Poodle Cat: A Complete Guide to These Curly-Haired Cats

Poodle cat is walking in the garden

If you’re attracted to cuddly curly-haired creatures but aren’t such a fan of Poodle dogs or other fluffy dog breeds, then the Poodle cat might be the best bet for you!

These adorable furballs have been rising in popularity due to their distinct and cuddly appearance.

But other than that, they also fit perfectly into families big or small due to their quick wits and loveable personalities.

Before jumping into the Poodle cat community, read through some more facts about these felines and decide for sure if they are really for you.

What Is a Poodle Cat? What Breed Is a Poodle Cat?

Cornish Rex cat or Poodle cat with tri color coat

A “Poodle cat” is a term that is used to refer to cats with curly or crimped fur. There are at least three specific breeds that have curly fur, and the most common is called the Selkirk Rex. The other two breeds that are less known are the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex.

Although these three cat breeds are distinct and separate, they’re united by a special and rare mutation in their genes that scientists call the “rex gene.”

The rex gene mutation affects hair or fur roots and cross-sections that result in softer and curly hair in animals like cats, rabbits, horses, and dogs. 

The three felines tagged as Poodle cats each have different areas of mutation, thus making them an actual breed of their own. 

The most recent addition to the rex cats is the Selkirk Rex breed. Unlike the other Poodle cat breeds (Devon and Cornish Rex), Selkirk’s genetic rex mutation is dominant which resulted in a totally unique curl type. 

Meanwhile, Devon and Cornish Rex are more closely related. In fact, they come from the same country which is England. 

They’re older and more established breeds that have three rex mutations present in their genes. Their mutations resulted in a shorter fur than their American cousin, although the crimps and tight curls are well-visible. 

Why Are They Called Poodle Cats? Is It Their Only Name? 

Poodle cats got their name from the well-renowned Poodle! As you are probably aware, Poodles are curly-haired pooches that rose to fame due to their tightly wound hair.

It is quite fitting that cats who exhibit the same iconic coat are named after them.

Officially, Poodle cats are not a registered breed. It’s merely a shorthand for cats that have thick, crimped fur just like the Selkirk Rex breed.

Another endearment that people use for these cats is “cats in sheep’s clothing” because their coat is akin to that of a sheep. 

Just take a look at this adorable Selkirk kitten and see for yourself how sheep-looking they are:

Get to Know the Selkirk Rex

Poodle Cat Appearance: What Does a Poodle Cat Look Like?

If you’ve ever seen a Poodle before, then it wouldn’t be too difficult to picture what Poodle cats look like.

There are three distinct breeds that fall under the term Poodle cat, and these are the Selkirk Rex, Devon Rex, and Cornish Rex. 

To give you a better idea of how they look and their main differences, you can take a look at the pictures below and read a short description of each of them. 

Selkirk Rex Poodle Cat

Selkirk Rex Poodle cat

Selkirk Rexes are made distinct by their thick curly hair that gathers heavily on their neck and chest. 

Amusingly, their soft crimped fur makes them look like they’re having a bad hair day! This dominant trait can even be found in their curly whiskers.

This breed is the most popular among the three and is sometimes referred to as a cat in sheep’s clothing.

Selkirk’s head is medium-sized. It is rounded on the forehead, and its skull has more gentle curves. It is connected to a short and thick neck which makes them look like a stuffed toy. 

Their muzzle is short which adds to its charm, while their eyebrows and whiskers are curled which is a really cute genetic quirk.

They have large round eyes reminiscent of Puss in Boots when they do the wide-eyed pussy cat trick.

Adding to this breed’s stuffed toy look is its stout and rectangular body. However, underneath all that “sheep’s clothing” is a muscular and heavy-boned cat.

Of course, their coat is thick and crimped which converges heavily on the neck and tail area aside from covering its body.

Devon Rex Poodle Cat

Devon Rex Poodle cat

Compared to the Selkirk, the Devon Rex has a shorter coat that still holds the distinct wavy characteristic that has earned it the nickname Poodle cat. 

It has a more edgy and triangular skull that holds large eyes and ears, making its appearance akin to that of an elf or the Sphynx cat. 

Other than that, it is made distinct from the Selkirk by its more elegant shape and stature which is even more obvious without the thick covering of fur. 

Cornish Rex Poodle Cat

Cornish Rex Poodle cat

Closer to the Devon Rex, Cornish Rex cats are short-haired felines that have crimped fur.

They have a more athletic build than the two other rexes and have fur that grows close to their bodies and has been compared to the appearance of cornrows. 

They also have a more compact skull, smaller than Devon and Selkirk’s, giving it a more dainty and unique appearance. 

READ NEXT: Torbie, Tabby, Tortie, and Calico Cats: What Are the Differences?

Poodle Cat Size and Weight: How Big Do Poodle Cats Get When Fully Grown?

Selkirks are quite a big baby as they are a medium to large breed. They usually grow up to 9 to 11 inches and can weigh a maximum of 15 pounds.

Despite looking like a frazzled cotton ball, you may find it hard to carry them as their big bones give them some bulk.

In terms of length, there is not much difference between both sexes. However, males pack more weight ranging from 13 to 15 pounds, while females usually weigh around 9 to 15 pounds. 

Devon Rexes, on the other hand, are lengthier. They can grow up to 18 inches long as they have leaner and longer limbs than Selkirk’s.

However, they’re not as heavy-boned as adults, and they reach a minimum of 6 to 9 pounds. 

Donning a more slender look is the Cornish Rex, which is sometimes called a pixie cat because of its small and dainty figure. They can also reach up to 18 inches long and weigh up to 10 pounds. 

Poodle Cat Origin and History: Where Do Poodle Cats Come From?

Surprisingly, the Poodle cat isn’t a designer breed at all. In fact, the first-ever Selkirk Rex was created by accident! 

Miss DePesto is the first known Selkirk Rex which is a product of a feral Tortie and a White House cat.

She was discovered in a shelter near the Selkirk Mountains in Montana in 1987 by a breeder of Persian cats named Jeri Newman. She was then adopted due to her unusual curly hair. 

Newman, seeing the cat’s potential, bred her with one of his Persians and succeeded. More curly-coated kittens were born which he later on registered as a new breed.

Finally, in 1990, The International Cat Association(TICA) accepted Selkirk Rex cats as a new breed of curly cats and the rest is history.

Similarly, its distant cousin from Devonshire, England, the Devon Rex, resulted from breeding a short-hair cat with a stray Tom cat bearing strange kinks to its fur.

Their litter also produced one kitten with a wild-looking coat. It was then named Kirlee by its owners. 

It was later discovered that its unique features were caused by an altogether different gene, thus helping the authorities conclude that it is an entirely different breed from the Cornish Rex. 

Last but not least is the Cornish Rex, originating from Cornwall, England. Technically, the Cornish Rex is the first curly-haired feline to be recognized by the authorities. 

Similar to the first two felines discussed, the Cornish Rex was discovered through the unplanned copulation of a British Shorthair and a random cat.

Unlike its British Shorthair mother, Kallibunker, our first Cornish, had unique long limbs with a curly coat.

Poodle Cat Temperament: Do Poodle Cats Make Good Family Pets?

Poodle cat stands on the windowsill

Fun facts about Miss DePesto, the mother of all Selkirks, was that she actually got her name for “pestering” her owner for love and attention. Similarly, its descendants have taken on the trait. 

All three Poodle cat breeds are highly lovable cats. They make great family pets for households with children and other animals since they’re quite tolerant and mellow. 

They are crazy about getting attention and being kept busy with games. Other than that, they aren’t irritable so your kids will be safe from scratches even if they do a little roughhousing. 

They’re generally considered sociable and friendly toward other animals and humans.

In fact, by virtue of their easy-going temperament, it’s advised that you keep your Poodle cats indoors since they can fall prey to thieves. 

On the bright side, your Poodle cat won’t mind strangers or houseguests. There’s little to no chance of your pet injuring or harming people they aren’t familiar with.

These Poodle cats are highly intelligent, so they can adjust well to their family’s lifestyle and other pets around the house.

However, they do like to be kept busy and stimulated so they’re more than just a huggable pet in the house or a cute lap warmer. 

READ NEXT: Autism In Cats: Can Cats Be Autistic? All You Need to Know

Poodle Cat Lifespan and Health Issues: Do Poodle Cats Have Health Problems?

There are a few diseases that our three Poodle cat breeds are prone to getting due to their ancestry. 

Since it has genes from the Persian and British Shorthair breeds, it’s also prone to developing these two major diseases:

  • Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKC): Inherited from their Persian ancestry, Poodle cats may be plagued by this genetic anomaly in their later years. This disease is characterized by the spontaneous formation of cysts in cat kidneys that impede the proper function of the organs when they age. 
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): Poodle cats can also develop the most common heart disease in cats as an elderly feline. This disease causes their cardiac muscles to thicken, effectively decreasing their efficiency and function. Some telltale signs are labored or open-mouth breathing and in some severe cases, pain or paralysis in the hind legs.

Generally, Poodle cats are considered healthy as long as they are well-homed and taken care of with passion and consistency.

They can live for a decade to around 15 years if kept in good shape through proper diet and exercise. 

Poodle Cat Grooming Needs: How to Groom a Poodle Cat?

For cat lovers and breeders, owning a Poodle cat may be a dream come true.

However, it’s not all butterflies and rainbows when it comes to this specific breed since proper grooming and hygiene are required to keep them at their best.

Here are some noteworthy tips to guide you through the grooming process: 

  • Prepare the proper tools. Human brushes or combs will cause your Poodle cat’s natural curls to puff out. Instead, you can look for a cat-specific tool or cat brush that is pretty common in local pet stores. 
  • Give them enough brushing. Due to their kinky hair, Poodle cats need to be combed constantly so that they won’t get any tangles or knots. In fact, some veterinarians even suggest brushing them at least twice per week to keep up with their high-maintenance coats.
  • Bathe them from time to time. Although cats have a self-cleaning system (using their tongues) once in a while, it is recommended that you give your Poodle cat a bath with a shampoo formulated for wavy fur, especially when they frequently play with other animals or encounter something sticky or dirty. 
  • Check their ears. Adding ear checks to your weekly routine is great for your cats. Poodle cats can build up wax and other debris in their ears that, if left unchecked, can cause an ear infection. If you can see wax build up in the underside of its ears, you can lift the dirt up using a cotton swab doused with liquid ear cleaners. 
  • Trim the fur near their toes. As long-haired felines, Poodle cats have a tendency to have fur sprouting in between their tiny little toes which may cause irritations. If you spot your cat licking it incessantly, you can keep them comfortable by trimming the fur in that area.

How Much Does a Poodle Cat Cost? Kitten Prices and Other Expenses

Two Poodle cat kittens for sale or adoption

Selkirk Rexes are still considered a rare breed in the US. As a matter of fact, there are only three TICA recognized Selkirk Rex breeders found in North Carolina and Washington. 

That being said, once you’ve decided to buy yourself a Poodle cat, you should brace yourself and your wallet for quite a huge investment. 

Due to their novelty and overall demand, Selkirk and Cornish Rex kittens would set you back by a hefty $800 to more than $1,200 depending on their ancestry and pedigree.

Meanwhile, Devon Rex costs an average of $1,000 to $2,000 since they are much less common.

Besides the kitty itself, you will need to prepare food, a cage, toys, and a few comforting items before your new fluffy cat comes home. 

You can check out this table for the list of things you will immediately need when you take home your Poodle cat:

Type of ExpenseAverage Cost
Pet Carrier$50
Cat Food$45
Food and Water Bowls$15
Litter Box$25
Total Initial Cost$187

These estimations are conservative and will still depend on your preference regarding brands. 

Some cat breeders provide a few bonus items such as toys and treats to help you gain the trust of your new best friend. Their kittens are also released after vaccinations so you won’t need to spend quite a sum on this.

Places to Find Poodle Cat Kittens for Sale or Adoption

These days, Poodle cats still turn heads and pique people’s attention since they’re quite rare and uncommon in the United States.

In fact, this show-stopper is so prized and exceptional that breeders and sources are still quite scarce. 

However, we’ve tracked down these three TICA-recognized breeders from where you can get the curly-haired feline of your dreams:

  • Chaldee Cattery – This breeder is located in North Carolina and produces Selkirk Rex kittens and British Shorthairs. All their cats are dual registered with Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) and TICA. 
  • British Dynasty – Located in Washington, British Dynasty breeds both British Shorthair and Selkirk Rex kittens. They sell competition-quality felines, and many internationally known show cats came from their cattery. 
  • Drama Tails – Drama Tails have made a name by producing the first nationally winning Selkirk Rex. This is a testament to the quality of kittens they produce. This CFA and TICA-registered breeder provides Selkirk kittens in the Northwest US region. 

The Poodle cat’s presence in cat shelters and rescues is infrequent to none due to their pedigree.

However, it wouldn’t hurt to look around and ask since they may end up being rehomed due to their owner’s personal situations.

Check out these rescues for available Poodle cats for adoption in your state:

  • Petfinder – This online platform is one of the best guides that aspiring pet owners could dream of. They compile Poodle cats available for adoption and have a search bar that helps you narrow down your search according to state. 
  • Safe Haven for Cats – This non-profit organization functions mostly through volunteers. They currently serve as a safe haven for cats in Northern Carolina, and they have facilitated more than 10,000 cat adoptions. You can try your luck by contacting them for a Poodle cat. 
  • Anjellicle Cats Rescue – This New York-based non-profit organization provides a shelter for unwanted and abandoned cats. Although Poodle cats aren’t widely represented in shelters like these, you can take a look and check out their available cats for one. 

RELATED: 11 Ways to Find Free Kittens in Your Area for Adoption (2023)

Frequently Asked Questions

Devon Rex Poodle cat mama with her kitten laying down on a soft blanket

Do Poodle Cats Shed?

Unfortunately, Poodle cats are known as shedders. They have three layers of fur so they shed a lot, especially in the summer season.

A really great tip to keep all of their loose furs from sticking to your furniture is to comb their hair at least once a week to lessen the random shedding. 

Also, buying a vacuum even before your Poodle cat arrives would be a good way to prepare and ease yourselves into having a Poodle cat in your home. 

Are Poodle Cats Hypoallergenic?

Contrary to what people assume, Poodle cats are definitely not hypoallergenic despite their soft and curly locks. Truth be told, no cat is 100% hypoallergenic.

What triggers allergies are not actually the cat’s coat but the danders or dead skin cells that get trapped in the cat’s fur. Hence, they are no better for people with cat allergies.

Are Poodle Cats High Maintenance?

That would be a hard yes, but it’s all worth it. Due to the natural kinks and waves in the Poodle cat’s fur, it does require some crimping and combing to maintain.

They have a thick coat that does shed and reaches its peak during the summertime. You have to comb them more often to remove all the fluff in a controlled manner instead of having it stick everywhere. 

Final Thoughts: Should You Get a Poodle Cat?

Poodle cats are surely a one-of-a-kind furball. Although their care and maintenance require some effort on your part, the same can be said with any kind of pet. 

Poodle cats are fun-loving, intelligent, and playful critters that have extreme cuteness to boot so they would definitely be a great addition to your home and family.

So, if you enjoy hanging out and playing with curly-haired fellows with great personalities, there’s no doubt that the Poodle cat would fit right in with you!

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