating it back to its mother, more kittens with curly coats were born. From then on, these curly coated cats were bred with a variety of shorthairs, including Siamese and Russian Blue.

Over the years, Cornish Rex have become more popular in America than the UK, and it was Francis Blanceri, who first introduced the breed in 1957.

What do Cornish Rex cats look like?

tortoiseshell cornish rex cat

When you first see a Cornish Rex you’d be forgiven in thinking it was a delicate, fragile cat. However, don’t let that small, slender appearance fool you. Underneath that curly coat is an athletic body, ready to spring into action.

Cornish Rex have a pixie look with their large ears, huge eyes and egg shaped head. The ears are bat-like in shape and a very distinctive feature. In addition, a long whip like tail is used very expressively by the Rex to get their point across!

The eyes are large in proportion to the head and vary in colour from amber, aqua, blue and orange, to green or hazel. Coat colours also vary, with anything from white, cinnamon, cream, blue and lavender, to platinum and black.

In addition, there are variations in coat pattern from a solid colour, to bi and tri colours. Tortoiseshell patterns are also found, and many have points and ticked hair.

If you’re looking for a hypoallergenic breed, this one unfortunately isn’t. Many people assume a short haired cat must be hypoallergenic, but it’s not the fur itself that causes the problem, but dander shed from the skin.

However, if you’re searching for a breed that doesn’t need a lot of grooming, you’re in luck! Despite its permed appearance, the coat doesn’t get matted or shed lots of hair.

The cat with a perm!

curly coated cat

If you touch the coat of a Cornish Rex you’d notice how soft and silky it feels. It lacks guard hairs, and is purely undercoat. Most breeds of cat have an outer coat and undercoat, so the Cornish Rex is certainly unusual.

In fact, when people first became aware of the breed it was nick named Marcel, after the 1940s famous permanent wave. This kitty hasn’t suffered a disastrous perm at the hands of some mad hairdresser though! It’s a result of spontaneous natural mutation, and is how the breed started.

The curly coat lies close to the skin, and one thing you’d need to be aware of is the Cornish Rex’s sensitivity to temperature. In many ways this like the Sphynx, so you’d need to provide warm cozy places for your feline friend to sleep during winter.

Other noticeable features include long slender legs, curved back, and long tail. The tail is very expressive and as with all cats an upright tail means a happy cat.

What is the personality of a Cornish Rex cat?

Many cat lovers have noted the Cornish Rex’s almost dog like personality. Not only does it resemble a greyhound, but needs plenty of exercise as well. If you can’t give your kitty outside access you must provide her with plenty of opportunity for indoor exercise and play.

If you don’t, you may find your Cornish Rex becomes destructive. This cat gets bored easily and needs plenty of mental stimulation to keep busy. If possible you should consider getting two as they’ll keep each other company.

This certainly applies if you go out to work each day. Cornish Rex kitties hate being alone and crave company. Your cat will do anything to be with you, and curl up on your lap as soon as you sit down!

If you need a therapist, this is your cat! She’ll happily spend hours listening intently to every word you say, and even answer back ! Known for their vocal behaviour, Cornish Rex cats aren’t afraid to get their point across!

The large eyes are very expressive and you almost feel this cat can see into your soul. If you love a cat that won’t leave your side and climb into bed with you at night, this is the perfect breed.

What if you have other pets?

As the Cornish Rex is highly sociable you should be fine if you already have other pets. It doesn’t matter whether you have cats or dogs, you’ll probably find they’ll get along with few problems. Always follow a few simple guidelines when introducing a new pet though. This way you’ll have a greater chance of a happy fur family.

You’ll be pleased to hear, the Cornish Rex make ideal playmates for your little ones. Their clownish nature and love of antics provide great entertainment.

It’s important to educate your children on caring for animals, and handling them safely. Pets encourage sensitivity and help develop a nurturing side. This is why getting a pet whether a cat or dog helps with your child’s development.

Can you train a Cornish Rex?

As previously mentioned, these cats are highly intelligent and very sociable. They love to please and will do anything to spend time in your company. Fetch is often a favourite game, so make sure you get a few small stuffed toys.

You can train these cats to do almost anything and they’re fast learners! Once they’ve got the hang of doing something they don’t forget. These mischievous kitties have paws like little hands. So, don’t be surprised to find your cupboard doors being opened! That mystery thief who stole a sock, was probably your cat!

If you want to keep anything out of reach you’ll have to think like a Cornish Rex to keep one step head! Jumping is child’s play, and high shelves easily accessible. If you find your feline friend watching you open cupboard doors, she’s learning!


The Cornish Rex is a healthy cat with few problems that are known about. As it’s been crossed with so many varieties of cat, it’s become stronger. Too much inbreeding tends to develop greater health issues. However, there are certain things you need to be aware of. Due to their highly active nature, you’ll find the Cornish Rex has a healthy appetite.

You won’t need to be overly concerned about your cat gaining weight as her fast metabolism and high energy soon burn off calories. Providing she gets plenty of exercise you’ll have no problems.

Skin problems can occur if you don’t use sunscreen in hot weather. Due to temperature sensitivity, and delicate, soft fur, your Cornish Rex will be at risk from sunburn. Only ever use pet friendly sunscreen and discuss this with the breeder or your vet.

Sadly, many white cats or those with fine downy fur develop skin cancer. Though it can be treated successfully, you don’t want your kitty to suffer a disease that can be prevented.

One other point worth mentioning is that Cornish Rex cats are known to have a sensitivity to some anaesthetics. Should your cat ever need an operation or treatment requiring sedation you should talk to your vet about this.

You can expect a healthy Cornish Rex to live between 11-18 years. Some even make it in their 20s if well cared for. They make wonderful companions, and shower their owners with plenty of love. So it’s only right therefore, they get the best possible care.

Grooming your Cornish Rex

As previously mentioned, this breed is low shedding requiring minimal grooming. However, as the hair is very delicate and fine it breaks easily. As a result, my advice would be to avoid using harsh bristle brushes, but instead use a curry comb. These are soft and rubbery, just right for your cat’s delicate hair.

Using this brush will help stimulate the production of sebum, and give a nice shine to the coat. In addition it will also help maintain that wonderful wavy perm!

The ears are very hard for a Cornish Rex to clean. If you have two of them you may find they clean each others ears. However, there’s no guarantee, so you must do the job yourself. This also gives you chance to inspect them for signs of any problems. Wax can build up inside the ear, and any infection must be treated by a vet.

Claw trimming is another necessity and should be done every couple of weeks. If you’re unsure how to it and afraid of hurting your cat, get your vet to show you. Alternatively, get a pet groomer to do the job for you.

Just like all felines, the Cornish Rex is fastidious about keeping clean. You should never need to bath your cat unless she falls into something smelly!

Is the Cornish Rex the right breed for you?

Now you know what is a Cornish Rex cat and what to expect, you can decide if this breed fits in with your lifestyle. If you want a cat that sleeps most of the time and keeps out of your way, don’t get one!

These cats never leave you alone and want to join in everything you’re doing. From typing to housework, your cat will be there to assist! If you love the attention these cats give and enjoy a close relationship, this may be right for you.

Not everyone likes a cat that’s so demanding, after all most cats are very quiet which is why they fit so well in a busy person’s life.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share. Also, if you have any questions or would like to share your experiences, please leave a comment below.

Wishing you a purrfect day:)


8 thoughts on “What Is A Cornish Rex Cat?”

  1. I’ve never heard of Cornish Rex cat before. By the name of it, I expected a bulky, fluffy cat. But boy was I wrong LOL. This cat looks too cool. I like the curly fur and those huge eyes and ears. And if I have bumped into it in a wild, it would have taken me a few moments to realize that it is a cat! Thanks for sharing this great post.

    • Thank you Ivan:) Yes, the curly fur and huge eyes and ears are very appealing. The Cornish Rex is certainly a very unusual cat! Glad you enjoyed this post:)

  2. I have never seen this breed before. I had a tortoiseshell many years ago.
    I think that many animals are far more intelligent than we give them credit for. I am sure your ordinary cat could be trained too with enough dedication. Would you agree?

    • Thank you for your comment:) There is no specific food for Cornish Rex cats, but it’s always advisable to buy the best you can afford for any breed:)


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