Somewhat unusual-looking curly-haired cat breeds are extremely rare and sought-after by many feline lovers. Perhaps you are looking for one as well—a curly-haired cat covered in waves and curls.
As feline lovers, we love all cats, but we find some cats more appealing and loveable than others. While some cat lovers fall in love with calico cats at first sight, others are bewitched by cats with blue eyes, yet others cannot get their eyes off tabby cats. And our guess is, you just want to keep combing your fingers through a curly-haired cat for eternity.
How Does a Curly-haired Cat Get Its Curls?
A curly-haired cat is, in fact, an anomaly, indicating that the curly fur cat is missing a layer of its hair.
Cats actually have three layers of hair. First, guard hair on the outside that supports to keep a cat dry in the rain by retarding water. The color of cats’ guard hair also determines their coat color. Second, awn hair—the secondary hair—helps keep cats insulated. It also protects the cats’ down hair.
The third is the short but soft layer of hair known as down hair, which is protected by awn hair. When one of these three layers of cat hair is missing, the cat may have a curly-haired coat. It is quite a rare occurrence, and that is why it is a bit hard to find a cat with curly hair.
Curly-haired cats are so rare that there are only four true curly-haired cat breeds—Selkirk Rex, LaPerm, Devon Rex, and Cornish Rex—found across the world. Only these four curly-haired cats are recognized by The Cat Fancier’s Association and The International Cat Association.
In addition to the four truly curly-haired cat breeds, we have found and listed some other cat breeds that have curly coats. Most of these curly cats belong to the Rex class.
Curly-Haired Cat Breeds
Cats with curly hairs are liked by many, but they are most popular among allergy sufferers. The curly coat of these cats makes them less prone to shedding—the dead hair is tangled in their coats and is removed on brushing. Due to this little to no shedding, they are being referred to as hypoallergenic cats. So with a curly-haired cat, loving cat owners do not have to suffer from symptoms of cat allergies.
If you have allergies and are desperately looking for a hypoallergenic cat breed, take a look at the following curly-haired cat breeds—they are considered hypoallergenic.
Let’s briefly discuss curly-haired cat breeds.
Often called “the cat in sheep’s clothing,” Selkirk Rex tops the list of curly-haired cat breeds with their curly plushy coats; even their whiskers are curled. These curly-furred cats come in both short and longhair profuse and dense curly coats in a host of coat colors, including chocolate, brown, orange, tan, silver, gray, and black.
Weighing around 6 to 16 pounds, Selkirk Rex has an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. You can count them into cat breeds that live the longest. These are pretty big huggable cats with round heads, big eyes, and affectionate and sociable temperaments. Selkirk Rex makes for a great family pet as they get along well with children, seniors, as well as other pets in the house.
When it comes to grooming a Selkirk Rex cat, you will have to be responsible—they need regular combing (at least once a week); otherwise, their hair will tangle up. You are advised to use a comb with longer tines to brush their body and a comb with shorter tines on their legs and face. You can look for a 2 in 1 comb that has longer tines on one side and shorter on the other.
Just give your Selkirk Rex a cat window perch, and they will snooze all day long or stalk birds from their window perch.
Charming curly-haired cat, LaPerm is one of the low-maintenance cats known for their wavy coats that resemble the human perm hairstyle. Their coats are a blend of springy curls and soft waves. These ringlets of hair are tight on their necks, ears, and stomach but lose on the rest of the body. They come in both shorthair and longhair coats in every available cat coat color and pattern.
LaPerm cats have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. LaPerm cats are medium-sized cats with their weight ranging between 8 to 10 pounds and having big ears, long legs, and tails. Unlike most cat breeds, LaPerm kittens can take around 2 to 3 years to grow fully and reach physical maturity.
LaPerm is an easygoing cat breed. They live for the attention of their loving owners. They would love to lounge in your lap all day long and have you combing your fingers through their wavy coats. They also love to climb, so when they are not snoozing in your lap, you may find them climbing on doors and bookshelves. To keep them off doors and shelves, you can get them a cat tree with multiple levels. This will satiate their climbing needs.
This curly-haired cat breed is known for its curly coats and its gigantic bat-like ears. They are often classified as a cat breed with big ears. Their big ears and wavy short-haired coats give them a somewhat alien-like appearance. Devon Rex is not really hypoallergenic, but they are considered a good fit for people with allergies because they shed very little and thus are less triggering to allergies.
Devon Rex is a medium-sized cat breed, and their average weight varies between 6 to 10 pounds. This is quite a healthy cat breed and has an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. They love to accompany their owners on walks. You are advised never to take them out without a good cat harness and a leash. You will also have to train them how to walk on a leash before taking them outside.
Looking just like Devon Rex, Cornish Rex is a different curly cat breed. Both, however, belong to the Rex class, as indicated by their second name. Cornish Rex shares many physical traits and appearances with Devon Rex. Cornish Rex only has the soft undercoat (down hair)—they lack guard hair and awn hair. Having only down hair, their coats are extremely soft, unlike other curly-haired cat breeds.
Weighing 6 to 10, Cornish Rex is a medium-sized cat breed. They have an average lifespan of around 11 to 15 years. Cornish Rex is a high-energy cat—they love to go on long walks with their loving parents and climbing over high places. Getting a window perch for your Cornish Rex won’t be a good idea because if overexposed to sunlight, they get sunburned. Instead, you can get your curly furred cat a comfy cat bed.
Native to New York, American Wirehair might look like a curly-haired cat breed. But do not be fooled by their wiry coat; unlike the true curly-haired cat breeds discussed above, Wirehairs have all three layers of fur. American Wirehairs shed moderately and do not need to be brushed very often. In fact, unnecessary brushing could damage their coat health.
American Wirehair is a medium-sized cat weighing 8 to 12 pounds. They have an average lifespan of 10 to 16 years. These curly fellas are quite powerful—they have a muscular body, heavy boning, broad chest, and thick, strong legs. Wirehairs love to laze around in sunlight, so getting them a cat hammock and setting it up in an area where the sun shines directly all day long would be a great idea.
German Rex looks a lot like Cornish Rex, and for a long time, they were grouped with Cornish Rex. However, German Rex is recognized as a separate cat breed by The International Feline Foundation today. That said, it still needs to be recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association. German Rex has much woolier coats and comes in a wide range of colors and patterns.
Weighing only 4 to 8 pounds, German Rex is a small-sized cat breed. They have an average lifespan of 10 to 17 years. They love their owners and cherish their company. They would spend hours curled up against you or sleeping on top of you.
Lastly, German Rex has pretty short hair, and the natural oil build-up would make their coat greasy, which is why they require more bathing as compared to other cats.
Known as Shirley Temple of the feline world, Skookum is a small cat breed with beautiful curls and short stubby legs just like Corgi puppies. This incredibly rare cat breed was produced by the cross-breeding of LaPerm and Munchkin cats. Skookum is still considered an experimental cat breed as it is not recognized by authoritative cat associations.
Weighing only 3 to 7 pounds, Skookum is a small cat breed. They have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. These are small cats, but they are laden with energy and are always ready to have an interactive play session with their loving parents. They are extra cuddly and would love to lay on your chest, making you wonder: Why does my cat lay on my chest?
Ragamuffin is a large cat breed, weighing around 10 to 20 pounds. They have not only a big body but also big eyes and a big heart and are considered the perfect family pet. Ragamuffin is not a curly-haired cat breed as they have all three layers of hair. Nonetheless, they have a wavy furred coat, and many feline lovers love to comb their hands through their fur.
Unlike other curly-haired cat breeds, Ragamuffins shed regularly. However, they are not susceptible to matting or tangling, making coat grooming sessions pretty quick. This is a healthy cat breed and has an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years. To ensure the best health of your Ragamuffin, you should never miss your vet visit and brush your cat’s teeth at least once a week to guard against periodontal disease.
Are There Any Other Curly-Haired Cats?
From the above-discussed, only the top 4 are truly curly cat breeds. Others just happen to have a wavy coat. That said, there are yet a few more curly-haired cats.
- Oregon Rex: These curly cats originated in Oregon, but they are no more—they have gone extinct.
- Tasman Manx: It is a curly-furred Manx cat that originated in New Zealand and Australia. It was produced by the crossing of long-haired Manx cats and Persian cats with recessive Rex Gene. Its breeding is discouraged due to the associated anatomical problems with the cats.
- Ural Rex: Named after the Ural Mountains, Ural Rex is a new cat breed—still in the developing phase. They have a dense, tightly curled coat.
- Tennessee Rex: These curly-haired cats are still in the early stages of their TICA registration. They come in both shorthair and longhair coats.