What happens when you combine a unique look with an open-minded personality and add a touch of cat charm? You get a really amazing breed of cats: the Cornish Rex.
The Cornish Rex began in England, where a barn cat named Serena gave birth to a litter of kittens in 1950. Serena lived on a farm in Bodmin Moor, a granite bog in northeast Cornwall. Her owner, Nina Ennismore, noticed that a unique kitten stood out among the other babies. He had tight rows of curly cream hair and looked a bit like a lamb. Ennismore called the kitten the Kallibunker.
As the Kallibunker grew, its appearance became even more unusual. He had a slender body with fine bones, long legs, a narrow head and huge bat-like ears. While Ennismore thought Kallibunker was unique, she wasn’t exactly sure how special he was. When she took him to her vet for neutering, the vet instead recommended that she consult with a well-known British geneticist named AC Jude about this unusual cat. After seeing Kallibunker, Jude discovered that the cat represented a previously invisible genetic mutation. He recommended Ennismore breed kallibunker back to his mother in order to produce more kittens with that unique look. The result of this breeding was successful: Serena produced more curly kittens.
In an attempt to expand this gene pool, Ennismore bred Kallibunkers offspring with Burmese, Siamese and British shorthair cats. These breedings showed that the curly coat gene observed in Kallibunker was recessive and that breeding two curly cats together produced only curly coat kittens.
In 1956, Life magazine published an article on Kallibunker that featured pictures of him and one of his curly kittens. This brought the new breed to prominence, and a year later an American breeder imported two “Rex” cats, as they were then called, to the United States.
This is how the story of the Rex cat began in America. By 1962, the Cat Fanciers’ Association began registering the breed. Years later, in 1984, the breed name was changed to Cornish Rex to differentiate it from the related Devon Rex cat, another curly breed with a similar history.
When it comes to extraordinary looks, the Cornish Rex is hard to beat. The breed differs from other cats in its extremely soft, wavy fur and its “racy” body type.
“They are known as the greyhounds of the cat’s imagination and are very sophisticated,” says breeder Bob Baratto in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. “They have large bell ears, an arched back and a wavy coating from head to tail.”
Cornish Rex are surprisingly heavy for a cat with such a lithe body. They feel warm too. That’s good because they like to be treated. In fact, their open-minded personalities are one reason the breed is so popular with cat lovers.
“The Cornish Rex is a very interactive animal,” says Bob. “You are loving, curious and intelligent. They adapt to any home as long as they are not alone all day. “
The variety of colors and patterns in the Cornish Rex is another more attractive feature of the breed. Solid Cornish Rexes can be found in pure white; dense, coal black; Light Blue; deep, bright red; Buff cream; rich, warm, chocolate brown; and rich lavender with pink tones.
Cornish Rex cats are also available in chinchilla silver and shaded silver colors, as well as smoke colors like black smoke, blue smoke, and tortoiseshell smoke. You will also see Cornish Rexes in tabby, patched tabby, calico, bicolors, and pointy markings.
The Cornish Rex is one of the most unique and special breeds in the feline imagination. These friendly, cuddly cats are wonderful companions.