Cornish Rex


Introduction

The Cornish Rex is a delightful cat and one that boasts a playful, affectionate nature. They are small to medium in size and have a very unusual crinkly coat, wide head and lovely, curly whiskers. They are known to be extremely intelligent with a bit of a mischievous streak in them and they retain their kitten-like traits well into their senior years. Many owners say that sharing a home with a Cornish Rex is like living with a dog, thanks to the fact their feline friends follow them about from room to room and love nothing more than retrieving toys.


History

The Cornish Rex is a relative newcomer to the cat scene having first been bred in the 1950s in a small village in Cornwall. They are a result of what is known as a spontaneous natural mutation. This mutation occurred in non-pedigree cats owned by two ladies that produced a litter of kittens, one of which had a curly coat and crinkly whiskers. The ladies called the kitten Kallibunker and he was to become the first ever Cornish Rex cat.

However, nobody knew which male cat sired the litter, but there is some thought that it could have been a short-haired red tabby that was related to the mother. The gene responsible for the mutation is recessive, as such it only appears when two related cats mate and they have to be very closely related for the mutation to occur. The Cornish Rex was accepted as a breed in its own right in the late 1960s when these extraordinary cats gained recognition with the GCCF.

Today, these charming cats are known the world over and have found their way in the hearts and homes of many cat lovers for good reason. The Cornish Rex is not only an extraordinary looking cat, but they are extremely intelligent, loyal and affectionate too which in short means they are the perfect companion and family pet.


Appearance

The Cornish Rex is a small to medium size cat that boasts a rather unique appearance thanks not only to their body shape, but to their very different coats too. They are extremely athletic looking and with their long back legs, are more than capable of jumping to great heights. They have wide, wedge-shaped heads and very high cheekbones that narrow gently to a nicely rounded muzzle. They have firm chins and large, wide ears set high on the head. Their ears are nicely rounded at the tips which adds to their endearing looks. When seen in profile, the Cornish Rex appears to have quite a flat skull that curves a little at the brow before continuing in a straight line right to the tip of a cat's nose.

They have medium size, oval-shaped eyes that boast having a slight slant which gives them a unique sultry look about them. Their necks are elegant and their bodies are slender, muscular and moderately long. They have very slender, long legs which gives them the appearance of being tall. Paws are oval-shaped and on the small side. The Cornish has a long, fine tail that tapers to the tip. Tails are nicely covered in wavy hair its full length.

When it comes to their coat, the Cornish Rex boasts having quite a unique wavy coat that's short, silky to the touch and dense without any guard hairs. The hair all over their bodies can consist of curls, waves or ripples which is particularly evident on a cat's back and on their sides. The hair on their head, neck, over their shoulders and on their legs is often too short to show any sort of wave or curl, but their whiskers and eyebrows are always curly or crinkly and they can be quite long. The Cornish Rex only grows their full coats when they are around three years old which is when they really look their best.

The Cornish Rex can be just about any colour and they can have many pattern combinations in their coats which is acceptable under their GCCF breed standard and this includes the following as well as many others:

  • Bicolour
  • Tortoiseshell

Temperament

The Cornish Rex is as aristocratic in nature as they are in looks and although they look quite dainty and fragile, they are in fact, quite sturdy and robust cats. They also boast having a ton of energy and love nothing more than to be kept busy by playing interactive games with people. The Cornish Rex is a highly intelligent cat and as such they need to be given the right amount of stimulation for them to be truly happy. They have an athletic build which means they are agile on their feet and love nothing more than to be up high so they can look down on the world below.

The Cornish Rex forms very strong bonds with their owners and thrive on human company. They are not very talkative, but are quick to let an owner know something using their body language. They also like to use their paws to catch things and are excellent when it comes to retrieving objects and toys. They are also very good at knocking a ball around the room with their front paws which is another game the Cornish really enjoys playing in between their catnaps.

They don't like being left on their own for very long as such they are best suited to families where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out. They also feel the cold which means they are drawn to any heat source when they feel chilly and this includes an owner's lap as soon as they sit down which is another of their endearing traits.


Intelligence

The Cornish Rex is a highly intelligent cat and one that forms very strong bonds with their families. They thrive on human contact and love being around people. Being so smart, they learn new things extremely quickly and this includes games like fetching toys and then waiting for them to be thrown again, very much like a dog. In fact, they are often referred to as being quite dog-like in certain of their behaviours which often sees a Cornish following a loved one around the house and cuddling up to them as soon as they sit down.

If a Cornish is left on their own for too long, they quickly get bored which can see them developing a few destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving their boredome and any stress they may be experiencing.


Children and Other Pets

The Cornish Rex with their outgoing, affectionate and loyal personalities is the perfect choice for families with children. They are quick on their feet and therefore know when to get out of the reach of smaller children when they get too boisterous or loud. However, all young children need to be taught how to behave around cats and any interaction should always be well supervised by an adult.

They also get on well with dogs as long as they are good around cats, that is. However, care has to be taken when introducing a Cornish Rex to dogs they don't already know just in case the dog does not get on with their feline counterparts. When it comes to small animals and pets, it's always wiser to keep a close eye on any cat when they are around smaller pets, just in case.


Health

The average life expectancy of a Cornish Rex is between 12 and 16 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.

The Cornish Rex is known to suffer from few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these playful and fun-loving cats. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:

It's also important to make sure a Cornish Rex does not get sunburnt during the warmer summer months.


Caring for a Cornish Rex

The Cornish Rex needs to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. On top of this, they need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives which is especially true of kittens and older cats when they reach their golden years.


Grooming

The Cornish Rex boasts having a short, dense close lying wavy coat and as such they are low maintenance on the grooming front. A weekly brush all it takes to keep their coats in good condition. It's all too easy to "over-groom" a Cornish Rex which could end up damaging their fragile coats which is something owners need to bear in mind. Like many other breeds, they tend to shed the most in the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent brushing is usually necessary to keep on top of things. However, some Cornish shed more than others throughout the year and other hardly at all.

It's also important to check a cat's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections. Cats often suffer from ear mites which can be a real problem which is why it's so important to check their ears on a regular basis.


Energy Levels/Playfulness

The Cornish Rex is a high energy cat and as such they need to be given lots of things to play with. However, they also need lots of attention and will follow an owner around the house not only to check what they are doing, but also so they have company.

Cats kept as indoor pets need to be given lots of things to do and places to hide when they want to, bearing in mind that the Cornish Rex loves to climb up as high as they can so they can look down on the world below. They also need to have lots of places they can snuggle up for a snooze when the mood takes them because if there is one thing the Cornish loves doing, it's napping in a cosy spot throughout the day, bearing in mind that they do feel the cold.


Feeding

If you get a Cornish Rex kitten from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same kitten food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a kitten's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.

Older cats are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature cat several times a day making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements which is especially important as cats get older. It's also essential to keep an eye on a cat's weight because if they start to put on too much, it can have a serious impact on their overall health and wellbeing. Like all other breeds, the Cornish Rex needs free access to fresh, clean water at all times.


Average Cost to keep/care for a Cornish Rex

If you are looking to buy a Cornish Rex, you would need to pay anything from £300 to well over £500 for a well-bred pedigree kitten. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Cornish Rex in northern England would be £15.64 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £25.17 a month (quote as of Sept 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a cat's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.

When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a cat’s life. This would set you back between £15 - £20 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Cornish Red and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a cat when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £500 a year.

As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Cornish Rex would be between £30 to £50 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your cat, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred kitten.


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