Curly Coated Cats are Descended from a Single Rescue Kitten



The newest viral cat craze is covered in curls! Meet the Selkirk Rex. 

While the hardcore cat fanciers of the world might not be surprised at the sight of a cat with curls, as there are four lesser-known cat breeds that sport curly-cued coats, this fresh-permed kitten took the Internet by storm. Imagine having to brush all that curly fur! For longer haired cats or those like the Selkirk rex that need frequent grooming, it's important to have the proper grooming tools! 

selkirk rex laperm curly cat

But the Selkirk rex breed has an interesting story hidden behind those lustrous curls: they are all descended from a single rescue kitten named Miss DePesto. 

In 1987 at a little shelter in Montana, Miss DePesto started her life as the oddball of her litter of four. She was the only kitten with crinkly, curly fur. Jeri Newman, a Persian breeder, saw the special little fluffball and adopted her. 

Miss DePesto, aka Pest, was named after a character from the 1980s TV show “Moonlighting” and her habit of being a bit of a "pest" for attention.

Newman was entranced by Pest's warm personality and unusual appearance, so she decided to breed her with a black Persian named Photo Finish of Deekay. She gave birth to a litter of six kittens — three of which, amazingly, had curly coats.

While the Selkirk rex breed and their curly coats might be all the rage, their origin story actually highlights just how important it is to adopt from a shelter.

Folks often assume that shelter animals are unhealthy or unwanted, when, in fact, they tend to be healthier than pets bought from a store — not to mention social, loving and well-adjusted. Without a little shelter cat named Pest, and her accidentally fluffy coat, these uniquely adorable cats wouldn’t exist.

What do you think of these curly-coated cats? Let us know in the comments! 


  • usafsam

    I took in a pregnant American short-haired blue tortie someone dumped in my area. She gave birth to 4 kittens and one is a golden curly tabby with a blue birthmark under his right arm. Quite a surprise and all the kittens are healthy and well behaved for the most part. They hate being without their human (me) for even an instant so when I walk thru the house I feel like the pied piper of cats. If I leave the house they greet me at the door upon return. They all like to sleep on the bed with me. They are named after Supernatural characters. The golden tabby boys are Sam and Dean and the tortie girls are Kaia and Claire. Their momma Bela is young so the shelter kitty Jody that we took in wanted to help. She had kittens at the shelter and they got adopted out and she got left behind. She missed her babies so when she heard the kittens crying she wanted in the room. Amazingly Bela let her help. Jody laid with the babies, cleaned them and I have even seen them suckle on her. Tho she is fixed and has no milk she lets them do it.

  • Donna R Robinson

    I bought a kitten from a breeder in Illinois, that was supposed to be a Blue Sphynx, or hairless cat. Turns out she has hair… CURLY hair. She is VERY soft to the touch, and has only one long, curly whisker. I bred her twice, the first time losing the kittens at 1 1/2 weeks along. The 2nd time she went full term & had a single, deformed kitten, dead at birth. So I had her spayed. Now, by symptoms she exhibits, I believe she has HCM, so it’s just as well that she did not have any living kittens. She is a very sweet kitty, but prefers to lounge about on a heated bed than to run, jump or play. This too, is a symptom of HCM. I am sad for her, but I do love her, and wish she could just be happy & healthy.

  • Amanda Weems

    Where can I get one?

  • Line Dion

    I had a shelter for a few year and yes, all my kittens adopted out where vetted and neutur / spay included with adoption fee ( I work in vet Clinic).

    I am studying for my Certified Felin Master Cat groomer exam and must know the original of all breeds recognized by the CFA.

    It is very interesting to learn that if it was not for some BARN CATS WITH UNUSUAL TRAITS ARRISING FROM A SPONTANEOUS GENES MUTATION – adopted out to breeders – many of our favorite cat breeds would not exist!!!

    EX – American Wirehair – originated from a kitten born on a farm in Upsate New York in 1966.

    EX – Corish Rex – Original foundation cat was a kitten named Kallibunker born in barn in Cornwall, England in 1980’s. The breed survived because some where exported to US breeders to develop this exquisite cat breed.

    EX – Devon Rex – Fondation cat, Kirlee, discovered in a feral litter in Devonshire, Uk in 1959. Breeders outcrossed to Briish SH to widen the geen pool.

    EX – As soon here – Originated wt a female cat named CURLY, found in a litter of barn cats in OREGON in 1982.

    EX And my favorite – the Spnynx!!! Originated fr spontaneously mutated hairless cats found in barn litter Toronto in 1966. Canadian breeder who adopted the foundation cat Prune worked with a US breeder who also found 2 hairless cat Epidermis and Dermis to widen the gene pool and develop the breed so much loved!

    So I hope that this will widen some views that yes, spaying is important because of the cat over population, but some breeding programs also have their reason to be… without them many breeds would not exist and some more rare breeds would have become extinct! After all spontaneous gene mutations are nature evolving and I am thankful for the breeders who gave their time and ressources so that variety is not loss!

  • Saba

    How do I get one?

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