United States


  • This curly-haired kitty is affectionate, gentle, and people-loving.
  • It likes human company so much that it does not like being left alone for long.
  • The Selkirk Rex’s dense coat needs frequent brushing and occasional baths to keep it in good condition.
  • This cat is a good choice for families as it interacts well with children and other pets.

This loving feline is cuddly, patient, and tolerant like its Persian ancestor. It is a playful kitty and is outgoing, which is a delightful trait for a cat with an unusual coat that begs to be touched.

A people-loving pet, the Selkirk Rex gets along with other pets and children very well. It likes attention and will act the clown to endear its charms to its humans. It also likes to lounge on laps and speak in its trademark quiet voice. However, it is not talkative and demanding of attention. Due to its fondness for human company, it does not like being left alone for long.

Despite its calm and laid-back ways, it is an intelligent cat that can get into cheeky behaviour. It can learn to work doors and drawers on its own, especially when it is seeking a toy or treat it likes.



The Selkirk is the newest Rex breed to be recognized by the North American cat associations and has been around a relatively short time compared with the Cornish Rex and the Devon Rex. The Selkirk’s development and promotion were due primarily to the efforts of breeder Jeri Newman of the Noface Cattery in Livington, Montana, although many other dedicated breeders lent a hand in furthering the breed. Newman, a Persian breeder for many years, had always been fascinated by cats in general and feline genetics in particular, made it known to friends and family that she was interested in adopting cats that were in any way out of the ordinary. In 1987, the out-of-the-ordinary came to her.

At the For Pet’s Sake Animal Shelter in Sheridan, Montana, run out of the home of animal lover Kitty Garrett Brown, a cat gave birth to a litter of six—five kittens plus one kitten with a curly coat as plush and huggable as a child’s stuffed toy. Peggy Vorrhees of the Bozeman Humane Society of Sheridan, Montana brought the kitten to Jeri Newman because she thought Newman would be interested in the unusual-coated cat. Indeed she was. The blue-cream and white kitten with the alert green eyes and the extraordinary curly coat resembling lamb’s wool caught Newman’s immediate attention.

At an estimated age of ten months, the cat’s whiskers were curly, her ears were full of brillo-like hair, and her coat looked like she’d just had a perm. Newman named the cat Miss DePesto because she was always pestering Newman for attention. When “Pest” came of age, Newman bred her. The mating produced a litter of six, three of which had the distinctive curly coat. Since Newman had studied genetic inheritance, she knew this meant the gene governing the curly coat was dominant—only one parent needed to possess the gene for the trait to appear in at least some of the offspring. That litter also included one straight-haired kitten with long hair. Interesting, Newman thought. Not only did Pest carry the dominant curly-coat gene, but also the recessive gene for long hair, since both parents had to possess at least one copy of the longhair gene to produce longhaired offspring.

Newman named the breed the Selkirk Rex after her stepfather. However, for a time she said the breed was named after the Selkirk Mountains, because they were near where the kittens were born. However, when pointed out to her that the Selkirk Mountains were in British Columbia, she admitted to naming the breed after her stepfather; the Selkirk Rex is the only cat breed named after an individual.

Did You Know?

Did you know cat hair isn’t the cause of reactions by people sensitized to cat allergens? The primary cause is an allergen produced in cats’ saliva.   These allergens are spread to cats’ hair through grooming, which are then shed into the environment.

Appearance & Coat