Selkirk Rex Shorthair Cat Breed

Selkirk Rex are a laid-back, relaxed feline that looks like a soft, cuddly stuffed toy that you just want to pick up and cuddle. One of the rexed cat breeds, these cats have a tousled shamble to their thick coats that make them look as though they are having a bad hair day. At times, they are called the cat in sheep's clothing.

The gentle Selkirk Rex can bring a smile to everyone’s face and a warmth to the heart. These medium-sized, plush-coated feline with solid bodies and boning can fill your arms when you help them up for a quick cuddle.

The Shorthaired Selkirk Rex have a thick, plush curl comparable to a teddy bear’s, while their longhair counterpart has a tousled look like a woolly sheep. Laid-back and relaxed, they look like a soft, cute stuffed toy. This cat breed makes an excellent family pet and gets along great with children. 

Selkirk Rex Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

Breed Information

23-28 cm
3-7.5 kg
Life Span:
10-14 years
Affectionate, Easy-going, Comedic, Laidback, Placid
Energy Level:
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Selkirk Rex Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws
  • Grooming: Once a Week 2/10
  • Shedding: Low 2/10
  • Hypoallergenic: Low 2/10
  • Activity Level: Medium 6/10
  • Playfulness: High 10/10
  • Friendliness to other pets: High 10/10
  • Friendliness to children: High 10/10
  • Affection towards it’s owners: High 10/10
  • Vocality: Low 2/10
  • Intelligence: Medium 6/10
  • Independence: High 10/10


In Montana, a feral blue tortie & white cat had an odd-looking kitten in a litter of five in 1987. When the kitten was nine weeks, she came to Jeri Newman's attention, a Persian cat breeder, who took the kitten. She funnily named her Miss DePesto because the kitten was always pestering for attention. Jeri was able to discover that her mother had hair that was not wholly normal either. The mother had a small kink right at the end. The kitten, Miss DePesto, had curly whiskers, brillo hair in her ears, and the coat on her body looked similar to a body wave. She had slanted eyes, a fine muzzle with a strong whisker break, a wide flat spot between her large ears, and prominent cheekbones. Like the Cornish Rex cat, her body was hefty, well-boned and her legs were long.

Jeri recognized that Miss Depesto's littermates all had normal coats and no other curly cats in the area. This leads her to believe that Miss DePesto might be the basis of a new mutant rex gene. Jeri bred Miss DePesto at 14 months of age to her black Persian male Ch. Photo Finish of Deekay. They enthusiastically waited for the kittens, and on July 14, Miss DePesto had a litter of six kittens, of which three were definitely curly. The outcome proved that the gene was dominant, unlike that of the Cornish Rex and Devon Rex, and that Miss DePesto carried longhair variety. In 1990, the International Cat Association accepted the Selkirk Rex into the New Breed program and, in February 1994, recognized it for championship competition.

To preserve their genetic diversity and give the cat breed a more pleasing appearance, she and other cat breeders outcrossed them to Persian cats and American Shorthair, Exotic, and British Shorthair cats. In the 1990s, the American Cat Fanciers Association recognised the cats and by the Cat Fanciers Association in 2000, even though the CFA began registering the cats in 1992. 

Selkirk Rex Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws


Selkirk Rex Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

Selkirk Rex comes in both shorthair and longhair coats. The shorthair variety have a dense, lush curl to their coat that highlights the density of their coat and a resemblance to a teddy-bear; longhair variety, on the other hand, has an even more dishevelled appearance that highlights the resemblance to a woolly sheep. The two hair lengths come in a rainbow of colours. Fortunate pet owners will always have the best coats on their Selkirk Rex cats as coats are seen in their best on mature altered male cats and spayed female cats. Their curls are most visible on their neck, flanks, and undersides. Their dense, plush coat is very soft and falls in loose curls.

This cat breed is a medium to large cat with robust, heavy boning, which gives them an extensive feel, but it takes time to grow to their full maturity. Their head is rounded with large round eyes. Their muscular body is somewhat rectangular, resulting in a firm feel under their soft coat. 


These are affectionate, easy-going felines reflecting the cat breeds' characters used to develop the Selkirk Rex. The British Shorthair cats contributed to their relaxed personality; the Persian cats added their lovable nature, while the Exotic Shorthair cats brought a playfulness to the whole package. Guests are always fascinated by these cats and want to touch their coats, while cat owners have an incredible desire to pick and hug these cats. Fortunately, Selkirk Rex cat is a patient cat that accepts these actions with excellent tolerance.

Thanks to their parent breeds, Selkirk Rex are affectionate, tolerant and patient. They are known to be playful and loves to cuddle. This unique cat breed is not so active; hence, they will not wear you out. They are also not demanding attention but are welcoming to anyone who wants to touch their unusual coat. Selkirk Rex is sweet and attentive to their family. They can get along great with children who treat them with respect and gentleness.

They also have a comical side and is often described as clownish. Selkirk Rex loves being a lap cat and will happily chat with you in a soft, quiet voice to communicate with you. Cat owners love this adorable cat breed because they can entertain themselves even if they are left alone or ignored for long periods of time.

Often seen as laidback, these cats are also smart. You can expect Selkirk Rex to learn how to open cabinets or cupboards looking for toys or treats. Challenge their intelligence by engaging them in following commands, learning new tricks and play a game of fetch. Invest in puzzle and interactive toys to keep them busy. They love treats and kibbles as rewards, so don’t forget to give them one.

Selkirk Rex are also known to be adaptable in any home environment. They can thrive in a one-bedroom apartment or a big house with a big garden. They can also live alone or a part of a bigger pack. All they need is your love and attention, but not being too needy or clingy. They are great feline companions for the elderly and children because they are very gentle and easy to handle pets.

Like other cat breeds, Selkirk Rex enjoys climbing a cat tower. They also enjoy having a window seat to watch birds and people passing by. In addition, they enjoy having a lot of toys such as plastic balls, interactive games, felt mice, laser pointers and feather teasers. 

Selkirk Rex Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws


Selkirk Rex Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

The most vital thing to consider with this cat breed is early socialisation. Remember, this cat is destined to get much attention from different people, even strangers on the street. Everyone desires to get a closer look at their uncommon coat, and many people will touch it without hesitation. To keep your Selkirk Rex cat safe and contented, make sure to prepare them for this kind of centre stage type of life. Luckily, Selkirk Rex are naturally relaxed and peace-loving. Nonetheless, it is still a good idea to support them in building positive connections with different people to prevent stress and unpleasant encounters.

In training your cat, they will jump at the chance to learn basic commands and enjoyable tricks. They have a lot of playful energy, and they will enjoy learning how to walk on a leash and play fetch.

As with any cat breed, it is best to follow your Selkirk Rex cat’s lead. You can use their favourite toys or treats during training and play sessions to keep their attention. Make sure to stay consistent. Selkirk Rex cats may look more silly than serious, but they are intelligent. Without appropriate mental stimulation, this cat breed will do things to keep them busy and amused.

With proper training and socialization at an early age, they will thrive on being a well-mannered and well-rounded feline companion ideal for families, children, the elderly and other pets in the household. 

Coat & Care

Even with their luxurious and thick coat, the Selkirk Rex needs only a little grooming. Weekly good combing is enough to maintain their silky waves. Remember not to use a brush and not to over-combed their delicate fur as it could lead to frizzies.

In bathing your Selkirk Rex, you must not use a thick shampoo that doesn’t rinse well because it will make their fur fall flat. Regular combing will keep your feline’s fur from piling up all over your house because Selkirk Rex does shed moderately, specifically during the summer season when shedding is at its peak.

Remember not to use a brush in grooming the fur of your Selkirk Rex. So, start using a comb that will gently groom their delicate curly fur at an early age. Every after grooming session, don’t forget to reward your cat for behaving well. As they mature and get used to having their curly coat getting combed, you can upgrade your tools to a more age-appropriate comb for their coat needs.

Preferably, brushing their teeth every day is best; but, weekly brushing works well too to help avoid tooth and gum diseases. Keep their nails clean by trimming it twice a month or when needed. For their eyes, keep it clean by wiping the corners of their eyes with a clean, soft, damp cloth to eliminate any dirt or discharge. Make sure to use a separate part of the clean cloth to avoid any risk of eye infection.

Eliminate dirt, debris and wax weekly to make sure that their ears won’t develop any infection. Use a clean cotton ball or a soft, damp cloth and a vet-approved ear cleaner to clean their ears. If it has a foul odour, contact your vet for immediate care and treatment.

Like many other cat breeds, Selkirk Rex is very specific about their bathroom hygiene. So, make sure to keep their litter boxes clean all the times. This will also help keep their fur clean of any dirt and debris from a dirty litter box. If it is left unclean, they tend to develop a behaviour of using other places in the house.

It is also advisable to keep your Selkirk Rex as an indoor-only cat to protect them from diseases they can get from stray cats and other free roaming animals. It will also protect them from being attacked by dogs and other wild animals and other dangers they may encounter when outdoors, such as being hit accidentally by a passing cat. 

Selkirk Rex Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws


Selkirk Rex Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

Selkirk Rex is generally a very healthy cat breed. However, it is recommended that their vaccinations and parasite treatments are up-to-date, and regular vet appointments are scheduled regularly. 

Children & Other Pets

Due to their calm, gentle, and very affectionate nature, Selkirk Rex are excellent for families with children and the elderly. They are perfect for kids as they are very playful and can play fetch with them tirelessly. But, always supervise any interaction with your Selkirk Rex and a child to avoid any mishaps that may happen during play dates and won’t hurt the cat by pulling their fur or twisting their tail. Lastly, they can be lap cats for the elderly and can be wonderful feline companion all day.

Selkirk Rex do well as a single pet or within a pack. They can live harmoniously with other cats, cat-friendly dogs and other pets in the same household. Just make sure to slowly introduce them in controlled environments to make sure that they will go along well. 

Selkirk Rex Shorthair Cat Breed | The Pedigree Paws

Available Selkirk Rex Shorthair Kittens