Can cats have curly hair? Although an uncommon trait, cats can have curly hair. We have listed down 4 naturally curly-haired cat breeds to prove it. Read on to learn and understand how they were able to grow such a unique coat.
Naturally Curly-Haired Cat Breed #4: Devon Rex
A curly cat with a pixie-like appearance, the Devon Rex is a sight to see. She has dense fur covering her ears, tail, legs, and face, as well as the back and sides of her body.
On the other hand, the areas on her belly, chest, neck, and the top of her head have shorter hair growth.
It was initially thought that the Devon Rex shared the same spontaneous genetic mutation with the Cornish Rex, which led both breeds to sport curly hair.
However, breeders discovered later on that the mutations occurred separately in each breed. Thus, the Devon Rex was classified as Gene II Rex, whilst her Cornish cousin was referred to as Gene I Rex.
Since we have touched on genetics, let us answer the question: “Do all Devon Rex Cats have curly hair?”
Not all Devon Rex cats are born with curly hair since the genes causing their unique coat are recessive. Only kittens that inherited both recessive genes will develop curly coats.
As a family pet, the Devon Rex is a social butterfly with plenty of love to share. This breed of cat with curly hair goes out of her way to make friends with humans and other furry pals.
She is also highly intelligent, which makes her easily trainable for various things such as fetching toys and walking on a lead and harness.
Naturally Curly-Haired Cat Breed #3:Cornish Rex
What breed of cat has curly hair? The Cornish Rex is one of the cats with curly hair. Unlike most cats, she does not have guard hairs and only possesses a silky soft curly undercoat, which is referred to as marcel waves.
A recessive natural gene mutation caused the lack of guard hairs on this curly-haired cat.
Researchers found out that the Cornish Rex with the mutated gene cannot synthesise LPAR6, which is a protein that is responsible for the healthy growth of guard hairs in straight-coated felines.
Many cat lovers often mistake the Cornish Rex for the Devon Rex or vice versa because of their close similarity in appearance. One can distinguish each breed from the other through their physical traits.
Cornish Rex Cats are curly cats with slender and taller bodies compared to the Devon Rex Cats.
Most importantly, although both breeds have curls, the Cornish Rex has an incredibly finer coat than the Devon Rex. And sometimes, she may even grow curly whiskers.
Having a Cornish Rex as your feline friend will liven up your life because of her outgoing and adventurous personality. She enjoys getting involved in everything that you do.
Her high intelligence makes her prone to mischief, but this can be remedied by engaging her in mind-stimulating games and teaching her to learn tricks and commands.
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Naturally Curly-Haired Cat Breed #2: LaPerm
The LaPerm is named after the human perm hairstyle because of her unique coat. Tight ringlets of fur form around her ears, neck, and stomach, whilst the rest of her body is covered in soft curly hair.
The occurrence of a spontaneous dominant genetic mutation resulted in the development of the breed’s coat. LaPerms only need to inherit 1 mutated gene from their parents to have a curly coat.
Interestingly, this curly-haired cat breed goes through phases of baldness during kittenhood before permanently sporting her eye-catching curly locks. The LaPerm’s coat type comes in 2 varieties: short and wavy or long and curly.
The origins of this curly cat breed began on an Oregon farm in 1982 where a bald kitten was born.
As she gradually matured, she developed curly fur, which caught the attention of her owners, Linda and Richard Koehl. The couple started selectively breeding the cat to produce more curly-haired felines.
As a feline companion, the LaPerm loves to receive tons of attention from her family. She may not be openly affectionate, but she has her way of showing love, such as following her owner from room to room.
This curly cat’s laid-back personality allows her to get along well with children and other pets, including dogs.
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Naturally Curly-Haired Cat Breed #1: Selkirk Rex
Out of the 4 curly-haired cat breeds, the Selkirk Rex grows the longest and densest fur. Her plush coat is a product of natural mutation, much like the fur of other felines included in our list.
Miss DePesto was the progenitor of the Selkirk Rex curly-haired cat breed. She was the only curly cat amongst the litter of normal-furred kittens. A Persian breeder named Jerry Newman brought her home when he caught sight of her unique coat.
Years later, Miss DePesto was bred with a black Persian Cat named PhotoFinish of Deekay. Their mating resulted in the birth of 6 kittens—3 of which have curly hair. They were then used to selectively breed Selkirk Rex Cats.
The majority of the Selkirk Rex kittens are born with curly fur. But oddly enough, they start to grow sparse, straight hair when they reach 6 months of age. Once young Selkirk Rex kittens have fully matured, they will regain their curls.
However, although the breed is known for her trademark long curly coat, it is common for some Selkirk Rex Cats to sport short hair. Others may even develop straight coats.
When owning a Selkirk Rex, be prepared to give her plenty of love since she thrives on being the centre of attention.
Despite her vivacious and clownish nature, she rarely gets into mischief. With that being said, it is still important to provide the Selkirk Rex with toys, so she does not experience boredom.
Most-Asked Questions About Curly-Haired Cat Breeds
Do curly hair cats shed?
All felines shed fur, including curly-haired cats, but they do not shed as much as regular domesticated cats. This means cat owners will save time grooming and cleaning loose hairs.
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Are curly-haired cats hypoallergenic?
Curly-haired cats are said to be hypoallergenic, but in truth, they are not. All cats can potentially trigger allergic reactions since they produce the allergen Fel d 1 in their saliva and urine.
With that being said, curly cats might be less likely to cause allergies since they shed less fur.
How to groom a curly-haired cat?
Curly-haired cats with dense furs, such as the LaPerm and Selkirk Rex, need brushing at least 2–3 times a week.
Make sure to include areas on the neck, legs, and stomach since they are prone to matting. Always brush in the direction of the fur to avoid causing an unpleasant sensation on your curly cat.
On the other hand, curly-haired cats with finer hair like the Cornish Rex and Devon Rex should be brushed once or twice a week.
Use a soft bristle brush to avoid causing abrasions on their skin. Because of their thin fur, they must be kept indoors most of the time to prevent sunburns.
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How common are curly-haired cats?
Curly-haired cats are very rare; hence there are only 4 existing breeds. However, certain types of domestic cats, such as Maine Coons and Persian Cats, may develop curly hair because they can be carriers of the curly coat gene.
How much is a curly hair cat?
The rarity of curly-haired cats makes them expensive felines to own. Curly-haired cat prices may range from £400 to over £1000 depending on the curly-haired cat breeders you purchase from.
When in search of a curly-haired cat for sale, be vigilant of scammers and shady breeders. They tend to place a hefty price tag on sickly and poorly bred kittens. Some may even trick you into buying a non-curly cat.
For this reason, always seek trustworthy cat breeder referrals from the vet or close friends. You can also try looking for curly cats in animal shelters or rehoming centres, which need a happy forever home.