The story of the Cornish Rex begins in Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. On July 21, 1950 a tortoiseshell cat named Serena, owned by Mrs. Nina Ennismore gave birth to a litter of five kittens. One red and white coloured kitten in this litter had an unusual curly coat. The kitten was named Kallibunker (Kalli) and was to become the founder of the Cornish Rex breed. Nina's veterinarian suggested she contact geneticist A C Jude. He advised she mate Kallibunker back to his mother. This breeding produced three kittens. One was a straight coated female the other two curly coated males. Sadly, one male died at 7 months of age, the second male named Poldhu (along with Kallibunker) went on to sire further litters.
Due to the gene pool being very small in the 1950s-1960s the Cornish Rex was an endangered breed. They were out crossed to domestics as well as Siamese, Russian Blues, American Shorthairs, British Shorthairs and Havana Browns to create great genetic diversity and a strong, healthy foundation for the breed. In 1956, Life magazine published an article on the Cornish Rex that generated a lot of attention worldwide. The following year Frances Blancheri of California imported Lamorna Cove. She was pregnant by her father Poldhu at the time. She went on to have a litter of 4 kittens...the start of the Cornish Breed in North America.
The Cornish Rex has an outstanding enthusiastic personality. They are highly social cats, not at all reserved, liking to be right in the middle of everything and thrive on attention. They are extremely intelligent, very acrobatic and clownish, and retain their kitten-like personalities throughout their adult life. They are a very lively, energetic breed that loves to play and will entertain themselves for hours. One of their favorite games is Fetch, retrieving toys like a dog, and if no one is available...they will even throw the toy for themselves with their little paws that they use like hands.
Cornish Rex love attention and make wonderful pets, although can be demanding at times. They do not like to be alone for long periods so it is a good idea for them to have a companion if the family works long hours. The Cornish is definitely a lap cat and ANY lap will do, they get along well with other animals and make an ideal children's pet. They are usually quiet, but can express themselves quite well with a pat on the cheek, a kiss on the cheek or a turned back and flip of the tail.
The Cornish Rex has a racy slender, body which stands tall on its legs. Do not be fooled though, while these cats appear fine boned and elegant they are actually hard bodied and muscular for all their dainty appearance. They have a natural arch to their back that matches a tuck-up to their waist that flows into a long tapering tail. The Cornish have dainty oval paws and tend to walk high on their nimble toes. Their head is often said to look like an egg on its side with high cheekbones. They have tall ears that sit high on their head, but not so high as to give it a donkey-like look. Cornish Rex have oval expressive eyes with a slight upward slant and a patrician roman nose.
Of course, the most unique feature of the Cornish Rex is their coat. Unlike most cats, Cornish coats do not have guard hairs and the hair lays in marcel waves that can be tight or loose--they are often compared to a washboard in appearance and to Chenille in touch with its incredibly soft and silky texture. The curls even extend to their whiskers, which are foreshortened and curled. They require little grooming, although they have a tendency to get greasy ears and toes. Females, on an average, weigh 5-7 pounds while males weigh 8-10 pounds. They come in all colors and patterns from pointed to solid to tabbies, with or without white. Their bodies often appear to be warmer to the touch, then the average cat and actually have a slightly higher than normal temperature. They love warm places, be it a heat vent, sunspot, warm lap or under the blankets in bed.
Health Issues Common to Cornish Rex
All pedigreed cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
The Cornish Rex is generally healthy, but his coat offers little protection from the sun's rays, so don't let him bask outdoors. He may also be prone to hereditary baldness. It is always wise to buy from a breeder who provides a written health guarantee.
Pet Insurance for the Cornish Rex
Pet insurance for purebred cats costs more than for mixed breed cats. This is because a purebred cat is more likely than a mixed breed cat to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.
Embrace cat insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which purebred cats are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your cat is when he's a healthy kitten. You can't predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.