The Tennessee Rex Fur
The coat of the Tennessee Rex immediately draws attention to it. In fact, almost
every response when someone sees a Tennessee Rex for the first time is “WOW!
What a beautiful cat”! I personally have to give God the glory for this very
unique creation. The satin effect gives the cat the ability to reflect sunlight
with it's coat giving the cat a metallic shine in sunlight.
While some rex breeds have course “wirehair” like a terrier, the Tennessee Rex
has soft, satin hair. The Tennessee Rex had small tight curls as a kitten, but
as their hair grew longer, the curls grew out into long “corkscrews”. Even
the whiskers of the Tennessee Rex are curly.
Some rex breeds will lose their hair (molt), only to grow it back later. The
coat seems to stabilize in other rex breeds when the cats are spayed or
neutered. It remains to be seen if this will also hold true for the Tennessee
Rex. The T-Rex has experienced molting also as kittens, but not as adults. It
will be curious to see what other changes the hair goes through in the future.
The tail is one of the most striking features of the breed. The long “corkscrew”
hair makes the tail expand the width of the cat when it is carried in the
Although the rex (curly) mutation is rare
and very desirable, the Tennessee Rex still held an even greater surprise.
SATIN!! The chances of a cat experiencing a new spontaneous rex mutation
is extremely rare, but the chances of a cat manifesting a much rarer “satin” or
“glitter” mutation with it is astronomical. These two rare mutations that the
T-Rexes carry should make the Tennessee Rex stand out as a separate breed in
every corner of the world! Currently the only known breed to experience
something similar to this very rare mutation is the Bengal breed, and then only
from time to time. The current “glitter” mutation can be traced back to one cat
found in Delhi, India in the 1980’s. It is referred to as the “glitter” gene
giving the appearance of “gold dust” being sprinkled on the fur. There is also a
gene that is called “satin” that appears in rodents, but has never appeared in
cats. If it turns out to be the same satin mutation found in rodents and some
other species also exhibit it, then the Tennessee Rex would be the first known
cats in world history to exhibit this mutation! The satin gloss really stands
out when seen in comparison to a normal haired cat. When you look at the fur
closely in direct sunlight, you can see tiny little prisms in the fur that
refract the light to produce the colors of the rainbow as well as the "gold
dust" appearance. Sharp geometric shapes of the hair shaft, like facets of a
diamond, causes this. If this mutation, with the rainbow effect, is applied to a
white cat, then you could theoretically have a new color of cat (oyster shell or
pearl) that would be unique to the Tennessee Rex breed. Either mutation, “satin”
or “glitter” or one that is totally new is a very welcome addition to the
Tennessee Rex breed and it will be written into the breed standard.
can see the glossy shine that the "satin" effect has on the fur by comparing the
shine of the coat to the mother and brother cat that have normal hair in this
T-Rex Satin Fur Close-up Photos
( Click photos to enlarge
history of other rex and satin cats that have spontaneously appeared around the
world from time to time, stretching all the way back to the 1800’s, please visit
Sarah Hartwell’s website,
The Tennessee Rex Breeding Program
Franklin Whittenburg and the Tennessee Rexes are part of a worldwide network of
professional feline breeders, geneticist, new breed developers, feline rescuers
and all around cat lovers, which gives the Tennessee Rex breeding program the
ability to tap into the greatest knowledgeable minds in the feline arena. Many
of these also attend cat shows regularly and can bring much experience to the
table in the giving of advice when the Tennessee Rexes start appearing on the
cat show circuits. The Tennessee Rex program also has some anonymous friends
around the world that have also been very helpful operating in the background.
They have been there to put a paw onto the Tennessee Rex program and give it a
little push to help the program advance at critical times. With this team, the
Tennessee Rex has one of the best chances of becoming a new breed in the
worldwide cat fancy that many people around the world will able to enjoy.