In This Article
In This Article
Curly-haired cats are a genuinely special and exciting breed. Unlike cats with straight hair and wavy hair, a cat with curls is unique. The quality and texture of their fur set them apart from all others.
If you're thinking of getting a curly cat, here's what you need to know.
Coat genes determine the pattern, pigmentation (color), texture, and length of feline fur. They are responsible for a variety of coat variations, any of which can be curly. The different coats include:
A tortoiseshell coat pattern is defined by streaks of orange and a non-orange, mostly black color. Cats with these coats may also have white spots in their fur. In contrast, Tricolor cats will have large amounts of white in their coats, so the red and black patches will look more like patchwork.
Calicos and tortoiseshells are almost always female. This occurs because the coat pattern arises from a differential X chromosome activation. Since males carry only one X chromosome copy, it is rare for them to have this kind of coat.
Color-pointed cats have a dark coloration on their extremities (feet, ears, faces, and tails) and a lighter coloration on other parts of their bodies. The pointed pattern is a type of partial albinism that results from a mutated enzyme (tyrosinase).
In its mutated form, the enzyme is heat-sensitive, so it takes effect only in cooler parts of the skin. As a result, only the coolest parts of the cat's body will have dark pigmentation. They can be remarkably dark in color - they will often have a near-black, brown, or cool grey appearance.
The silver coat occurs whenever the melanin inhibitor gene is activated. It suppresses pigment production, which gives solid cat coats a silver smoke appearance.
This is a coat type in which the cat has one primary color with white patches. This pattern includes a tuxedo, where the cat is mostly black with white on its chest, van (primarily white with a colored tail and head), or tortoiseshell.
Tabbies have marbled patterns comprising bullseyes, butterflies, spots, or swirls. They owe their coat pattern to a dominant allele of the Agouti gene. It stimulates full pigmentation when the hair starts to grow, slows down pigment production, and speeds it up again. This creates the pigmented bands tabbies are known for.
The four tabby variations include:
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Curly coats come from a rare genetic mutation that causes changes in how individual hairs and hair groups behave. This change gives the cat's fur a curly appearance. The mutation is not common but can occur spontaneously in several genes, leading to various curly coat types.
There are four cat breeds known to have curly fur. The trait is rare among felines and isn't always passed down genetically.
Three of the four officially recognized curly-haired cat breeds are from the Rex class.
LaPerms have short wavy coats1. The breed is known for being social and affectionate towards humans, so expect them to follow you around and seek your attention. They come in a variety of colors and markings and may also display long/short-haired coat variations.
Note: This cat's curly fur tends to disappear after birth and then reappear at about 10 months of age. So, you shouldn’t be surprised if you see this happen.
The Devon rex is an intelligent, short-haired, tall-eared cat breed that grew popular in England in the mid-90s2. These cats are known for their slender bodies, large ears, and wavy coats. They have shown the ability to learn and perform complex tricks but are hard to motivate.
Devon cats are usually mischievous, active, and friendly.
Cats of this breed are so playful that they're often described as a cross between dogs, cats, and monkeys. They are experienced jumpers and will actively investigate and occupy any space large enough to hold them.
Most Devons will devote their love and attention to a single person. The person they choose to be affectionate with will be the one they will gravitate to the most.
Cornish Rexes are a hairless breed3.
They have no hair except for down hair, or an "undercoat." This makes their coats extremely fine and curly. The breed is best adapted to indoor living in warm, dry conditions, as they are sensitive to low temperatures. The cats like to race other pets, play fetch, and do acrobatic jumps.
Like the Devon, they are very intelligent and capable of quickly adapting to new environments.
Cornish Rex cats display various coat colors and patterns that include solids like black, white, and chocolate---all variations of a tabby like a mackerel and classic---and color-point patterns.
The Selkirk Rex differs from the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex in that it has a complete coat, and its hair is of average length4. Its fur is also plusher and thicker than a LaPerm's.
The breed originated in Montana in 1987, with a litter born to a rescued cat, and has since been developed into two distinct coat lengths: long and short.
A Selkirk Rex cat is large and solidly built. Their coats are soft and woolly, with loose, unstructured curls. They also have curly whiskers.
The breed's temperament is primarily influenced by the cats that contributed to its development. Selkirks usually possess the reserved traits of the British shorthair, the socialness of the Persian, and the playfulness of the exotic shorthair.
Note: while there may be other cats with curly fur, but these are the only officially recognized breeds.
The four breeds mentioned above are the only recognized breeds with curly hair. But there are other cats sporting the curly hair look. Here are some of them:
An American Wirehair is a playful medium-sized cat with a wiry coat5. This cat demands a lot of attention from its owner. With a life expectancy of 14 to 18 years, they make for a great life companions. They love playing with children, are smart, easily trainable, and enjoy learning new things.
Their wiry coat requires very little grooming. Overgrooming may hurt them and their coat.
Ragamuffins are native to the United States. This large cat has a life expectancy of 12 to 16 years. It has a thick, plush coat with a wide selection of colors. Their coats require moderate to high maintenance.
Despite their large size, ragamuffins are great companions because they are generally sweet and docile. They love being around children due to their playful nature. They are easily trainable and are quick learners.
Siberian is Russia’s national cat. It has a thick triple coat that requires weekly grooming. Despite the thick coat, the Siberian is said to be hypoallergenic - however, this claim has yet to be scientifically proven.
These cats are affectionate, playful, and calm. They are friendly and are happy to spend time with dogs and other cats. As social cats, they also love interacting with people.
The Siberian is expected to live for 11 to 15 years.
Skookums are crossbreeds with a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. They are small cats with curly coats that require weekly grooming. These cats are playful and require a lot of attention from their owners.
A skookum cat is fun-loving, confident, curious, and energetic. If you own one, you’ll notice that they love spending quality time with you.
A curly-haired cat will cost about $1,500.
Since the cats are so rare, it's unlikely you will find them in pet shelters. They are so rare that there is only a handful up for adoption at any given moment.
This means your best option is to contact reputable breeders, who will charge around $1,500 per curly-haired kitten.
Curly-haired cats are less susceptible to shedding.
Some breeds may not shed at all. This characteristic means they are less likely to trigger allergies in humans.
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