Cornish Rex 101: The Essential Guide

OriginUnited Kingdom
SizeSmall to Medium
Height           8 to 12 inches
Weight6 to 10 pounds
Life Expectancy11 to 15 years
Breed GroupDomestic Cat
Affection Level⭐⭐⭐
Activity Level⭐⭐⭐
Meowing Level⭐⭐
Pet Friendly⭐⭐⭐
Easy to Groom⭐⭐⭐
Easy to Train⭐⭐⭐


Photo from: enzo_und_remy (IG)

The Cornish Rex was a result of a genetic mutation found on a litter of kittens in the 1950s. This incident can be traced back to a farm in Cornwall, UK. Kallibunker, the first of the Cornish Rex cats ever in history, had an odd appearance regarding his coat. It was curly, fine, and wavy which the owner, Nina Ennismore, did not expect at all. 

This unusual happening led Nina to breed more of Kallibunker’s kind. The peculiar cat was bred back to his mother, a British Shorthair, and this resulted in three more kittens. Two of them carried the recessive genes responsible for the curly coat. Later on, the male named Poldhu sired a female kitten which was eventually brought to the United States to be crossed with the Siamese. This gave the present Cornish Rex his big ears and long whippy tails.

Importing the said cat paved the way to save this cat breed we know of today. This is because Kallibunker and his other offspring almost disappeared from England in the 1950s. The Cornish Rex we admire nowadays has been helped through being crossbred with other more cat breeds such as the Havana Brown and the American Shorthair. 


Photo from: sylvia_and_rexes_ziva_ginger(IG)

Without a doubt, the Cornish Rex has this strikingly unusual but elegant look. At first glance, you might think that this cat just got pampered in a salon because of how his coat suits him perfectly. The body structure is a bit close to a Siamese yet it is his wavy fur that sets the line between these two breeds. 

Regarding his physique, his backbone curves slightly upward following how his underside looks from the side. His delicate impression might make anyone think that he is fragile and bony, but he is actually very athletic! In fact, this cat breed is similar to the Greyhound or the Whippet because of his fast movements and lean, muscly figure. Moreover, this breed is described to have a dancer’s body.

His head is narrowly small paired with two large ears. The facial look is then complemented with a small Roman nose, a tapered chin, and long slender legs. At the endpoint, his tail is long and very flexible.

Coat & Color

The hallmark of the Cornish Rex breed is his odd but fascinating coat that is silky and smooth. While other cat breeds have different types of hairs namely the guard hairs, the middle layer, and the undercoat, the Cornish kitty only has the last one. This is what gives his fur a wavy, almost corn-row-looking appearance. Feeling the fur, as described by many Cornish owners, is like that of a crushed velvet or wool- it is soft, short, and very fine.

The Cornish Rex also comes in a plethora of coat colors including patterns. Here are the ones outlined according to the breed standard:

WhiteClassic Tabby
Black Mackerel
Chocolate Ticked Tabbies
Lilac Tortoiseshell 
CreamSmoke colors

Size & Weight

The size of the Cornish Rex ranges from small to medium. His whimsical look can sometimes trick you into thinking that he weighs less than he would appear, but the moment you lift him, you’ll quickly realize that he is sturdy and hefty. As for the height and weight, it would depend if your Cornish is a male or a female.

Male8 to 10 pounds11 to 14 inches
Female5 to 8 pounds11 to 14 inches


Photo from: catgirlpip (IG)

The Cornish Rex is a true adventure-seeker. He will be in places you would never expect him to be, so cat-proofing your home would deem necessary. This will also prevent him from discovering where his treats are stored and binge when you are not around. 

Cornish Rexes are extremely bright as well. They have quirky and clownish temperaments found to be entertaining by many owners. At times, this breed may exhibit a demanding and vocal attitude especially if he wants something from you. Expect him to remain insistent until you satisfy his needs! Of course, with his suave and charming personality, you will most unlikely be able to ignore his clamors. 

Another exquisite characteristic the Rex possesses that stands out to most cat lovers is that he retains his kitten-like attitude into old age. That means, his clingy and interaction levels will not reduce nor change even if he reaches adulthood.


Photo from: owhl_scottishfold_cornish_rex (IG)

Once the Cornish Rex develops a strong relationship with you, he will try to be more involved in your life. If he sees you chilling on the couch, he’ll sprint and jump to your lap and ask for your gentle pets. Even if you are busy around the kitchen, this Rex will endlessly follow you as if it’s a way of letting you know that he’s there if you need help with the preparation of the meals! 

Moreover, due to his lack of other types of hair, his body is heavily sensitive to cold. He will need lots of warm hugs and, if possible, cat coats to maintain his body heat. It isn’t just the warmth he’d enjoy during this season, but the longer moments he’d get to spend with you.

For some, this quality can be overwhelming and intense, that’s why this cat is not for everyone. If a clingy and affectionate feline is something you highly prefer, the Cornish Rex is your perfect match. Even though this cat is gentle and affectionate, he might not be ideal for anyone who likes to retain the quietness of their homes. Due to his Siamese ancestry, expect him to carry conversations. He is less vocal though and his voice ranges from melodic to dissonant.


Photo from: sonata_cornish_rex (IG)

The Cornish Rex is a social housecat who loves to interact with almost anyone. Generally, he poses no problems if he is with your other house pets or kids. Anyone he considers family automatically makes him a velcro cat! Just be cautious about who you leave your Rex with. Ensure that your kids know how to carefully handle him when they play and the dogs you add to your family are not aggressive and are sociable.

Additionally, his friendly and approachable behavior makes him a good therapy cat. People who are often feeling under stress and anxiety can find a sense of refuge through this tabby’s love for pets and cuddles. For each stroke and time you spend with him, your body releases stress-reducing hormones. Your heart rate and blood pressure start to normalize and your anxiety levels begin to alleviate.

Although this cat is highly social, he can still play on his own. He may be independent at times, but leaving him with no friends to play with for long periods of time is not recommended.

Activity Level

Photo from: jinn.rex (IG)

What most cat owners usually don’t expect from this specific cat breed is his energy level. Unlike the other cats that spend most of their time napping, the Cornish Rex enjoys jumping, running, and playing. He is mostly deemed as inexhaustible as he frequently moves around despite him being such a small package. 

In events or places where it is crowded or noisy, other cats may feel annoyed and distressed except for your Rex who will move through the mob out of curiosity and perhaps enjoy the present frolics. He has an endless reservoir of zest mainly for grabbing his owner’s attention. Through his random activities, his weight is constantly maintained. He’s the “Greyhound” in the cat kingdom due to his speed except that he is not chilled at all.


This cat requires very minimal care thanks to his independent nature and coat type! Of course, that won’t equate to providing him low-quality food, ignoring how he looks or spending less time with him. The basic needs of this feline have to be adequately provided to ensure a healthy relationship with this loyal companion.


Photo from: hades_thecornishrex (IG)

The Rex’s coat is his most noticeable feature and luckily, you won’t have to groom it tediously for he will do most of it by himself. However, his lack of guard hairs can make him oily sometimes, especially on his chin and paws, so regular bathing is essential to reduce the greasiness. 

The interval for his bath depends on your cat. Some may require it weekly while others only need it every few months. Nevertheless, even if he gets wet and clean, bathing is not a horrific experience for the Cornish kitty since his short coat is thin, wavy, and quick to dry. If your Cornish Rex is a kitten, he can begin being accustomed to baths at 16 weeks. Also, keep in mind never to use products that could be harsh for your Rex’s coat. If his skin and hair get too dry, you might be waking up next to a patchy cat with clumps of hair on the blanket.

Brushing must be done every week to remove hair fall. Do so in a gentle manner to avoid balding since his coat is very thin and prone to hair loss. As often as possible, check for any dirt on his ears as well. Wipe them with a damp cloth with a veterinarian-recommended solution to avoid disrupting the interior of the ear. If he likes scratching on your furniture or door, you may trim his nails or purchase him his scratching post.

Food and Diet

Photo from: zafa_rex (IG)

The C-rex’s appetite matches his energy levels which help him maintain his slim physique but don’t make the mistake of giving him free access to food. Even if he acts famished after just getting his usual amount of meal, restrain yourself from giving him more. His great appetite for food will make him gain more weight especially if they are not closely monitored. 

This rule can be changed however if your cat has proven himself capable of controlling himself from consuming too much. It is also a good sign if he continues to be active throughout the day without exhibiting random signs of being a couch potato for the next few days. He can benefit a lot from high-quality cat food so try not to go for bargain ones. You may add a few fruits and veggies too as your vet sees fit.


Photo from: crx_hiili_haamu (IG)

One benefit owners can get from owning a Cornish Rex is that they don’t have to tailor a strict schedule for their cats’ exercise. Cornish Rexes themselves come up with certain activities that will drain their energy! Depending on your preference, you may still opt to accompany him in burning fats as this serves as a way of furthering your bond with your feline. 

Simply avoid letting him off outside without supervision as this can put him at risk. If you live beside the road, he might be hit by speeding cars or attacked by unfamiliar dogs or vicious animals nearby. After all, indoor games are enough to keep him preoccupied. You can be creative with his cat tower and toys so his boredom will not spike. 


Photo from: paavorex (IG)

Packed with high motor skills and high levels of energy and intelligence, your little Cornish carries the right qualities of a trainable cat. The Cornish Rex is usually taught with tricks from basic to more complex ones other cats may not achieve. Some may enjoy playing the game of fetch. He would be able to display his speed for his owner to see and simply pick up what has been thrown as if it’s just a bonus performance. His long toes and dainty, slightly oval paws are capable of picking up random objects conveniently.

Also, this cat can learn how to take verbal cues such as sit, stand, shake, or wave. He can open doors and cabinets too! That would let you know that securing your front door and adding locks on your cupboards is a prerequisite so he won’t be able to sneak inside the food treasury or go out on his own. Another trick he can do is play the piano or vault from high places while landing perfectly on a platform. 

The success of training your Cornish lies in your method of dealing with him. Particularly, he will respond well to positive reinforcements. For every good behavior he shows,  a treat will keep him going!

Health Problems

Photo from: hades_thecornishrex (IG)

This cat’s diverse heritage makes him less vulnerable to many diseases commonly found on other cat breeds granting him at least 15 significant life years. Just as long as you keep him indoors as often as possible, he won’t be able to get any medical conditions from other stray animals which may potentially affect his viability to live longer. 

The Cornish Rex is rock solid thanks to its ancestry composed of the British and American Shorthair, Burmese, Siamese, and Havana Brown. All these cat breeds don’t suffer from particular health issues and relatively enjoy a long feline lifespan.

Despite this breed being free from specific health issues, certain infirmities may still befall him. He is at high risk for sunburn due to his thin coat so going out under harsh sunlight will require him a generous application of a cat-friendly suncream. Other conditions may include:

  • Kidney 
  • Arthritis
  • Congenital hypotrichosis
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Umbilical hernia
  • Dental disease

There are a number of ways to keep your  Rex cat healthy such as by regularly bringing him to the veterinarian’s office and creating a stress-free environment. Applying for cat insurance will also save you from spending thousands of dollars even if you believe that you can afford veterinary costs. 

Pros and Cons of Having a Cornish Rex


  • The Cornish Rex is affectionate and playful
  • Very active and needs minimal exercise
  • Highly intelligent
  • Trainable
  • Great therapy cat
  • Highly-independent
  • Requires less grooming
  • Great with kids and other pets
  • Generally healthy
  • Can carry a conversation


  • The Cornish Rex can sometimes be stubborn
  • It may be demanding at times
  • Has a high tendency to get into off-limit areas
  • Can’t do well in cold and hot climates
  • Prone to balding or hair loss

Do Cat Associations Recognize the Cornish Rex?

Photo from: hades_thecornishrex (IG)

It was in the year 1957 when Frances Blancheri from California brought the first Cornish Rex to the United States. Later in 1964, the Cat Fanciers’ Association recognized the breed followed by other major cat associations and organizations. This includes:

  • American Cat Fanciers Association
  • Fédération Internationale Féline
  • The International Cat Association


Photo from: marjaeloranta (IG)

The price of a Cornish Rex highly varies depending on where you are getting him from or what type of kitten you are going to get. Without a doubt, getting a Cornish Rex is a great choice even if you have kids at home. Considering that the breed is still less in number, you might have to purchase a Rex kitten at a more expensive price.

Averagely, expect yourself to pay $800 to $1200 to a reputable Cornish Rex breeder. The price includes the guarantee that your kitty-cat has undergone a series of health tests with no existing genetic predisposition. There are also a number of cats available for adoption in numerous shelter homes which you can get for $150. Looking for one won’t give you a hard time at all. Some established certain websites to make the process more seamless and convenient for foster families.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Cornish Rex

Countless accessible places can be found if you are in search of well-respected Cornish breeders. It is highly recommended never to resort to getting your kitty from cat mills as they are highly likely brought up in stressful environments. To make sure you get exactly what you paid for, here are some trusted sources you can visit:

Are you looking to adopt instead? Hundreds of adoption centers might just have the Cornish Rex that is perfect for you. You only have to visit to really see if you are compatible with each other. Here are a few places you can contact:

Getting a Cornish Rex is a lifetime commitment. You will surely never get bored when he’s around. Expect him to stop playing and run fast towards you just to spend his remaining daytime with his owner. Even if the night falls, he will jump on his most favorite spot in the house by initiative. That place is no other than your bed with your arms wrapped around this warmhearted fellow.