Prima Ballerina Cat…

By Anna Wilczek

Cornish Rex… Prima Ballerina Cat

When I think about a ballerina, I have a picture in my mind of ethereal elegance, subtle delicacy and beauty. I see an amazing movement; a dance of the whole body that flows without touching the ground. The same feelings come to me when I see a Cornish Rex.

Elasticity and lightness with which the breed moves, provide him with incredibly long and very muscular legs. Interestingly the back legs are longer than the front, enabling extraordinary jump skills. It capable of such acrobatics, jumping, flights and movements of the body that the laws of physics and gravity cease to exist for these cats.

However, no words can begin express the first view of the Cornish Rex, which is especially dedicated to those who value live art. It moves, stretches, arches and bends the body in a way, which becomes a truly art wrapped around a beating heart.

The Cornish Rex is distinguished by its slender and graceful appearance, and strongly defined silhouette. It is surprisingly heavy due to its strong muscle tone but still retains a delicate bone structure. One of the first sentences in the standard says it all: ”Cornish Rex gives an overall appearance of being high on legs”. What makes its sparkle is a wonderful attitude of standing tall on powerful legs, announcing to all the world: ”Just look at me! Here I am!”. The body resemble the Greyhound, with a naturally arched back and large thigh muscles which give the opportunity for quick jumps and fast runs. The long, fine, slender, tapering tail assists this speed.

Easily seen with the ’naked eye’ is the immediate difference between individuals of either sex. Ms. Cornish Rex is a surreally elegant, delicate lady with slender waist, having something sexy in her expression; Mr. Cornish Rex is more hard and muscular, especially in the hips and thighs, with more masculine look of his beautiful face.  Body weight is often heavier than the cat’s appearance indicates.

The head is quite small, ”egg” shaped with straight profile and strong chin. The Cornish Rex has large, oval shaped eyes with a slightly upward slant. They are bright and luminous. No cat has ears like Cornish Rex; they are like radars, the bigger the better, as long as they set really high on the head, held erect and alert. They remind me of mussel shells… soft shell clam.

The distinguishing feature of Cornish Rex is a short coat, resembling an appearance of astrakhan lamb. The cat is covered by characteristic unique, wavy, extremely soft, silky coat. Basically, it is just undercoat; a down-like hair, completely free of guard hairs. It is short, never shaggy, but slightly plush; relatively dense and lying close to the body. Size and depth of waves may vary between lines, but they are very regular.

The total absence of guard hairs means these cats get chilly very easily. The Cornish Rex loves warmth and looks for it everywhere, that’s why the best coat condition is in Summer time instead of Winter, when the heating works at home. A little shedding or moulting is possible but usually goes unnoticed with regular daily hand stroking. The Cornish Rex coat should always be stroked from the head to the tail; stroking against the growth of the coat disrupts the lay of waves, and because of the fragility of the hairs, may cause damage in the form of splitting and breaking if repeatedly brushed in the wrong direction. Even whiskers are crinkled or curved. They come in every imaginable suit of colours.

The appearance of this incredible breed can leave you breathless. It impresses not only because of its general beauty, but also, and perhaps above all, because of the unusual character and temperament.  It is highly intelligent, loving, unique cat.

The Cornish Rex is extremely affectionate and people-oriented with kitten-like antics that continue through adulthood. It is like ”15-year-old child” who never grows up and what’s more never gets old; an eternal boy or a girl. Its elegant and graceful appearance collides with its childlike simplicity and endless mischief and pranks. This cat is hyperactive and friendly, constantly seeking for the company of other family members. There is ostensibly a distance between you and Cornish during initial contact, but after a few moments they sit on your shoulder or even on your head. Then it will probably take a few hours to get away from them… but don’t panic!

The Cornish Rex cannot stay alone at home for long. It cannot happen every day. Overwhelming boredom is their the most dangerous enemy. It kills joy of life and changes the psyche of this wonderful cat. Having a pair of Cornish Rex at home may be the solution to this problem. They both are able to deal with the absence of people. However, do not expect they will leave you alone after you come back home. Returning home, you can be sure that you will be greeted at the doorstep by a cat wagging his tail happily. When it is left alone in the house for too long, it takes offence shortly only just to stand proudly on the owner’s shoulder after a while pulling faces and causing in his mind tremendous remorse.  In a sense, they behave like monkeys. They are curious about everything; they need to look into a shoe; into your bag to check where you’ve been and what you’ve brought; they must sit on your head and check that your hair tastes good; they need to finish your tea or help to eat pizza when you rest and watch TV together. They love participating in all household chores, so if something interesting is happening simultaneously in two different parts of the house, they are torn, running, arguing and discussing, complaining that it can’t divide itself! They sleep nearby your face and complain if your eyes have not opened by six o’clock in the morning. They lick the drops off your feet after coming out of the shower. They do everything with their owner anywhere anytime, 24 hours per day because they have to do it together.

Endowed with extraordinary temperament, as a ubiquitous being they have something special and tricky in themselves. They are eager to establish contact with owners, they are ingratiating and crave a caress. Thrown off a lap, they come back like a boomerang with the speed of light thinking that this is a new game. Although they are my own joy, I must admit that this is not a cat for everyone. Cornish Rex has, as each of us, its faults. Most of them have an unusually strong personality; they tend to be very stubborn and dominant. They often usurp the right to rule everything and everyone. They are also jealous for attention that the owner should devote only to them. It is very inquisitive, demanding and need a continuous contact with the owner. Sometimes it even becomes importunate just to feel close to people. And to tell the truth a Cornish Rex becomes not a part, but full family member.

They are very active, hyperactive, the most active cats ever… I enjoy seeing them suddenly explode with devilish energy and race through the house; running from one room to another, up and down the stairs, across the space on the walls-doors-high furniture, and suddenly after while, as if it never happened, become quite and calm, polite like angels. This is real joy!

The Cornish Rex are very talkative and chatty, but not in the same as the Siamese. They love endless discussions. The questions are always answered. They talk with us by means of its thin, protracted voice.

They are one of the easiest cats to groom and maintain. They do not require much grooming; just a bath from time to time and cleaning huge ears. However, the sooner you start to bathe them, the better, because, as with children, they like the most the activities they know.

The Cornish Rex is a perfect companion for children. It is like a child. It loves playing hide and seek or tag. It will gladly work out with the baby lessons and it will definitely play computer games with kids together! It is extremely mild and devoid of aggression in any type of contact with human. Cornish Rex ingratiates by means of its own charm, demands plenty of contact; it may find a kindred spirit among young members of the family. It is eager to share a joke.

You never can tell how Cornish Rex coexistence with other breeds will be. It depends on the character, temperament and nature of other cat breeds; their age and individual characteristics. Slow, static and quiet cats will certainly not be excited that something what resembles much more an undulating stick than a cat, flashes by, just behind them and after a while this fast shadow will land on its head! Just for fun? huh? And by the way, this is a breed that adores dogs.

It is also a long-lived breed; some of them live for 20 years but the majority will reach 14-18 years old.

In conclusion, what can I say? If you decide to live with Cornish Rex, your life certainly will not be boring. You will never ever be alone … literally! This cat will provide you one hundred percent of his attendance from dawn to night – especially at night. As a great lover of stroking, touching and hugging, it will not be easily removed him from ones arms. Be prepared for it; it’s like super glue. And beware! If you touch a cat of this breed, you will stay addicted to the end of your life.

Anna Wilczek
FIFe Breeder & Int. All Breed Judge
cattery Cattus de Lux