Selkirk Rex Cat - breed information and advice

Rather a stocky cat, with a round head and filled-out cheeks, the Selkirk Rex is one of only four breeds that have a curly coat. It is loving and affectionate, and so content that it is well known for purring. These are charismatic, playful cats with a very easy-going temperament.
If you are the owner of a Selkirk Rex or are considering getting one, you can take a look at our cat insurance policies to ensure your pet will receive the care they need in the case of an illness or accident.

Breed information


Colour: All colours (including tan, white and grey) in all kinds of combinations, patterns and markings.

Coat: Usually curly - they can be long-haired and curly, and short-haired and curly - but there are also occasionally straight-haired Selkirk Rex cats. Despite appearances, the coat doesn't require too much grooming, which can cause the curl to drop out.

Life span: A life expectancy of around 14 years is usual.

Mouth and gum disease

Like most breeds, Selkirk Rex may suffer from gum and dental disease during their lifetime. Gum disease occurs when some (or all) of a tooth’s deep supporting structures become inflamed. This begins when food, bacteria and minerals accumulate along the gum line, leading to the build-up of a brown scale known as tartar. When this undermines the gum the condition is called gingivitis. Eventually, small spaces can form between the gums and the teeth creating pockets of space for bacteria to grow, resulting in what is known as periodontal disease. The bacteria from infected gums can spread around the body and damage the liver and kidneys. This condition can be prevented with basic routine care such as feeding cats dry food and brushing their teeth, helping them to lead a normal, pain-free life.


Gingivitis is the third most common illness we see in Selkirk Rex

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Eye conditions

Like all cats, the Selkirk Rex can suffer from eye problems such as conjunctivitis (inflammation of the insides of a cat’s eyelids); glaucoma (caused by increased pressure inside the eyeball); cataracts (opacity of the lens); entropion (inward rolling of the eyelids); or retinal problems. This breed is particularly prone to an excessive amount of discharge from the eye as a result of its twisted and partially blocked tear ducts. Treatment of each eye condition depends on the type and severity of the problem, although many are treated using eyedrops.


Eye conditions are the fourth most common illnesses we see in Selkirk Rex

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Heart disease

Heart disease in cats refers to when the heart’s structures aren’t working as they should be. There are two categories of heart disease: congenital (meaning the cat is born with it) and acquired (meaning the disease develops later in life). Congenital heart diseases include defects in the wall of the heart, abnormal valves and blood vessels. Selkirk Rex are prone to a disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which can lead to heart failure. Whilst this condition is not curable, it can be treated with lifelong medication.


Heart murmur is the most common illness we see in Selkirk Rex

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Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. It can come on suddenly or grumble under the surface over a longer period of time (chronic). The chronic form is more common in cats. Pancreatitis can be caused by trauma, parasites, infection, or drug reactions, although often no identifiable cause is detected. Treatment is usually required over two time frames: the acute phase involves intravenous fluids and careful monitoring of a cat’s blood parameters; in the longer-term, dietary management is required to ensure that a cat can continue to live normally.


Pancreatitis is the fifth most common illness we see in Selkirk Rex

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Gastrointestinal tract disorders

The Selkirk Rex, like all cats, can suffer from problems affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract is a long, winding tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus, with various twists and turns along the way. Conditions such as gastroenteritis caused by infections (like feline enteritis), poisoning or an obstruction within the bowel (due to the cat eating string for example) commonly cause vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Treatment depends on the exact cause, but prompt intervention usually results in a full recovery.


Gastrointestional disorders are the second most common illnesses we see in Selkirk Rex

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