Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Cats > Cat Breeds > Cornish Rex Cat: Breed Info, Traits & Pictures

Cornish Rex Cat: Breed Info, Traits & Pictures

Cornish Rex cat on top of blanket

Cornish Rexes are curious-looking cats with equally curious personalities. Their lack of fur and slender bodies make them look dainty. However, they tend to have rather robust and energetic temperaments. Beneath the unassuming exterior lies a confident and intelligent cat that’s ready to engage in all sorts of games.

Breed Overview


8-12 inches


6-10 pounds


11-15 years


White, black, red, orange, blue, gray, cream, tan, brown, sable

Suitable for:

Families with children, multi-pet homes


Energetic, curious, intelligent, loyal

This cat breed can be an extremely fun addition to a home, but it’s important for potential cat owners to know what they’d be getting themselves into if they bring home a Cornish Rex.

We love seeing cats get matched with homes that are perfect for them. So, we’ve laid out all the information you need to determine if a Cornish Rex is the right cat breed for you.

Cornish Rex Characteristics

High-energy cat will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy cats require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a cat to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train cats are more willing and skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Cats that are harder to train are usually more stubborn and will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some cat breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds' potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other animals. More social cats have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches, while less social cats shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to lots of different situations.


Cornish Rex Kittens

black cornish rex kitten
Image Credit: Bobbii Art, Shutterstock

Cornish Rexes are rather popular, so breeders can sell them for high prices. The price will depend on the kitten’s pedigree as well as how popular the cat breed is in the region where the breeder lives. If you’re not looking to compete in cat shows, there’s no need to purchase a show-quality kitten. There are plenty of Cornish Rexes that are offered as healthy companion cats. You may also find animal shelters and rescues that have Cornish Rexes.

When you bring a Cornish Rex home, be ready to have a loyal kitty by your side. They are quite energetic and playful, so be ready to regularly play with your cat and offer them mental stimulation to avoid boredom.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Cornish Rex

Cornish Rexes are rather entertaining cats. They’re very curious and agile, so be prepared to cat-proof your home before bringing a Cornish Rex into your family. They can easily learn to open some cabinets and get into spaces containing food.

Because of their activity level and need for play, they may not be the best cat for older adults or people who aren’t home very often. These cats get bored easily and can quickly develop unwanted behaviors from not having enough stimulation and exercise.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Cornish Rexes make excellent family pets. They can become great playmates for children because they love to play and can match their energy. Although these cats may not always be the most sociable with strangers, they tend to become very loyal to their families.

Cornish Rexes aren’t known to enjoy snuggling and laying still on people’s laps. The way they tend to show affection is by wanting to engage in play.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Cornish Rexes are fairly bold and confident, so they can handle their own in homes with other pets. They can learn to live with dogs and other cats, but it’s important to socialize them as early as possible to increase their chances of cohabitating successfully with other pets.

Always make sure to supervise the initial interactions a Cornish Rex has with a new pet. Although Cornish Rexes aren’t known to have a strong prey drive, their curiosity may get the better of them. So, it’s best to not leave these cats alone with other small pets. Although they may not want to harm these pets, they might accidentally do so while checking them out or trying to play with them.divider-cat

Things to Know When Owning a Cornish Rex:

Aside from their high-energy levels, Cornish Rexes are relatively easy cats to care for and can be good for first-time cat owners. However, first-time cat owners should be prepared to modify their lifestyle quite a bit because they’ll have to cat-proof their homes and devote a good amount of time ensuring that the Cornish Rex has plenty of opportunities to keep itself busy.

Food & Diet Requirements

Cornish Rexes will benefit from high-protein diets and cat food that contains a good amount of fat. Both protein and fat help fuel a cat, so Cornish Rexes will need a good amount of these macronutrients to keep up with their active lifestyle.

This cat breed isn’t known to become overweight because of being sedentary. However, they can still easily gain weight from overfeeding. Make sure to communicate with your vet and stick to routine check-ups throughout the life stages your Cornish Rex goes through so that it’s always eating the right amount of food with the appropriate amount of nutrients.

Exercise 🐈

Cornish Rexes are one of the most energetic and intelligent cat breeds. If they aren’t kept entertained, they’ll find something in the house to entertain them, and it usually means getting into places they don’t belong.

These cats need plenty of opportunities to jump around and play, so they’ll need a cat tree or several perches all around the house. They will also enjoy playing with toys that they can chase around, such as cat wands or automatic cat toys.

Since they’re so smart, they can also have fun playing with treat-dispensing toys and cat puzzles.

Cornish Rex Cat in A Tree
Image Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

Training 🧶

This cat breed has a great mix of intelligence and sociability, and they love receiving attention. So, they’re rather easy to train, and some may even enjoy learning tricks. Cornish Rexes are curious, so although they don’t mean to be troublesome, they can often find themselves in trouble when they let their curiosity get the better of them.

Therefore, no matter how well-trained a Cornish Rex is, you may still have to keep your house cat-proof by installing locks on cabinets and drawers and always clearing away food from your table.

Grooming ✂️

Cornish Rexes have rather minimal grooming needs. Since they have a delicate single coat, they only need to be brushed occasionally on an as-needed basis.

Some Cornish Rexes may need regular bathing if they tend to have a buildup of natural oily secretions. Baths should also be given on an as-needed basis when the cat’s coat looks and feels greasy.

Cornish Rexes will also require regular nail trimming. It’s also important to check their ears to ensure that they don’t have any infections. You can use an ear cleanse to ensure that their ears stay clean and dry.

Cornish Rex Cat
Image Credit: Okssi, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions 🏥

Cornish Rexes don’t have too many serious health conditions and often live very long lives. However, no cat breed is exempt from developing health conditions especially as they age. So, some Cornish Rexes may develop hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and patellar luxation.

Also, since these cats have very thin coats, their skin is more sensitive to the sun. Therefore, if your Cornish Rex enjoys spending time outside, make sure to limit the amount of time it spends in the sun or create an enclosure under shade for your cat to play inside.

Minor Conditions
  • Sunburn
  • Patellar luxation
Serious Conditions
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Kidney disease
  • Obesity

Male vs Female

There isn’t any concrete evidence that male and female Cornish Rexes have temperaments distinct from each other. Instead, changes in behavior are more apparent in cats that are spayed or neutered and intact cats.

Intact cats can be more territorial and aggressive. They can be even more active because they need to spend energy searching for a mate. Some cats, especially male cats, can exhibit more urine marking.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Cornish Rex

1. Cornish Rexes aren’t hypoallergenic.

Many people believe that Cornish Rexes are hypoallergenic because they don’t appear to have as much hair as other cats. However, people don’t usually have allergic reactions to a cat’s coat. Instead, allergic reactions occur when they come in contact with saliva, urine, and oils that cats naturally produce on their skin.

2. Cornish Rexes first appeared in the 1950s.

There are some cat breeds with ancient bloodlines. However, the Cornish Rex appeared rather recently in history. A female cat produced a litter that had one kitten with a genetic mutation that caused its fur to become thin and curly.

This kitten was named Kallibunker, and he’s the cat that helped produce the line of Cornish Rexes that we see today.

3. Cornish Rexes can come in all sorts of colors and patterns.

Part of the Cornish Rex’s appeal is its diverse color selection and patterns. You can find pure Cornish Rexes with fun patterns, such as tuxedo, calico, and tortoiseshell. Some of these cats can also have a color-point pattern, which attributes to their lineage from Siamese Cats.

cornish rex cat lying on a checkered mattress
Image By: Andre_K, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Cornish Rexes are fun and entertaining cats that will make your home feel livelier, and their silly antics are sure to make you laugh. They can be a bit of a handful for first-time cat owners, especially if they live alone. These cats will thrive in larger families where someone’s always available to entertain them. However, as long as you can provide plenty of fun and engaging activities for them, these cats will be happy and fun companions that can brighten up your day.

You Might Also Be Interested In: 

Featured duodenum82, Pixabay

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets