Cornish rex

A hypoallergenic breed with curly hair, just like the one Devon Rexes have. It is an active and curios cat with strong health.

Energy level
Level of affection
Level of friendliness
female: 2—4 kg
male: 4—5 kg
female: 23—27 cm
male: 23—27 cm
require average time
Gives birth to
Gives birth to:
4—5 kittens
United Kingdom
in 1983
Life span
Life span:
14—16 years


Cornish Rexes are active cats. They will not sit in one place or lay close to the owner all day long. These pets like investigating everything around them. They can play and run around all day long without getting tired. There is no place in the house where cats of this breed would not be able to get into. Cupboards, shelves, boxes and sofas are their favourite places. Any thing is a toy for a Cornish Rex. They might break vases, souvenirs and other things. That is why you should get a lot of toys for these pets. These facts should be taken into consideration before purchasing the cat. Cornish Rexes are not for people looking for calm pets.

Interaction with people is very important for cats of this breed. If Cornish Rexes do not get enough attention, they behave intrusively: walk between your legs, jump on hands and meow a lot. Cornish Rexes cannot be left alone for a long time. It affects their health. Meanwhile, these pets treat strangers with suspicion. If guests come to the house — Cornish Rexes need time to get used to this fact and to understand whether new people are dangerous or not.

Cornish Rexes get on well with other cats and dogs. They are sociable and friendly. Being dominant and aggressive is not about cats of this breed. They behave the same way with children. Even if a kid accidentally hurts the cat — it will simply run away. One more thing you should take into consideration is cat`s hunter instincts. Cornish Rexes like hunting for decorative animals.


Cornish Rexes are of medium size. Their body is thin, but muscular, and with strong bones. There are 2 types of Cornish Rexes: American and English. Pets from the USA are more elegant and lighter in weight: they weight from 3 to 4 kg.
Hypoallergenic, short, guard hair is absent. It is wavy, feels soft when touched, lays closely to the body.
Any colors and patterns are acceptable. Popular colors include: black, creamy, red, white, blue and chocolate.
American Cornish Rexes have egg-shaped head, English ones — triangular-shaped head. The skull is convex and wide.
Big, oval-shaped, wide-set, their color depends on the one of the coat.
Big and wide, triangular-shaped, with curved tips.
Long, with well-developed muscles.
Thin, with strong bones.
Long and thin.

Basic Care

Despite having short hair, Cornish Rexes need much time to be groomed. They need to be brushed twice a week, with a soft-toothed comb. Cats of this breed molt unnoticeably. 

It is important to take good care of skin of Cornish Rexes. Because they do not have guard hair, their skin produces much fat, which causes allergies and irritation. That is why Cornish Rexes need to be given a bath every day, using soft shampoos. Then wipe your pet with a towel so that it does not get sick. It is important to keep the cat away from wind drafts. Wipe your pet`s eyes and ears every day, using cotton pads soaked in tea leaves. Their teeth should be cleaned once a month, using a zoo-paste and a special brush. Because of structure of their paws, Cornish Rexes do not hide claws. That is why they get trimmed on their own. However, it is better to get your cat a claw point, so that it does not damage furniture and wallpapers.

Cornish Rexes like eating because they tend to spend much energy. Their diet needs to be controlled so that obesity does not develop. They can be fed with either dry or natural food. However, they cannot be mixed into one portion. Dry food of premium quality contains vitamins and minerals, needed for pet`s health. Such natural ingredients can be given to Cornish Rexes: not greasy meat — beef, rabbit meat and chicken breasts; grains — oatmeal, rice and buckwheat; vegetables — carrot, cauliflower, pumpkin, tomatoes, cucumbers and greens; fat free dairy products — cottage cheese, sour cream and kefir. Kittens under the age of 6 months need to eat 5 times a day, under 1 year — 3 times a day, then — twice a day (in the morning and in the evening, preferably at the same time). Dry and natural food cannot be mixed into one portion. A kitten needs to eat only one type of feeding.

For comfortable life, Cornish Rexes need much space and interaction with people. They need to live only inside. Cat`s short hair should be taken into consideration. Cornish Rexes are very sensitive to heat and coldness. That is why it is crucial to make sure there are no wind drafts in the house, and that the temperature is fine.

Health and Illnesses

Cornish Rexes can live up to 16 years if treated well. Their health is strong. Few hereditary health issues are present in representatives of the breed. In most cases, they suffer from acquired disorders.

Hypokalemia is a lack of potassium in cat’s blood. Most potassium is found in cells of the body. The rest of potassium is in the blood. By interacting, cells perform an important function: they form muscle fibers. But because of a decrease in their level, tone of cat`s muscles gets disturbed, and the pet starts feeling weak. Sometimes, it stops being able to walk. The disease can be medically treated. The pet needs to be given vitamin complexes with a high level of potassium.

Hyperplasia develops because of incorrect secretion of sebum. Because of this, pet’s coat structure gets damaged. Fungus and bacteria appear. There are many factors that might lead to hyperplasia: from hormonal disruption to poor nutrition. If you notice any symptoms of the disorder on pet`s skin, you should take it to a vet.
Retinal atrophy is a hereditary pathology that leads to blindness. Atrophy damages structure of the retina: photoreceptor cells, that process light rays, die out. It is impossible to cure retinal atrophy.

Because of well-developed appetite, Cornish Rexes suffer from obesity, which leads to disrupted metabolism. That is why it is important to control your pet`s diet: do not overfeed it, and give it food at the same time every day.

History of the Breed

Cornish Rexes appeared as a result of a random mutation. In the middle of the 20th century, an English farmer, named Nina Ennismore, kept a pregnant cat of an unknown breed. Eventually, she successfully gave birth. However, one of the kittens looked unusual: it had long ears, slim body, head in a shape of a wedge, and wavy hair. Other kittens were large, had long hair and a rounded head. When the kitten became older, Nina named him Calibunker.

Once, she decided to castrate her cat, having no idea how unique it was. Luckily, the vet knew genetics. Having noticed Calibunker, he understood, that it was an establisher of a new breed. Following his advice, Nina consulted cat breeders: Stirling-Webb and Christopher Jub. They confirmed vet`s assumptions. They suggested to wait until the cat grows up in order to check how resistant is the mutation. While Mrs. Ennismore was waiting, she renamed the cat to «Cornish Rex». «Cornish» is a reference to the territory where the kitten was born. It was also called Rex because Nina`s aunt kept Astrex rabbits.

Having waited for half a year, Nina crossbred her cat with its mother. As a result, 3 kittens were born: 2 of them inherited the mutation, and one kitten died. One of the kittens was named Poldu. Nina continued breeding her cat with 2 kittens: Poldu and a shorthair cat. 60% of newborn kittens inherited the mutation. It confirmed the dominance of mutational genes. That is when development of the breed stopped. Six years later, one of the breeders bought the last kitten Nina had. Its name was Sham Payne Charlie. He continued developing the breed, crossbreeding his cat with representatives of other breeds.

In 1957, Cornish Rexes appeared in the USA, starting the development of American type of the breed. For development of the breed, they were crossbred with Siamese, Burmese and American Shorthair cats. It made the range of coat colors of Cornish Rexes more variable. In 1983, all felinological associations officially registered the breed. Nowadays, it is forbidden to crossbreed Cornish Rexes with cats of other breeds.