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Cornish Rex

Energetic / Social / Clever

The Cornish Rex is a shorthair cat breed with a distinct appearance and an equally unique temperament. They may be short on fur, but they’re high in intelligence, sociability, and energy. See if these playful, people-loving cats could be for you!

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Health Risk

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Personality

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Lifetime Care

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Average Sizes and Life Expentancy of The Breed

Height

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  • 8 - 12 inches

Weight

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  • 6 - 10 pounds

Life Expectancy

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  • 15 - 20 years

My cat’s name is*

Cat
Female

Health Risk

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Luxating Patella

What is it?

A luxating patella is malformed and misaligned, causing pain and risking further damage.

% Cats affected: 

Unknown

Clinical signs:

Limping, hopping, swaying, off-and-on lameness, lethargy, reduced activity, unusual stretching of affected limbs, or avoidance of it during activity

Treatment:

Surgery, medications (anti-inflammatory), joint supplements, diet therapy & weight management

Other risks:

Treat promptly to avoid undue risk for other issues, such as torn cruciate ligaments

Average Vet Bill

$3500

Reimbursement


90% = $3150

80% = $2800

70% = $2450

Personality

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Energetic

The defining aspect of the Cornish Rex cat’s personality is a seemingly never-ending supply of kitten-like energy.

Playful

In tandem with their energy levels, these cats also have an undying desire to play at all times – preferably with their people, but on their own if necessary.

Social

A Cornish Rex cat will seek out attention and affection from any person it can find at all times, making them some of the most social cats out there.

Confident

With all that energy and social drive, the Cornish Rex must be bold and confident, and they certainly are.

Clever

Another place in which Cornish Rex cats excel is intelligence. Whether it is directed towards a productive purpose like training, or a destructive purpose such as causing mischief, depends on the owner's diligence in giving their Rex attention.

Lifetime Care

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Coat:

Perhaps the most unique trait of this breed is the Cornish Rex coat, which is a short down coat that often curls. Coat colors and patterns may include tabby, bicolor, and solids like black, blue, brown, and cream.

Colors:

Hypoallergenic:

No

Grooming:

The wavy coat of the Cornish Rex should rarely be brushed – in fact, excessive brushing could be dangerous. Clean their ears and paws, trim their nails, and brush their teeth regularly.

Training:

With high intelligence and a need for constant attention, training a Cornish Rex is very achievable, as long as you can manage their energy.

Life Time Care Cost:

$19550
small brown white and black cornish rex

Cornish Rex: Breed Information Guide

There are a number of unique cat breeds defined physically by some kind of genetic mutation, but perhaps none quite as popular as the Cornish Rex (and its close kin, the Devon Rex).

Cornish Rex cats are a phenomenon due to their unique, enticing appearance and their exciting personalities.

Today, Spot Pet Insurance is here to help you find out if you and a Cornish Rex cat could be a perfect fit for each other with our latest cat breed guide.

Meet the Cornish Rex

The first thing you’ll notice upon seeing a Cornish Rex is a short, curly coat of fur. Next to catch the eye are their large ears and angular face on a compact, round head.

The Cornish Rex also has a unique arched body shape beneath its wavy fur, almost reminiscent of a greyhound’s silhouette. The genetic mutation responsible for this breed certainly did them a few favors in creating a striking, beautiful appearance. 

Equally striking is the breed’s extremely high levels of energy, playfulness, and amiability. These cats need as much attention as possible and crave as much play as possible. This breed is truly a story of both minimalism (in fur) and excess (in personality).

Read on to learn if these cats could fit well into your family!

Where does the Cornish Rex breed come from?

The history of the Cornish Rex breed, unlike many others, can be traced with precision. The first Cornish Rex was delivered in a litter in 1950 by a tortoiseshell cat named Serena in Cornwall, around the southwestern part of England. Unlike his siblings, this cat (named Kallibunker) had a genetic mutation that gave him short, curly hair and huge, pointed ears.

At the advice of a vet and geneticist, Kalli’s owner, Nina Ennismore, bred him back with his mother, resulting in another litter of curly-coated kittens with this recessive genetic mutation. This was the start of the Cornish Rex breed.

According to the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), subsequent litters were then bred with Burmese, Siamese, and British shorthair cats to create a broader genetic base for the new breed. Despite a slow start, media attention and a wave of admiration for the Cornish Rex eventually gave the breed a strong foundation, both in England and America. 

Today, the Cornish Rex breed of cat is exceptionally popular around the world. 

What are the potential health conditions for Cornish Rex cats?

Cornish Rex cats have excellent overall health, with no unique genetic conditions or health problems.

As with all breeds, certain near-universal conditions can affect these cats. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is one such major condition, and others include liver disease and various skin conditions

Patellar luxation can also be common for these highly active cats. A luxating patella can be hereditary, as with some Cornish Rex individuals, or caused by other conditions or injuries. As always, responsible breeding, which includes health screening for potential parents before mating, is crucial to minimizing incidences of this disease in Cornish Rex cats.

Thankfully, patellar luxation can be treated by various means and generally has a positive prognosis.

Even with their good bill of health, responsible breeders should always screen Cornish Rex kittens and parents for hereditary conditions. You can and should seek proof of these tests when buying from a breeder, or even when adopting from a shelter (when possible).

In general, Cornish Rex cats have a long life expectancy of 15-20 years, especially when well cared for and living indoors.

Are Cornish Rex cats affectionate with family?

Cornish Rex cats may not be lap cats, but they show plenty of affection in their own ways. 

These demonstrations of love may range from miming to verbal communication and play and cuddling once the day is finally done (which is a long time, thanks to the endless energy of Cornish Rex cats).

The most common way these cats wish to give and receive affection is with attention. They will follow you around at all times, to all areas of the house – the kitchen, the porch, your bed, and even the shower. If their attention is unreciprocated, it could quickly lead to destructive behaviors.

As such, the Cornish Rex often thrives in families with children or other pets. With multiple potential sources of interaction for a Cornish Rex, it becomes much more likely that their attention and affection needs are met consistently.

Are Cornish Rex cats intelligent?

Cleverness is the name of the game for Cornish Rex cats, with “game” being the keyword. Cornish Rex cats are highly intelligent, but they mainly want to use this intelligence to play. 

Their cleverness can easily turn to mischief if their other needs are not met. A neglected or upset Cornish Rex can usually find their way into places they should not be.

With that said, the bright mind of the Cornish Rex can also make it highly receptive to training. Turn training into a game of rewards and human attention, and your Cornish Rex is bound to enjoy it.

Do Cornish Rex cats do well with children?

Yes, Cornish Rex cats can mesh well with children. Playing with kids is a natural engagement for these cats, thanks to their muscular bodies and high energy levels.

Of course, your cat should always be socialized to ensure encounters with children, strangers, and pets go smoothly. Likewise, you should train children how to interact with a cat properly before letting them loose with your Cornish Rex.

Your Cornish Rex may even tolerate being held, although most are too playful to accept this state for long.

How are Cornish Rex cats with strangers?

As mentioned, these cats will do just about anything to get attention from anyone at any time. As such, strangers are eagerly welcomed and almost immediately asked to play on most occasions.

Cornish Rex cats are favorites for social families with plenty of people (and pets) around to play with their cats. You might even be able to train your Cornish Rex to walk with a leash and harness, so they could meet others outside the house! Just be sure to have a sweater for them in cold weather.

Do Cornish Rex cats get along with other pets?

The Cornish Rex cat’s social inclinations extend from humans to other animals as well. They are enthusiastic when meeting new animals and generally get along easily. However, their high energy levels and demand for play could cause their opposites to be annoyed and seek solace.

Generally, pet siblings that are also very playful are best for Cornish Rex cats. A single-pet Cornish Rex is a very tough challenge for most pet parent families – even the most dedicated.

How to be the best pet parent for a Cornish Rex

Taking care of a Cornish Rex certainly comes with its fair share of challenges to complement the wonderful benefits of pet parenting for this breed. Your best tool against these challenges is knowledge!

That’s why we write our breed guides here at Spot Pet Insurance and plenty of other guides as well. Our Blogbowl features informative articles on topics ranging from common health concerns to pet parent lifestyle tips. Check it out, and stay tuned as you go through your cat-care journey!

You can also learn about pet insurance and see if Spot Pet Insurance is right for you by reading our FAQs and insurance comparisons.

There are a few more topics related to the Cornish Rex we should cover before you make a decision to add one to your family.

How much does a Cornish Rex cost?

Adoption fee: $800-1,300

First year: $400-2,500

Following years: $300-2,300

Basic training and behavior etiquette for your Cornish Rex

Cornish Rex cats have plenty of intelligence and a strong desire to be with and please their humans, making them one of the most trainable breeds amongst domestic cats.

Even so, training a cat is never quite like training a dog. Special effort to motivate them is typically required. For a Cornish Rex, working training routines into playtime makes it a fun process rather than a tedious one.

As with all cats, you should use positive reinforcement instead of aversion methods, which can trigger feline sensitivity and be counterproductive. Food rewards, verbal affirmation, and physical cues such as clickers are great tools.

What types of foods should Cornish Rex cats never eat?

Cornish Rex cats never shy away from a treat, but there are certain human foods you must be diligent to keep away from them. The common foods below, and some others, are toxic to cats and must be avoided.

  • Tuna
  • Chocolate
  • Dairy
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Raisins
  • Grapes
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Xylitol
  • Avocado

Exercising tips to keep your Cornish Rex staying fit and healthy

Cornish Rex cats certainly don’t need any encouragement to get enough exercise. In fact, the trouble with these cats is more often getting them to calm down.

The best way to channel your cat’s energy positively is with engaging toys and plenty of apparatus for their acrobatics. Motorized toys, puzzles, mazes, lasers to chase, and a ball to fetch (this breed’s favorite game) are all must-haves for a Cornish Rex owner.

Not only will you need plenty of ways to entertain your cat, but you should also rotate them (every 3-5 days) to keep things fresh and mentally stimulate your clever cat.

Cat trees, perches, hammocks, and wall-mounted cat shelves will also be much needed unless you don’t mind your Cornish Rex constantly climbing on any furniture possible throughout the house. These cats are athletic and love to get to a high perch.

Cornish Rex life stages

Kitten: 0 - 1 year

Adult: 1 - 11 years

Senior: 11 years - end of life

Sources:

Cornish Rex Cat Breed Information & Characteristics | Daily Paws

Cornish Rex | VCA Animal Hospitals

Luxating Patella | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Destructive Behavior in Cats | PetMD

The Myth of Hypoallergenic Dogs (and Cats) | The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Cornish Rex at a Glance | TICA

Common Cat Skin Conditions | PetMD

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Cats (HCM) | Vet Specialists

Socialization And Fear Prevention In Kittens | VCA Animal Hospitals

Leash Training Your Cat | The Anti-Cruelty Society

Harmful Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat: Tuna, Milk, Raw Fish, and More | WebMD

My cat’s name is*

Cat
Female
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