Curly-haired cat breeds have become very popular recently, and include some of the most attractive and good-natured cats in the feline world.

Cats with curly hair are great companions first, with other traits like coat type and size being less important factors, but with these curly coated cat breeds the personality is the star and the waves come along for the show.

Curly coated cats are usually the result of a mutation, and distinct breeds take time and the dedicated efforts of skilled breeders to develop, so some of these incredible kitties are not only rare but may be kinda pricey as well.

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A typical domestic cat has three types of hair structures within their coat.

The outer coat is generally fairly straight and stiff. Called "guard hairs", this layer provides insulation and can serve to prevent rain water from reaching the skin. The middle layer is called "awn hair" which is not as long but is generally thicker and softer than the outer coat. The third layer is the undercoat or "down hair". Down hair is short, soft and very fine.

Cats with curly coats have one or more missing or altered elements of the basic 3-part cat coat. This is the cause of the curls, and often leads to less shedding, or no shedding at all.

That's why many people with cat allergies find curly-haired cats less irritating, but this is an individual experience that can't be guaranteed. See hypoallergenic cat breeds for the best choices and advice for folks who have cat allergies.

Devon Rex Cats

The Devon Rex has an unusual, pixie-like appearance with huge ears and eyes that have almost an E.T. look. The coat of the Devon is much like that of the Cornish, but Devons usually have a thin layer of guard hairs in addition to a wavey down undercoat.

Devon rex cats are very intelligent and people-oriented and crave companionship. There is minimal shedding with this breed, and lots of action.

Devon Rex Cats

Cornish Rex Cats

Among the most unusual of the curly coats available, the coat of the Cornish Rex cat only has the fine, incredibly soft down coat. This leaves Cornish Rex cats somewhat vulnerable to temperature and weather conditions and dictates that they remain indoor cats.

Like the hairless breeds, these little cats are not prepared to handle any sort of weather issues including heat, and need to be supervised outdoors for health and safety's sake. Cornish Rex cats don't shed, are active and athletic and make absolutely wonderful companions.

cornish rex catsCornish Rex Cats

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Selkirk Rex Cats

The Selkirk Rex is a large, big-boned cat with a rounded head, full body and sturdy limbs. They are covered with wooly, often somewhat long and wavey fur. The Selkirk is not as active, athletic or people-driven as the other Rex varieties, but makes a lovely house cat that is sure to draw attention with its remarkable Teddybear looks. 

Selkirk Rex Cats

LaPerm Cats

And finally, the sensational LaPerm cat is as vibrant and adorable on the inside as on the outside. LaPerm cats often have a tangled or matted look, and the coat can be long and wild in appearance. Each part of the coat has a different texture, with the guard hairs having a slightly course and springy feel. The LaPerm cat is completely unique in the cat world with an exceptionally sweet and devoted heart and a body full of head-turning waves.

LaPerm Cats


Cornish Rex catCornish Rex
  • Most curly-haired cats don't shed, or shed very little
  • Cats with curly hair often have curly whiskers and eyebrows too!
  • Devon Rex cats are also one of the smallest breeds of cat

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