It was in the 1950s that occurred the genetic mutation responsible for the soft, wavy fur proudly displayed by cats now known as the Cornish Rex.
This recessive gene derived from a completely natural and spontaneous mutation has been scientifically studied and the specific gene in question was recently identified by the Lyons Feline Genetics Research Laboratory at Davis University, California.
The breed as we know it today originated from a curly coated male cat, born in Great Britain, named Kallibunker, who was then mated to his mother, a normal coated cat. It is logical to assume, given the recessive nature of the mutated gene, that this mutation had already occurred several years earlier. It was a fortunate coincidence that Kallibunker’s parents, both carriers of the gene, ever met. Stories tell of the appearance of other specimens that would also have possessed these genetics. Some of them are at the origin of the California Rex, a breed that was developed from cats with long hair and whose breed type was worked differently from the Cornish Rex.
The name was given to the Cornish Rex, for its resemblance to the Rex rabbit, and to emphasize its birthplace, Cornwall County, on the Island of Great Britain, England.
The years have passed and breeders have molded the breed by striving to develop unusual attributes. The result of their efforts is phenomenal, so much so that the Cornish Rex of today is sometimes compared to an alien because of their long ears or to a clown for their antics. Some see them as dog-like because they are super sociable, curious and can even learn to fetch a ball! Their intense expressions of love sometimes border on emotional dependence… They are often referred to as ‘the greyhound of the cat world’ for their slender body, elegant and sleek. Anyway you look at it, those who know him will agree that the Cornish Rex is an excellent companion with whom one will never be bored. He will charm you with his ‘little monkey’ act, with his unparalleled acrobatics and agility. They are very attached to their masters, love to play with children or dogs with whom they often develop a ‘partner in crime’ relationship.
With all his attributes, the Cornish Rex has everything to make his family happy. As if that were not enough, they are easy to maintain since they do not require any brushing or any particular grooming. His coat does not possess guard hairs, his short, very soft and wavy undercoat does not shed! This is a real advantage for the busy family but they must be considered allergenic nonetheless, just like a domestic cat.