In 1987, a mutant kitten was born in Montana with hair like a poodle. Named Miss DePesto, this kitten grew up and birthed curly kittens of her own. As the curly cat family tree grew, Miss DePesto’s descendants eventually became recognized as a new breed: the Selkirk Rex.
Now, 25 years and about nine kitty generations later, researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Austria, have confirmed that these felines are genetically distinct from previously known breeds, making Selkirk Rex the fourth curly-haired cat breed known.
The genetic quirk that makes a Selkirk Rex’s hair kink is a dominant trait. This makes the trait easy for breeders to retain even while crossing breeding to maintain genetic diversity. Selkirk Rex is usually crossed with Persians or British Shorthairs, making it a particularly laid back cat.
And while the Selkirk Rex is one of four curly-haired cat breeds, it easily has the best hair. Devon Rex and Cornish Rex are breeds with curly, downy, super-short hair, prone to balding, while the unimaginatively named LaPerm breed has curly hair of average length hair — but not nearly as plush and thick as Selkirk Rex. Miss DePesto would be proud.
Check out some of these good looking mutant kitties below.
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