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Home > Cats > Cat Breeds > Tennessee Rex Cat: Pictures, Care Guide, Info & More

Tennessee Rex Cat: Pictures, Care Guide, Info & More

orange cat in close up photography

Breed Overview


8-13 inches


8-15 pounds


12-18 years


All coat colors

Suitable for:

First-time cat owners, families with children, smaller living spaces


Friendly, mild-mannered, playful

The Tennessee Rex Cat, or T-Rex, is a relatively new cat breed known for its curly, satin coat. Since they’re a new breed, there’s still much to discover and learn about them. However, many T-Rex owners report that they have warm and friendly temperaments and enjoy human company.

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.


Tennessee Rex Kittens

Tennessee Rex kittens are known to be playful and friendly with their human companions. They do create strong bonds with children and are a great option for first-time owners or people living in smaller spaces. The Tennessee Rex Cat’s future is promising as breeders are working to achieve formal recognition for this breed. A lot about Tennessee Rex Cats is unknown, and we’re excited to learn more as they become a more established breed.


Temperament & Intelligence of the Tennessee Rex Cats

Tennessee Rex Cats are generally playful and people oriented. These cats tend to be more social than most other cat breeds and prefer to follow their owners throughout the house. They’re perfectly content being lap cats.

Because Tennessee Rex Cats enjoy being around their favorite people, they don’t tend to do well being left alone for too long. They can become stressed, and some may even develop separation anxiety if they’re consistently home alone for many hours.

Tennessee Rex Cats are also smart and enjoy playing with toys. Providing enrichment toys and puzzles will help stimulate their minds and prevent boredom.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Yes, Tennessee Rex Cats are very friendly and have easygoing personalities. They aren’t known to be fussy and prefer being around people. Early socialization with children will help Tennessee Rexes get used to being handled, and children must also learn how to hold and play with cats properly.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Tennessee Rexes can get along with other pets with proper introduction and socialization. They’re not known to be aggressive, so they can live with another cat as long as there’s plenty of space in the home. They may also learn to live with dogs and small pets and have a greater chance at success if they’re slowly introduced to them in a safe and non-threatening environment.


Things to Know When Owning a Tennessee Rex Cat:

There’s still much to discover about the Tennessee Rex Cat’s specific care needs. However, we do know that these cats tend to be healthy and don’t have predispositions to many serious medical concerns.

Here are some key things to keep in mind if you’re interested in bringing home a Tennessee Rex Cat.

Food & Diet Requirements

Tennessee Rex Cats are a generally healthy breed and don’t typically require a specialized diet. They should remain healthy when eating the correct portions of high-quality cat food. You can determine the correct amount of food with your veterinarian and track your cat’s weight to find the right portions.

Keep in mind that cats are obligate carnivores, so their diet must consist of animal protein. To prevent excessive weight gain, make sure to refrain from giving your cat too many carb-heavy treats and leftovers from your own meals.

Exercise 🐈

Tennessee Rex Cats are relatively mild-mannered and don’t need to meet a significant daily exercise requirement like more athletic cat breeds. However, they still need to exercise daily to promote good health and prevent boredom.

This cat breed is quite playful, so they can get a lot of exercise by engaging in play with you. A cat wand, laser toy, or ball can provide fun and entertainment for your cat. For mental exercise, Tennessee Rex Cats may enjoy playing with a treat dispensing toy or puzzle. It’ll also be beneficial for them to have a cat tree so that they can have a safe space to relax and observe their surroundings.

Training 🧶

It’s relatively easy training a Tennessee Rex Cats. They take to using a litter box quite well on their own. They’re also quite friendly and aren’t known to be vocal as long as they’re not feeling boredom or frustrated.

Grooming ✂️

You can find short-haired and long-haired varieties of Tennessee Rex Cats. Both varieties don’t typically require too much grooming. You can brush their coats once a week or to help pick up loose, dead hairs. Long-haired Tennessee Rex Cats may need more frequent brushing to prevent mats and tangles.

Bathing isn’t always necessary, but it’s time for a bath if you notice your cat’s coat getting greasy. If your cat is extremely resistant to baths, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a professional groomer to keep both people and the cat safe.

Health and Conditions 🏥

As Tennessee Rex Cats are a new breed, sufficient data regarding common health conditions are unavailable. However, some general health conditions to be aware of are obesity and dental issues. Over 50% of housecats in the US are either overweight or obese, and this condition can snowball into other conditions, such as hip dysplasia, joint pain, and diabetes.

While it’s uncertain what the specific health concerns are for Tennessee Rex Cats, information on common health issues on Rex cats is available:

Minor Conditions
  • Urticaria pigmentosa
  • Dental issues
Serious Conditions
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Coagulopathy
  • Obesity


Male vs Female

There are no stark differences between male and female Tennessee Rex Cats other than size. Males may be slightly larger than females.

When it comes to temperament, intact cats can act more aggressively than cats that have been neutered or spayed. Unneutered male cats may be more territorial and urine mark areas outside of the litter box more frequently. Unspayed cats’ behaviors may fluctuate based on their heat cycle. Some may become moodier or more vocal during certain parts of the cycle.

3 Little-Known Facts About Tennessee Rex Cats

1. The first Tennessee Rex Cats were found in a stray cat’s litter

Tennessee Rex Cats were discovered in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A man named Franklin Whittenburg brought a pregnant stray cat into his home. When the cat delivered her litter of kittens, he found two boy kittens with a shimmer on their coats. These two kittens are the first known discovery of the Tennessee Rex Cat.

2. The Tennessee Rex Cat’s coat is a recently discovered genetic mutation

Tennessee Rex Cats are the first cat breed to have the shimmer in their coats. The shimmer is due to a genetic mutation that affects the coat’s appearance. Breeders started to take notice and have an appreciation for this type of coat. They’ve been working on breeding and standardizing the appearance of the Tennessee Rex Cat ever since.

3. Breeders are currently working to have Tennessee Rex Cats achieve Championship Status

The Tennessee Rex Cat currently does not qualify for Championship Status by The International Cat Association (TICA). However, breeders have been working diligently to achieve this status. In 2022, the Tennessee Rex Cat moved closer to Championship Status by achieving Advanced New Breed Status.


Final Thoughts

Tennessee Rex Cats are a new cat breed with a unique, shimmery curly satin coat. They have wonderful temperaments and are quite friendly and people oriented. While they aren’t as readily available as older, more established cat breeds, we anticipate they’ll gain even more popularity in the future. They’ll make wonderful household pets, and anyone who cares for one will have a loving and devoted companion.

Featured Image Credit: Valeria Boltneva, Pexels

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