Those “Kinky” Cats!

Editor’s note:  With all the emphasis being placed on felines with curly coats, we thought we’d share this article:

Those Kinky Cats
by Tracy Petty

Mutations can cause all sorts of changes in cats, just like in other animals. When someone with some knowledge of genetics spots a mutation that they think is interesting, they might develop it, test that it is not harmful, and eventually, that mutation may become the basis for a new breed.

That’s what happened to create six varieties of “kinky cats.” Each of these breeds were developed from separate gene mutations which affected the coat of the offspring. None of these breeds have any known relation to one another; they are all separate mutations occurring at different times and places, but each was carefully bred to make these wonderful and interesting breeds.

Cornish Rex

First found in 1950 in Cornwall, England, the Cornish Rex coat is short, soft, and wavy. While most cats have three layers to their coat, Cornish Rex have only the very shortest “down” layer. For most cats, this layer is hidden amongst the longer layers of hair as an insulating layer. Without guard hairs, the Cornish Rex coat is extremely soft and warm to the touch. The curly coat should lay down in waves, resembling the old-time Marcel wave hairstyles. Cornish Rex are very athletic cats, with long legs and sleek, muscular bodies. They are very active and extremely friendly, and can jump quite high — especially for toys!

Devon Rexdevon rex

Also discovered in England less than a decade later, the Devon Rex mutation was originally thought to be the same as the Cornish Rex, but test breedings quickly proved that this was a different mutation entirely. The Devon Rex coat is also soft and curly, but includes the “awn”, or second layer of coat. The awn hair is only slightly longer than the down hair, but often does not lay in waves close to thebody. Rather, it can form loose Marcel waves or be more free-form waves all over the cat. The head of the Devon Rex has a pixie-like appearance with high cheek bones and very large, wide-set ears. They are extremely loving, people-oriented cats and like the Cornish Rex, their short coats mean minimal shedding and very little coat maintenance.

American Wirehairwirehair

First discovered in the mid-1960s, the American Wirehair is very unique and distinct from any of the Rex breeds. Unlike the Cornish and Devon Rex, the American Wirehair’s curl is in the guard hairs, the longest, outer layer of coat. This is the layer that is meant to protect cats from the elements more than insulate, so it has a harder feel, and thus a completely different texture to the curl. As the name Wirehair implies, this is a coarser, tightly curled coat and it does not lay down in waves, but forms a plush layer of hair around the entire cat. Following a body style similar to the American Shorthair, they don’t have the other-worldly look of the Cornish and Devon Rex, and have a quieter, more reserved demeanor, while still being very affectionate and playful.

Selkirk RexSelkirk Rex

Another American mutation first found in 1987 in Montana is the Selkirk Rex. Like the American Wirehair, the Selkirk curl is in the outer guard hairs, but the coat is soft rather than wired. The curls tend to be large and loosely organized, sometimes gathering in “ringlets” in both the long haired and short haired variety of Selkirk. Several heavy-boned breeds were used to develop the Selkirk Rex breed, so this is a broad, substantial cat with a round head and large, expressive eyes. It is a gentle, patient, and loving breed which requires minimal grooming, as excessive brushing or bathing may relax the curl.

LaPermLaPerm

While a completely separate mutation from other other curly breeds, the LaPerm has taken bits and pieces from the others and formed a unique look and feel. The first LaPerms were found in Oregon in the early ’80s, but were not developed into a breed for nearly a decade after that. Like the Selkirk Rex, LaPerms can be either long haired or short haired, and have a coat texture that is not as soft as the Rex breeds but not as coarse as a Wirehair. It has a more rippled texture, sometimes laying in waves, or ringlets, or even corkscrew curls. They have a moderate body style and medium boning, and unlike the other curly breeds, the LaPerm has long flexible whiskers that don’t break off. These are gentle, affectionate cats that are quick to purr and are always ready to be the perfect lap cat whenever a lap should appear.

Sphynxsphinx

While not technically a kinky-coated cat, the Sphynx is certainly the most risqué breed, daring to go bare! The Sphynx mutation causes hairlessness, or near hairlessness, as most will have a bit of very short hair on the face, ears, feet or tail, and may have a very short, fine “peach fuzz” over the body. Their skin is wrinkled, especially on the legs, head and neck area, and while the body may appear smooth, they can suddenly move and send wrinkles cascading down the body. Sphynx have a full midsection as if they’ve perpetually just finished a good meal, and they love to be the center of attention and will do what they have to do to get and hold your attention. Although they require a bit of upkeep and cleaning to remove body oils that would usually be absorbed by a coat, shedding and dander are minimal and so Sphynx are sometimes tolerated by people who are otherwise sensitive to cats.

Meet the Cornish Rex

Cornish RexIn appearance, Cornish Rex cats are a study in curves starting most noticeably with their coat which ideally falls in washboard waves. The coat is very short, lies close to the body and is incredibly soft to the touch, prompting comparisons to cut velvet, karakul lamb, rabbit fur or silk. In fact, it feels like a Cornish Rex coat and nothing else is the same.

Their bodies resemble Greyhounds, with a naturally arched back, large thigh muscles which gives them the opportunity to launch themselves at a moments notice. Their heads are smallish and egg shaped. They possess huge, luminous eyes. No cat has ears like the Cornish Rex and the bigger the better, as long as they are set high on the head.

Cornish RexIn personality, the Cornish Rex is extremely affectionate and people-oriented. They are also active cats whose kitten-like antics last for their lifetime and who can be very inventive in their play. Favorite Cornish Rex games are fetch, catch and even “discus”, in which the cat uses its hand-like paw to pick up and toss a small object. In spite of their sophisticated, elegant appearance, Cornish Rex cats are anything but cool, aloof or dignified. They are perfect pets for the owner who wants active cats to participate in family life.

Learn more about the Cornish Rex…

 

Meet the Colorpoint Shorthair

CPSH-1The Colorpoint Shorthair is a medium sized, svelte, refined cat with long tapering lines, very lithe, but muscular. The ideal is a cat with type identical to the Siamese, but with its own distinct and unique colors. While the color differences set it apart as a unique breed, the purpose of the hybridization was to establish cats identical in type to the Siamese but with separate colors.

CPSH-2Like the Siamese, they should have long, smooth heads resembling a fine wedge and large, wide placed ears that flow into the top of the wedge created by the head. From the side, the profile should be straight from the tip of the nose to the forehead. The graceful body starts with a long, slender neck connected to a tubular, muscled body. Not skinny, the body should be the same width and depth from the shoulders to the hips when viewed from any angle. Completing this elegant body is a long whippy tail which, when viewed overall, is the single element with the most point color on the body of the Colorpoint Shorthair.

Extremely inquisitive, this breed will get into almost anything at least once at any level, a testament to their athleticism and highly developed intelligence.

A joy to watch and an even greater joy to have in one’s life, the graceful and playful Colorpoint Shorthair is an endearing variation of the renowned Siamese.

Learn more about the Colorpoint Shorthair…

 

Meet the Chartreux

Chatreux-1Old as antiquity, the robust and muscular French Chartreux (pronounced: shar trew) is built for survival. Its physical appearance still reflects its ancient origin in the harsh arid cold of mountainous Asia Minor. Its large body mass conserves heat, aided by a dense woolly coat that repels dew and seasonal weather. Small, fur-covered appendages-ears, legs, and tail-prevent heat loss and resist frostbite.

 

The Chartreux is a study in contrasts. Often described as a “potato on toothpicks,” the Chartreux has a robust body, broad shoulders and a deep chest, all complemented by medium short, finely boned legs. The Chartreux is also known for its smile. The rounded head with its softly contoured forehead tapers to a narrowed muzzle. This gives the Chartreux an image of smiling.

Chartreux-2

 

Chartreux are highly communicative. Very active tails, ear movements, ever-changing facial expressions, and a vast repertoire of trills, chirps, and coos speak volumes to the observant owner.

 

Chartreux are named according to the French convention of using the letter of the alphabet assigned to a given year. For example, kittens born during calendar year 2005 have names beginning with the letter A; 2006, B; 2007, C; and so on. The letters K, Q, W, X, Y, Z are not used, so letters repeat every 20 years. As a result, fanciers can tell the age of a Chartreux simply by knowing its name.

 

Learn more about the Chartreux…

 

Meet the Burmilla

Burmilla-1While the Burmilla is the newest breed to grace the cat fancy as a CFA breed, the origin to this breed dates back over 30 years ago, as a cross between a Burmese and a Chinchilla Silver Persian.

The Burmilla is medium sized cat with a muscular yet elegant body. The head is sculptured in appearance, where the rounded top head, nose profile, medium broad muzzle and well-developed chin set the balance. The eyes can be any shade of green and are often greenish gold to yellowish in youth, with the green coming in as they mature.

Burmilla-2 Their distinguishing feature is their sparkling silver coat, and distinctive “make up” lining the nose, lips and eyes. The Burmilla comes in two coat lengths, semi longhair and shorthair.

The Burmilla is an irreverent and independent cat that adores its owner and displays many kitten-like characteristics even into adulthood. Fun loving, yet quiet and gentle, this sweet natured cat gets along well with children and other animals.

Learn more about the Burmilla…

Meet the Burmese

BurmeseThe overall impression of the ideal Burmese would be a cat of medium size with substantial bone structure, good muscular development and a surprising weight for its size.

The facial expression of a Burmese is sweet, innocent and unique among pedigreed cats. It has been said that when the Burmese looks at you, it feels like it is “looking into your soul.”

BurmeseThis little bundle is clothed in a shiny, close-lying coat that feels like satin. The Burmese coat come in four colors: sable, champagne, blue and platinum. Sable is the most common of the four, and is a deep chocolate brown color.

These are the ultimate companion cats. They love being with people, playing with them, and keeping them entertained. They crave close physical contact and are referred to by some breeders as “Velcro cats.” They abhor an empty lap, will follow their humans from room to room, and sleep in bed with them, preferably under the covers, cuddled as close as possible.

Learn more about the Burmese…

The Twelve Days of Catmas, part 1

If you aren’t following us on our Facebook Page, we’ve been sharing the 12 Days of Catmas!  (Yes, traditionally the 12 Days of Christmas happen AFTER December 25, but these are cats, and they don’t follow the rules….  :-)

Here’s our first 6 days:

On the sixth day of Catmas, my true love gave to me:
Dec18-CatmasDay6

Six Maine Coon Cats


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Five Russian Blues


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Four Siamese


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Three Devon Rexes


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Two Orientals


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and a sweet little Somali girl

Meet the British Shorthair

British ShorthairThe British Shorthair, probably the oldest English breed of cat, traces its ancestry back to the domestic cat of Rome. Although first known as the British Blue, due to the breed’s original color, its native country incorporated a wide variety of colors under the term British Shorthair in the 1950’s. CFA also recognizes the British Shorthair in many different colors and patterns.

The British Shorthair is a medium to large cat of compact build, powerful and well balanced. Taking years to mature, British Shorthairs often do not reach full size and development until the age of three.

British ShorthairThe British Shorthair coat is like no other; short and as dense as deep pile carpet. Their coats are another factor that serves them well in English gardens during the winter. No other breed of cat has as dense a coat with more hairs per square inch, than the British Shorthair. Running your fingers through the coat is so pleasurable that breeders often extend this courtesy, when politely asked. Though luxurious to pet, the short coat needs minimal care.

Living with British Shorthairs is relaxing. They are not overly active cats, which is why they are comfortable in apartments as well as houses. With true British reserve, they will wait for an invitation to join you at your side on a couch or chair.

Learn more about the British Shorthair…

Meet the Bombay

BombayThe Bombay originated in the mid-1960s as a hybrid between the Burmese and the American Shorthair.

With its jet black, gleaming coat, gold to copper eyes, solid body and sweet facial expression, the ideal Bombay has an unmistakable look of its own. The Bombay is a medium-size cat, well-balanced, friendly, alert, and outgoing; muscular and having a surprising weight for its size.

BombayBombays are wonderful companions and will sit on your lap hour after hour; they love to be around people. They will follow you wherever you go changing rooms whenever you move. They want to be the center of attention and in the middle of everything.  They are highly intelligent cats that love to play and are easy to train.

The Bombay is one of the easiest breeds to groom and bathe. Since their coats are so short and satiny there is very little shedding. If given a monthly bath, their shedding is almost nonexistent.

Learn more about the Bombay…