Let’s admit it. As a child, there must have been a point where you wished that stuffed animal you loved dearly would come to life and be your real best friend (it happened in lots of movies). They were always so cute, soft, and cuddly. We deserved to have them come to life.
Well, if you had a stuffed cat as a child, that dream may have come true. A new breed of cat has been officially distinguished: The Poodle Cat.
What is a Poodle Cat?
There’s no cause for alarm. A poodle may be the name given to a famous dog breed, but a Poodle Cat is not a cross-breed between the famous dog breed and a cat. Well, it’s so named because it does look like a cat-poodle-dog crossbreed. Also called “a cat in sheep’s clothing”, the actual name of the breed, given to the cat by researchers from the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, is the Selkirk Rex: a fluffy kitty with distinctively curly hair.
The Origin of the Selkirk Rex
The Selkirk Rex came with a story that sounds like a fairytale. A feral cat was delivered of a litter of Kitten in Montana, in 1987. (1, 2, 3, 4). One of her kittens looked especially different from the rest, with curly whiskers and fur that also turned curly as she got older. Her unique appearance caught the attention of a Persian cat breeder, of Jeri Newman, who was visiting the shelter where she was living at the time. He adopted her and gave her the name “Miss DePesto” after the secretary from the TV show “Moonlighting”, also known for her curly do. (1, 2, 3, 4)
A dominant gene
Of course, there are other cat breeds with the curly-haired gene, such as the Devon Rex and the Cornish Rex. However, the gene is recessive in these breeds and it’s highly unlikely to get a curly-haired kitten from them.
When Newman adopted Miss DePesto, he wasn’t sure if her curly gene was dominant or not. He bred her with his black Persian PhotoFinish and waited to see what would happen. Luckily, when the litter was born, 3 out of 6 kittens had curly hair. This proved that truly, the gene was dominant, making the Selkirk Rex the first naturally dominant curly-haired breed. (2)
How to know you have a Selkirk Rex in a litter
While this may seem obvious, you can’t immediately tell if a kitten is a Selkirk Rex during the first few weeks after birth. Their fur isn’t exactly curly or straight. Instead, you must observe at their whiskers. The Selkirk Rex, or poodle cat, will have curly whiskers right from the start.
How to take care of a poodle cat
According to the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), Selkirk Rexes are a generally strong, healthy breed. They are also patient, loving, and highly tolerant, making them wonderful pets to have. However, due to the curly fur, they have to be specially cared for to be well-groomed.
- Whether you have a short or long-haired Selkirk, to maintain their curls you must brush them less often than straight-haired cats.
- When bathing your poodle cat, you must be sure not to use shampoos that coat the fur. Ask your breeder or at your local pet store for recommendations.
- Be okay with your cat having a somewhat “messy” or “disheveled” look – they are supposed to look that way! Let their natural curls shine through.
This content was originally published here.