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How to Care for a Cornish Rex?


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The Cornish Rex is an active, social breed and makes a wonderful family pet. Provide your cat with the basics, including food, water, and a litter box. Since it’s so playful, make sure you give it plenty of stimulating toys and spend lots of time with it. The Cornish Rex coat is thin, so your cat will need a sweater during cooler months and cat-safe sunscreen during sunny weather. Get it vaccinated and bring it to the vet at least once a year to maintain its health. While its grooming needs are minimal, you should regularly brush its coat with your hand, check and clean its ears, and brush its teeth.

Providing Basic Care and Companionship

1. Provide your cat with food and water. Feed your Cornish Rex as you would any other cat by providing cat food marked appropriate for its age. Make sure it can access clean, cool water at all times.

  • If you have a kitten, feed it food marked for kittens. Provide your adult or senior cat with appropriately labelled food.
  • Choosing between wet and dry food is a matter of personal preference. Try out different flavors and take note of your cat’s favorite varieties.
  • If your cat is overweight, avoid leaving food out at all times. Instead, feed it at regular times twice a day. Consult your cat’s vet to come up with a specific meal plan.

2. Give your cat a litter box. Provide your cat with a litter box and, if your home has multiple floors, keep one on every floor. Spot clean it daily and deep clean and change the litter at least weekly.

  • If your Cornish Rex is older or has any mobility issues, provide it with a litter box with lower sides.

3. Get your cat plenty of toys. Most cats of this breed are active and playful, and some are even known to play fetch. Keep your cat stimulated with a variety of toys, like feather fishing poles and plush mice.

  • A cat perch is a great choice for a Cornish Rex, since it loves to jump and seek high places.
  • Give your Cornish Rex a scratching post so it can wear down its claws.

4. Spend lots of time with your Cornish Rex. A Cornish Rex is not only active, but social. In general, the breed loves spending time with people, and doesn’t like being alone for long periods of time. Set aside plenty of time every day to play and simply hang out with your cat.

  • If you have to spend lots of time away from home, consider getting another cat so your Cornish Rex has a playmate.

Keeping Your Cat Healthy

1. Keep your Cornish Rex warm. Since its coat is so thin, it’s harder for a Cornish Rex to maintain its body temperature. Purchase a well-fitting sweater or two from your local pet supply store to keep it warm, especially during colder months.

  • As a rule of thumb, if you’re cold, your Cornish Rex will definitely be cold.

2. Apply cat-safe sunscreen if your cat goes outside. Also due to their thin coats, cats of this breed are susceptible to sunburns. If your cat goes outside, apply sunscreen to its ears and thinner patches of its coat.

  • You can find a cat-safe sunscreen at your local pet store.
  • While it’s natural for your cat to seek out warm, sunny spots, try not to let it sunbathe for long periods of time.

3. Take your Cornish Rex to the vet at least one per year. All cats should see their vet at least once per year for a physical examination, booster shots, and routine blood work. In addition to regular visits, take your cat to the vet if you notice any unusual behavior, like trouble moving around or loss of appetite.

  • Taking your cat to the vet regularly will also help you prevent breed-specific disorders, like heart conditions, that can be difficult to identify on your own.

4. Get your cat vaccinated. Required core vaccinations will vary based on your location. In general all cats need vaccinations against rabies, distemper, calicivirus, and herpesvirus. Ask your cat’s vet about their specific recommendations based on your location and your cat’s lifestyle.

  • Vaccinations against herpesvirus and calicivirus will help prevent a range of potential secondary health issues.

5. Look out for breed-specific health issues. A Cornish Rex is prone to developing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a common form of heart disease. An annual echocardiogram will help identify any potential heart issues. The breed is also susceptible to patellar luxation, or kneecap displacement, so keep an eye on its mobility and bring it to the vet if you notice any problems.

  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and other vision problems are also common in the breed, so check its eyes regularly for cloudiness, redness, or deformities. Bring it to the vet if you notice it bumping into things or if it otherwise seems to have trouble seeing.

Grooming Your Cornish Rex

1. Brush your Cornish Rex with your hand. Your cat’s short, wavy coat won’t require too much grooming. Brushing too much or too hard can in fact damage the coat. The motion of your hand when you pet your Cornish Rex is all the grooming its coat needs.

2. Clean your cat’s ears. A Cornish Rex has large ears, so you’ll need to check them regularly. Look inside its ears every week for mites, discharge, or irritation, and smell for any foul odors that might indicate infection. If you notice too much waxy build-up in the ear, use a cotton ball to clean the external part of the cat’s ear. Do not put anything in its ear canal. If the ear appears red, smells bad, or if the cat keeps scratching its ear, take your cat to the vet.

3. Brush your cat’s teeth. While they might not like having their teeth cleaned, oral hygiene is an important part of maintaining your cat’s health. Get your cat used to having its teeth touched by gently massaging around its mouth while you hold or pet it. Daily brushing is best, but a weekly cleaning is better than nothing.

  • Use a cat toothbrush, which is smaller and has softer bristles than a toothbrush for humans. You can also use a cat toothbrush that fits over your finger.
  • Apply a small amount of cat toothpaste to the brush and gently massage your cat’s teeth and gums.
  • Bring your cat to the vet if you smell a foul odor coming from its mouth or see any sores or ulcers.

4. Trim your cat’s nails. Gently pet and massage its paws to prepare it for a nail trimming. Hold the paw and locate the quick, which looks like a small pink triangle inside the nail. Use a sharp pair of cat nail clippers to the trim the nail, and take care to avoid the quick and cut only the nail’s tip.

  • Check your cat’s nails for splits or breaks and to get a feel for how fast they grow. Trim them every two weeks to one month so they don’t get too long or break.
  • You might only be able to trim one or two nails at a time, so have patience. Avoid trimming your cat’s nails after playtime or when it’s hungry.

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