Curly Haired Kittens Are Taking Over The Internet

Photos of unusual curly haired orange kitten went viral this week, because the kitten has unbelievably curly hair!

Kitties come in many shapes and sizes, and most animal lovers are familiar with silky fur, also wiry fur, even no fur at all. But rarely do you come across a cat covered in fluffy ringlets with such a unusual appearance. The picture of this cut  curly haired kitten, accompanied by the caption “I have never seen a cat with curls until now,” took social media by storm. It left many in a state of disbelief (with plenty of “OMG” and “I want it” thrown in for good measure).

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While quite rare, there are actually 4 cat breeds with naturally curly hair. The breed that the Instafamous kitten, with its curled whiskers and  also tightly coiled fur, most likely belongs to the Selkirk Rex can trace its roots all the way back to one very special rescue cat Miss DePesto.

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Miss DePesto actually began her life in a Montana shelter in 1987.

Though her four siblings had straight coats, she was born with wiry and  unruly curls similar to a sheep’s coat. Local Persian breeder, Jeri Newman, of Livingston, Montana, could tell she was a very special kitty. He rushed and adopted this odd looking little kitten.

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Named “Miss DePesto” after a character from the 1980s TV show “Moonlighting” as well as her tendency to pester Newman for attention, her lovely personality and really unusual appearance prompted Newman to breed “Pest” with a black Persian cat named Photo Finish of Deekay. She then produced a litter of 6 kittens, three of which, shockingly, had curly coats.

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This discovery led Newman to believe that Pest’s curls were a dominant genetic trait, unlike any other curly-coated cat breeds such as the Cornish rex and also the Devon rex. Pest’s unique makeup allows for cross-breeding without any fear of losing the curl, notes Mother Nature Network, and this genetic diversity is key to healthy cats.

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The breed got its name from the nearby Selkirk mountains, and the rex mutation which is a genetic variation that results in soft curly or wavy fur.  The scientists at University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, declared the Selkirk rex a new cat breed in 2012. Even though it has not been on the scene for long, these bouncy curly haired cats are making a big impression.

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